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THE GORILLA THAT PLAYS NINTENDO; Mini King Kong addicted to Donkey Kong.

GORILLAS at a safari park are beating boredom - by playing Nintendo.

Nico and Samba - the 39-year-old star exhibits of Longleat Safari Park's ape enclosure - have been given the classic video game Donkey Kong to keep them occupied.

The game shows a giant ape protecting its store of bananas - and the pair are glued to the screen each time the cartoon character triumphs over his rivals.

Keepers at the Wiltshire park have even enforced an 11.30pm curfew to ensure the pair don't stay up too late playing the game and watching cartoons on the satellite TV in their enclosure.

Assistant keeper Ian Turner said: "They've had a television for a while now - and they love watching cartoons. Then one day the film Planet of the Apes came on and they went wild so we've been trying to find them something with apes on.

"We got the Nintendo because one of the other keepers has got a console at home and we thought we would give it a try with the Donkey Kong game - andd they love it. Nico really seems to enjoy it. Samba is a bit more laid back but they both enjoy the game.'"

The apes also have their own fridge stocked with Ribena, milk and lettuce, as well as central heating and a choice of three pens where they can roam at will.

The apes got their first television set when they were quarantined after their arrival from a Swiss zoo in 1986.

Ian said: "We were worried that there would be behavioural problems and I'd heard about an experiment in America where gorillas watched television.

"We got a TV installed in their enclosure and as soon as we took it away at the end of the quarantine, Nico went berserk. Then we put the telly back and he calmed down straight away."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 26, 2000
Words:306
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