30 November 2023
Tigers, meerkats and squirrel monkeys kicked off the countdown to Christmas on Thursday morning (November 30) - opening three very different advent calendars at London Zoo.
Sumatran tiger cubs Zac and Crispin got paws-on in the seasonal frost, racing along a festive scent trail of cinnamon and nutmeg to find their advent tower - which they promptly pounced on - while the Bolivian black-capped squirrel monkey troop tested their agility as they foraged amongst hanging advent pouches for their favourite treats.
Elsewhere, meerkats Penelope, Dracula and Frank woke up to their own unique calendar at the conservation zoo - searching behind 25 doors to find their favourite cricket snacks.
The one thing they all had in common was their reluctance to observe the festive tradition of opening a single door each day.
ZSL Zoological Operations Manager Dan Simmonds said: “It’s the season of giving and our keepers enjoyed sharing the Christmas spirit with the animals at London Zoo.
“Marking the first day of advent, Critically Endangered tiger cubs Zac and Crispin loved sniffing out the festive spices in their advent tower - pouncing on the boxes at full speed - while the meerkats and squirrel monkeys foraged for their breakfast in hanging numbered snack bags and behind colourful doors.”
“There may not be a chocolate in sight, but like most of us, the animals couldn’t resist opening just one door on this frosty morning.”
A ZSL conservation zoo, London Zoo is home to an incredible 386 species, many of which are threatened or extinct in the wild and part of vital conservation programmes. The conservation zoo participates in collaborative global breeding programmes - such as the Sumatran tiger breeding programme, which is managed by ZSL – working with zoos across the world to care for a healthy back-up population of some of the world’s most threatened species.