Gorilla Mjukuu plays with rainbow bunting that is hung in celebration in the gorilla enclosure ahead of the reopening of London Zoo, after an extended lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain, June 14, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
LONDON – It was party time this weekend for the gorillas at London Zoo – complete with treats like nuts, leeks and broccoli to eat and bunting in their treehouses – as they got ready to see visitors for the first time in nearly three months.
The zoo, located in Regent’s Park, closed in March as the country went into coronavirus lockdown. It opens again on Monday, albeit with restrictions on visitor numbers, one-way routes, and paw-print markers to ensure social distancing.
The zoo, which says its nearly 200-year history makes it the world’s oldest scientific zoo, normally closes just once a year, on Christmas Day.
Staff laid on a little celebration for the gorillas to mark the reopening.
“Of course the animals have been missing the visitors, the gorillas have really been looking out for people,” said Daniel Simmonds, team leader of primates at the zoo.
“They have already adjusted to the fact that people haven’t been coming in, but equally, I am absolutely sure they are going to be really excited when they see lots of friendly visitor faces visiting them tomorrow.”