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Meet Peter – our newest cheeky chimp

24 April 2024

We’re delighted to introduce you to Peter, our newest resident on Chimp Island. Peter, a 31-year-old male, recently joined our troop from Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire as part of our ongoing work for the European Endangered Species Programme.

Previously housed with another male chimp Tommy, Peter was moved to give his old house-mate a chance to integrate into Twycross’s breeding group. Good news for Tommy! But this meant Peter was now on the look out for some new companions. After a year of detailed planning, Peter finally made the journey to Blair Drummond in February.

Introducing any new chimp into an existing troop is a complicated process. Like humans, chimps form complex social bonds and there’s no way to guarantee that everyone will hit if off immediately. It was hoped that Peter would make a good companion for our existing male, Chippie. But no one could be sure how Peter would react.

We needn’t have worried. Peter didn’t waste any time settling in and on 4th April met Chippie up-close for the first time. Chimpanzee Team Leader, Alasdair Gillies said:

“Introducing Peter and Chippie for the first time was naturally quite nerve wracking. Thankfully, this went very well, and the two boys quickly engaged in playing behaviours. Chippie was born here thirty-seven years ago and had never actually met another male chimp. However, he’s always been very playful, and we were hopeful that he would enjoy finally having a male friend to play with. Happily, this appears to be the case!

Peter has also since been introduced to our female chimp, Gill, and the troop now have unrestricted contact with each other. We’re delighted that Peter has integrated so well and are certain he will enhance the dynamics of our troop.”

We’re thrilled to welcome Peter to the Blair Drummond family and the team have had a lot of fun getting to know him.   As Peter has grown more comfortable, his character has really started to emerge. Keeper Georgie Taylor commented:

“Peter is really thoughtful and clever. He’s always watching everything around him and is quite talkative too. He’s not shy about telling us exactly what he wants! He’s a brilliant climber and a star in his daily training sessions. We’ve had to earn his trust but now he knows us better, he’s full of character.”

But, of course, we can’t forget the more serious reason why this work for the Endangered Species Breeding Programme is necessary. Chimpanzees are facing some very big challenges in the wild. All species of chimpanzee are now classed as endangered due to threats such as habitat loss, disease, and the illegal wildlife trade. They’re also still widely poached for their ‘bush meat’ and at risk from warfare across the regions in which they live. In fact, humans are by far the biggest danger to these animals. As their numbers continue to decrease, the need for conservation and breeding programmes becomes ever more apparent.

We would urge all our friends, members and supporters to visit Peter and see him enjoying his new habitat on Chimp Island. Should you wish, you can also donate to our chosen charity, The Bulindi Chimpanzee and Community Project, through our ‘Link to the Wild’ fundraising initiative. We’ve donated £56,950 since 2014 and, with your help, can continue to make a real difference to threatened chimp troops in the wild.

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