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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thanks a bunch! Europe's oldest (and grumpiest) gorilla is distinctly unimpressed with his 50th birthday flowers

By Daily Mail Reporter

Perhaps it was the prospect of entering old age but grumpy gorilla Nico was in no mood to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Europe's oldest silverback turned his nose up at a gift of a bunch of red roses given to him by staff at Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire, to mark the milestone.

The 32-stone primate looked unimpressed as he handled his birthday present - which he promptly threw to the floor in disgust.

Don't say it with flowers! Nico, Europe's oldest gorilla, was not keen on the roses he was given as a 50th birthday gift by staff at Longleat Safari Park, who think he was hoping for a bigger present

What do you get the gorilla that has everything? Nico makes sure staff know exactly how he feels about their latest idea for a birthday gift

Staff also believe Nico's ungrateful behaviour might also be due to the spoilt and pampered lifestyle he enjoys and that he might have been expecting a bigger present.

However, the hulking beast appeared more satisfied with his banana-shaped birthday cake which he devoured in seconds.

Nico is the famous safari park's oldest resident and is the second oldest male silverback gorilla in captivity in the world.

He lives by himself on an island in the middle of a lake at Longleat and his classical-style home has central heating and even a TV.

Keeper Mark Tye said: 'It's difficult to think of new present ideas for him as he's pretty much got everything already.

'Although he is now an old man, Nico is still extremely active and in amazingly good condition considering his age.

That's more like it: Nico was far happier with his banana shaped birthday cake and wolfed it down in seconds

I Hate Flowers! Nico is the third oldest gorilla in captivity in the world, and the oldest in Europe, and staff at Longleat say his pampered lifestyle has made him grumpy

'We came up with a selection of presents for him; some of which were more warmly received than others.

'Someone came up with the idea of a bouquet of flowers and although I'm sure he appreciated the sentiment he couldn't really disguise his lack of enthusiasm for them.

'Fortunately the banana-shaped cake went down a lot better, quite literally.'

Nico arrived at Longleat soon after the park opened in 1966, from a zoo in Switzerland.

The oldest gorilla in the world in captivity is Colo, a female who was born in 1956. She lives at Columbus Zoo, Ohio, USA.

The oldest male gorilla in the world is Ozoum who lives in Atlanta Zoo and was born a few months before Nico in 1961.



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