Staff at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Stirling were driven bananas for two days after a cheeky chimpanzee stole a mobile phone, leading the bewildered wardens to think someone was monkeying around with them.
Apparently, Chippy the chimp swiped the brand new mobile phone from park warden Gary Gilmour's pocket while he was cleaning out the enclosure. Gibbon the chance Chippy got to grips with the primate friendly user interface on the Motorola phone and began war dialling other staff members whose numbers were stored in the phone.
The wardens thought they were being targeted by a heavy breather when they heard Chippy's snuffling, but its wasn't until one employee shouted down the phone that Chippy responded with shrieks.
A search of the park located the phone in Chippy's enclosure, where the upwardly mobile chimp was sitting smugly with his loot, presumably annoying other safari animals with his cries of: "I'm in the tree!"
Dr Hannah Buchanan-Smith, an animal behaviourist at Stirling University, told the Daily Telegraph: "Chimpanzees have the same fascination with equipment that children do. They are intrigued by the different noises the phones make and the fact that they light up when the buttons are pressed."
Incidentally, there is a US based 'company' called Monkeyphonecall.com which offers a similar service. For $10 www.Monkeyphonecall.com will call any number and deliver a monkey phone call message. The company does not use real monkeys, however.
In its mission statement Monkeyphonecall.com claims to be "an SM2C (simulated monkey to consumer) new media business specialising in monkey phone call solutions for its customers. Monkeyphonecall.com utilises viral functionalities to monetize scalable niches and create frictionless content communities through cutting edge ecommerce platforms and online sales channels."
Maybe Chippy should have set up the UK equivalent and filled a gap in the market.
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