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Monkeying Around
One of Edinburgh Zoo's oldest residents Ricky the Chimpanzee turns 50
Rosalind Brown
Saturday, 15 October, 2011 | 13:14
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A happy birthday banner flew from Edinburgh Zoo last Monday as Ricky the Chimpanzee celebrated his 50th birthday.

A resident of Edinburgh Zoo since April 20th 1966, he has been swinging through the trees of the Budungo trail for many a year now.

To mark the occasion of this venerable resident of Edinburgh Zoo, the keepers made a peanut butter flavoured banner and scattered many edible presents throughout the Budungo trail.

Ricky’s life was not always so carefree. He came to Edinburgh Zoo from the deck of a merchant navy ship where he was a mascot for a few years after being picked up as an orphan. It is believed that his parents were slaughtered in the illegal bush meat or pet trades.

Head of animals at Edinburgh Zoo, Darren McGarry said: “Ricky is a really important member of our chimp groups and all the primate staff are delighted to be celebrating his birthday. All the keepers here at Edinburgh Zoo have a soft spot for Ricky and most importantly he has become an integral member of our chimpanzee group.

“He has a lot of character and is one of the most caring, peaceful of our chimpanzees. He is not a dominant male and has never shown much interest in chimp politics. Instead he prefers to watch out for and play with the youngsters of the group.

“It is often very difficult for chimpanzees like Ricky who have been taken from their mothers at a young age and who have had little contact with other chimps due to illegal trading to be accepted by other chimpanzees, who naturally live in complex social hierarchies. Luckily Ricky’s lovable and gentle personality has helped him find his place and he has been warmly accepted by the chimpanzee group here at Edinburgh Zoo.”

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