Chimps get service with a smile

LINDA BURGESS
Last updated 09:44 15/10/2012
chimp xs
STEVE WILSON

HAPPY PLACE: We'd all love to live like the chimps in Taronga Zoo.

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We're at Taronga Zoo, which, in spite of the fact that it sounds like someone is having a valiant if unsuccessful attempt at pronouncing Tauranga, is in Sydney.

Today we're with the chimps. I mean, "Today we're with the chimps? He's an easy going guy? He's an alpha male who dominates?" I thought it was just us who ended every sentence with a question mark? Clearly it's also spread across the Tasman.

In case the viewer comes over all anti-zoo and switches channels, pin-up primatologist Jane Goodall is wheeled in to say that if she were a chimp, she'd love to be in Taronga Zoo, much better than being in the wild.

You need Jeremy Wells to mosey on past and say that's because in the wild there's a big chance that someone in a Land Rover, with a stun-gun and a net, may well be heading in your direction.

But the truth of it is, chimp or human, we'd all love to be in Taronga Zoo. The service! People bring you food, on the dot, and for every sneery, pimply "whadeva"-style teenage chimp who's bullying his brother, there are at least five Nigel Lattas who explain why Brayden is behaving so badly.

It's like being in the car park outside the pub at 2am on Sunday, except there's support, and someone to calm down the seething testosterone.

If we all lived in Taronga Zoo, Paula Bennett would no longer have to give white papers a thought. Heck, they're even moving the chimps (who are all relaxed as can be on mothers' little helpers) out of their cramped environment into a state-of-the-art new sanctuary. Cramped environment leads to bad behaviour. Fancy that!

Wildlife at the Zoo (TV3, Sunday, 7pm) trumpets its own camera work and it is remarkable, getting close to its subjects without any awareness on their part. that their nostrils are getting worldwide exposure.

The only thing missing - given we're on TV3 - is Saint John Campbell zooming in on their lunchboxes. It's great that Taronga Zoo is so good to its chimps. Now let's hear it for their nearest relatives.

ONE TO WATCH

Grand Designs Australia (TV3, 8.30) and One Born Every Minute (TV One 9.30) are so interesting to watch. The Australians look so handsome, so healthy, so fit and happy. And those having babies in Leeds look . . . happy. Both programmes are on tomorrow night, both are well worth watching.

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- The Dominion Post

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