Tulsa, Okla. – The Tulsa Zoo is not known for its silence, but today was an especially loud day around the Chimpanzee Connection.
The zoo threw its second chimp birthday party of the year for Bernsen, who turned three today. His half-sister Vindi turned three in February.
Plenty of visitors came to celebrate with Bernsen and his family; kids and parents donned party hats, ate cupcakes and bananas, sang "Happy Birthday" and laughed as the chimps hooted and tore into the cardboard tubes hung in the enclosure to get to the fruit inside.
Bernsen and Vindi were the first chimps to be born at the Tulsa Zoo in 16 years, after the Species Survival Plan, which monitors and regulates all breeding of chimps at members of the American Zoo Association, gave them the green light and allowed two of the female chimps to breed.
Primate keeper Mo O'Leary said Bernsen is a typical rambunctious young boy. She is pleased with his and his sister's development, as they mimic more of the adults' behavior and improve their skills using tools.
The group of chimpanzees is acting as a cohesive family unit, she said.