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Birds do it. Bees do it. Even chimpanzees do it.

It is, therefore, no surprise to discover that there are plenty of new mouths and beaks to feed at the only zoo in Cape Town – the Tygerberg Zoopark.
There’s even a baby stork.

“They come back here to nest every year,” says long-time owner Lorraine Spence. She admires the mother stork sitting comfortably on top of one of the cages while protecting her newborn.
The stork looks smugly at two of the seven billion humans.

One can almost hear it say, “I just deliver the babies. Don’t shoot the messenger.”

Spence continues, “A German zoo came here to put transmitters on some of the storks. One ended up in Rwanda and was sent to the police for being a spy! As far as we know it’s still there.”
When asked if she agrees with people who say animals should be in the wild as opposed to cages in a zoo, she responds: “Yes, I do agree, but most will never survive out there. They say within 10 years chimps will be extinct in the wild.”
The animals get plenty of food and water, but there isn’t too much in the line of entertainment.

Or is there?

Some throw sand at onlookers, while others swing from one side of the cage to the other and then back again. Copulation is another favourite pastime of theirs.
While at the zoo, a bald ibis and the love of his life were performing a mating dance just to emphasise this point.

“This is breeding season and babies are popping out all over the place. I’m very excited, because my birchill zebra is pregnant. Hopefully it will be a Christmas baby,” she smiles.
New additions include springbucks, a rare dark-handed gibbon, patas monkeys, a chimp, a nyala, a bush buck, tortoises and plenty of birds. It would perhaps be easier to say that new additions include just about every hairy or scaly creature one can imagine.

Spence wishes some will get in on the act, but for some reason or another they take pride in their endangered label.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with these parrots. They just don’t want to mate!”
Spence feels the same way about Henry – a grys buck. Henry is currently more fascinated in the dirt in front of him than his potential mate sitting glumly in the corner.

Every animal can be “adopted” for a minimal fee, and Spence reckons this could be the perfect Christmas present.
Imagine giving your dad a certificate saying that that he is now the proud “owner” of a majestic white lion or a weird-looking spider monkey!

Apart from naming rights, the person will also know that their funds will ensure the white lion gets to eat about 10 chickens a week. It is disconcerting to hear that not even one percent of the thousand plus animals in the zoo have been adopted.
Spence concludes by saying that the zoo will soon boast a picnic area.

Phone the zoo on 021 884 4494.