New girls in town
ALYSSA Maher was on the lookout for some monkey business when she visited Rockhampton Zoo yesterday.
The three-year-old from Biloela was full of questions about the zoo's newest residents, female chimpanzees Samantha and Holly.
Graeme Strachan, life science co-ordinator at the zoo, said he was really pleased with the progress the chimps had made since they arrived two weeks ago, considering they and long term residents Cassie and Ockie were socially inexperienced.
"They have got a lot to learn," he said.
Mr Strachan said zoo visitors would see both the girls being very active, climbing ropes and playing around, grooming or even having an argument.
He said the best time to go was at 3pm for feeding time, where the zoo staff were also on hand to talk about the animals.
Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter said there had been a slow introduction between the chimps as they established a breeding program at the zoo, which will be observed by students doing behavioural studies.
"This is one of the best chimpanzee enclosures in Australia," Mayor Carter said.
"It is important that we do things properly."
Rockhampton Regional Councillor Cherie Rutherford said the girls were first placed in the small enclosure to settle in, but they had now been put into the large enclosure.
She said the chimps were of good bloodlines and things were looking promising for breeding, with lots of good interaction between the four, including back scratching between enclosures.
"We hope to increase the troops here."
Meet the girls
Samantha: 28 years old
Holly: 23 years old
From: Mogo Zoo, South Coast of NSW.
Now live: Rockhampton Zoo