Raw meat, furry tails and live insects were on the menu at a recent Ruth Pretty Catering event. In weather more appropriate for emperor penguins, Wellington Zoo was host to the Ruth Pretty Zoo Safari, part of Wellington on a Plate. Perhaps reluctantly swapping the heated floor of Kamala’s, the swish new zoo venue (named after the zoo's last elephant), the visitors were soon being educated about animal diets in the zoo kitchen.
Slabs of horse meat, goat legs - fur and all, and live locusts were all sighted, but most interest centered on chimpanzee food. Paul Horton, the carnivore keeper said “chimps are pretty much like us, they will happily kill a monkey and share it around”, dispelling any thoughts about vegetarian diets. As well as fruit and veges, the chimps are occasionally fed whole chickens, cooked, to avoid salmonella. Bread used to be part of the chimp diet until Jess, a female, took such a liking to it she upsized to become the largest chimp in the tribe – not the normal way of things in the ape world.
Climatic extremes continued on a short tour of the zoo, taking in Happy Feet the emperor penguin, and Sasa and Sean the sun bears. Happy Feet tentatively looked like coming out and diving into the pool (a zoo first), but after dipping a ‘toe’ into the water, turned around, and waddled back inside.
In a similar manner the guests made their way back to the warmth of Kamala’s where a South African high tea awaited.
The safari themes were continued with the menu including biltong, hertzoggies, and snoek pate and wait, was that…Dr Livingston I presume?