After tiger’s death, extra care for Rita, zoo’s oldest
New Delhi: After the death of an 8-year old Royal Bengal tiger, who had been ill for over two months, attention has quickly shifted at the Delhi zoo to Rita (58) — a chimpanzee — who is the oldest animal at the zoo, as well as the oldest chimpanzee in the country.
Rita has been unwell for over two weeks now and has been shifted to a liquid diet. A special team has been asked to take care of the animal. “Rita was able to have solid food last week. Her condition, however, deteriorated recently and we are now providing her all vitamins and minerals through a liquid diet. She is quite fond of dry fruits, which we now crush and grind before making a paste for her,” said Riyaz Khan, Delhi zoo curator.
Rita was recognised as the oldest chimpanzee in the country by the Limca Book of Records earlier this year. “Earlier, she would run around and meet people, but she largely remains inside her cage nowadays,” said Khan, adding that mango-flavoured drink is her favourite.
“We mix her medicines with the mango drink. All care is being provided to her as we want Rita to celebrate her 60th birthday,” Khan added.
Born in 1960, Rita arrived at the Delhi zoo from Amsterdam in 1964 in an exchange of demoiselle cranes. At the zoo, she was paired with a male chimpanzee, Max. Rita was also loaned to Chhatbir zoo in Punjab in 1985 but returned to the Delhi zoo again in 2006.
Earlier this year, Limca Book of Records recognised Rita as the oldest chimpanzee in the country