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Meet Charles the Chimp



It turns out; the greatness of an Ape is not determined by its beastly appearance, adjustable vocal repertoire nor its locomotor specialisations .The highly inventive, intelligent and expressive nature of the Pan Troglodytes � commonly known as a Chimpanzee- is what makes this �animal� outstanding.

Johannesburg Zoo�s Charles is no exception to this notion. Born at the Zoo on the 1st October 2006 to parents Thabo and Daisy; this charismatic six year old is the youngest and busiest member of the troop. He often has the benefit of poking fun at his siblings Yoda (20), Zoe (17) and Joyce (9) by teasing and imitating their facial expressions; In addition to running to his mother for safety, should they seek to settle scores. The troop consists of 7 members, with an additional non-related member, Lilly (21) who was rescued from Angola during the war in 1997. This unique family of chimpanzees is a descendent of the four types of Great Apes that inhabited the humid forests, deciduous woodlands and savannah of West and Central Africa. Unfortunately, only a few of them are left in the wild today, due to their vulnerability to danger but their residence at the Zoo ensures that more of their kind will still be seen in future.

These special guys not only have a strong intelligence quotient but the magnitude of their strength is seven times stronger than that of humans. The female can weigh about 45 kg whilst the males can weigh up to 68 kg, making it fairly possible for them to carry loads equivalent to their size. Their Zoo diet of fruits and vegetables is especially aimed at encompassing all the necessary nutrients. Special treats of boiled eggs, popcorn and rooibos are added just to brighten up their day.

The great inventive nature of chimpanzees makes them the only primates that use tools and to support this enthusiasm, their Zoo enclosures are equipped with swings, toys and magazines to use in their spare time, Of course - Charles makes use of these recreational moments to master his self-taught summersaults whilst the rest of the family opt for a game of rugby instead.

Chimpanzees are well adjusted to their natural environment as their dark coloured fur coat protects them from the harsh Southern rays. They are quadrupedal, thus walk on all four limbs and their long arms enable them to swing from the highest branches. They have a precision grip for picking up tiny objects in addition to a power grip that permits holding onto things. They are often referred to as human�s closest cousins because they share an estimated 96% of their genes. This notion possibly accounts for their amazing persona and social graces but whatever it is that makes these guys special... we love them.

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