Zoo keepers at Midlands based visitor attraction, Twycross Zoo, have been getting creative in the kitchen, Great British Bake Off-style, making tempting treats for their collection of primates.
Using ingredients taken from the animal’s daily specialist diet, zoo keepers got to making and decorating their own primate friendly cupcakes which were then given to the endangered gibbons, tamarins, marmosets, titi monkeys and variegated spider monkeys as part of their varied enrichment programme.
Sarah Dee, Senior Primate Keeper, said: “Some of us are fans of the show and thought it would be a great idea to make some animal friendly treats and give them to the monkeys and gibbons as part of their daily enrichment.”
“The bases of the bakes were made with the specialist primate pellet soaked in water to form a stiff dough-like paste and we chopped up fruit and vegetables for decoration. We found blending blackberry’s worked brilliantly for a fruity iced topping.
Keepers also made miniature ‘cupcakes’ for the tamarins and marmosets however even those proved too big for pygmy marmoset babies, Vodka and Tonic, the world’s smallest species of monkey.
“We didn’t actually bake the cakes so we think Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood might have something to say about our soggy bottoms, however the animals really enjoyed them and our visitors also had fun watching them tuck in.”
Dr Charlotte Macdonald, Head of Life Sciences, said: “Enrichment is very important for our animals as it keeps them mentally challenged and these bakes have proved to be very novel for them, creating a lot of interest and activity amongst our primates. From holding our own bake off for the animals we’re hopeful we’ve now inspired our visitors and members to try their hand at baking at home and hold a bake sale within their community as a fundraiser for Twycross Zoo. As a charity we completely rely on visitors through the door and the generosity of others to help keep the zoo and our Conservation Welfare Fund running.”
The Zoo’s Conservation Welfare Fund has contributed over £350,000 since it was created in 2006. It has supported over 55 conservation and welfare projects from 27 different countries around the world.
Charlotte added, “We didn’t have a large enough container to bake for our four Asian elephants, however the keepers are looking into it!”
Twycross Zoo’s collection of over 800 animals, including every species of great ape and some of the most critically endangered animals on the planet, receive enrichment on a daily basis to encourage natural behaviours in a safe environment. Join the animal’s every day at midday up until 3rd November when they will receive Halloween themed piñatas, filled with tasty treats!