THE last chimpanzee to be born at Southport Zoo has passed away - aged 37.
Jason, a familiar sight to visitors at the zoo, arrived there in 1983 and was at the resort attraction until just before it closed almost 16 years ago in 2004 when he was taken to Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary with his late brother, Jacky.
While at Southport Zoo, which was located close to the Pleasureland site, Jason developed a reputation for flinging poo at visitors!
The zoo’s six acre plot housed more than 150 varieties of animals including African lions, chimps, gibbons, parrots and reptiles.
Owned by Carol and Douglas Petrie, the zoo was refused a renewal of its licence by Sefton Council and the site was given over to Pleasureland in 2004. All of the animals were rehomed before its closure.
A spokesperson for the sanctuary contacted the Champion to tell us of Jason’s death: “We have sad news to bring you. On June 20, we lost our beloved chimpanzee Jason at the age of 37 after a very short illness.
“It was discovered he was suffering from pancreatic cancer, we are very thankful Jason didn't suffer and was happy enjoying his food and drinks right up until tea time.
“Southport Zoo was situated by the side of a fairground and the noise did nothing to help ease the tension between the brothers, however, prior to them both coming to WAMS they had spent many months together in a large enclosure and they were making good progress with their bonding.
“Jacky and Jason arrived at WAMS in June 2004 after the closure of Southport Zoo, and their relationship continued to improve. They would happily sit grooming each other enjoying a quiet life in the Welsh valleys after all the hustle and bustle of the fairground.
“Both boys could be quite aloof and not overly interested in our visitors, the only time there was squabbles was when it came to food especially yoghurts! The brothers lived very happily together for many years and they were often visited by Doug and Carol from Southport Zoo who the boys recognised and were always happy to see.
“We sadly lost Jacky in 2010 after which Jason happily lived along side the chimp group next door. He continued to flourish and became even more sociable with a great sense of humour.”
“We will miss our quiet, dignified handsome Jason very much, but we will remember him always and cherish our memories of so many happy years here at the sanctuary.”
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