Zoo guests who have visited Sudi in this new area are pleasantly surprised when they find her watching television with great interest.
President of the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Gupte Lutchmedial explained that as a highly intelligent animal, he saw the need for mental stimulation for Sudi, and what better than a television where she can see movements and hear sounds.
“Sudi’s favourite programme is the News and she can be seen avidly looking on at the television when she chooses to do so,” said Lutchmedial.
When asked about companionship for Sudi, Lutchmedial indicated that the Zoo is expecting six chimpanzees soon and these animals will be comfortably housed in this enclosure as well. For now though, Sudi has lots of distractions keeping her occupied besides the television, chief among which, is a daily visit from her “human friend”, Betti Gellizeau.
Gellizeau has been a friend of the Zoo for well over a decade, developing a special bond with the chimpanzees and today visits Sudi every day.
“Knowing the history of Sudi where she was initially cross-fostered by a couple, then brought in to the Toronto Metro Zoo when she became too strong to handle and at four years old sent to the Trinidad Zoo, I wanted to give her the comfort of human companionship,” Gellizeau said.
“This chimpanzee has always had strong bonds with the humans she interacted with and I know that she looks forward to my visits and to the edible and non-edible enrichment items I bring her,” she added.
Lutchmedial had words of appreciation for Gellizeau’s interest in the welfare of Sudi and confirmed that this interaction is part of a supervised intervention. “We pride ourselves in placing the welfare of our animals first and work closely with Ms Gellizeau to ensure conformity with the Zoo’s standard operating procedures,” explained Lutchmedial.
But putting back the spotlight on Sudi, observing her in her new enclosure is a delight for Zoo guests.
Not only can she open her own drinks and choose between bottle and cup, straw or no straw, but now spends time taking notes of her favourite news items.