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Thursday April 14, 2016

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Saying goodbye to a gentle giant After the death of Lanky the Pelican, Wellington Zoo suffered another loss this week, with the passing of Sam, a 38-year-old male chimpanzee. Sam was euthanised last week after his health deteriorated due to dilated cardiomyopathy. He was diagnosed with the heart condition in 2014, and, while the Wellington Zoo keepers and veterinary team were able to manage his symptoms for the past 18 months, there is no cure. General manager for animal care at the zoo, Mauritz Basson, said Sam’s symptoms were negatively impacting his health and social well-being, leading the team to decide to end his suffering.

“Animal welfare is our top priority, so the decision to euthanise Sam was made in his best interests.” Sam was a beloved member of the Wellington Zoo’s chimpanzee community, one of the largest in Australasia. He was born in the zoo in 1978, and fathered a number of chimpanzees. He was known for his gentle demeanor, large size, and his affinity for blankets and snacks, according to senior keeper Harmony Wallace. “Sam was a sun-smart chimpanzee, always first to nab a blanket to cover up from the sun-or to wrap up warm on cooler days,” Harmony said. He was easy to distinguish from the other chimps with his large presence,

and always being the first one up for food. “Always a lover, never a fighter-it’s not surprising that he didn’t ever make a bid for the alpha spot, but his loss will be noted by the other chimpanzees.” The zoo keepers will have to keep a close eye on the remaining 11 chimpanzees, as any change in the dynamics of the group can shake up the complex social structure, said Harmony. “One of the young adult chimpanzees, Alexis, has made some recent challenges for the alpha spot, which is currently held by Marty. “It could be that Sam’s passing could be the next catalyst for change.”

Sam the chimpanzee was euthanised by staff at Wellington Zoo last week.

Island Bay Plunket rooms to close By Nikki Papatsoumas

As at the end of this month, Plunket clinics will no longer operate out of the Island Bay Plunket rooms. A spokeswoman from Plunket said the Island Bay Plunket rooms, on The Parade, needed significant development to ensure they were suitable for Plunket’s work. “This would have required substantial funding which is not available,” she said. She said Plunket remained

committed to supporting parents in Island Bay and planning was underway to relocate Island Bay and Brooklyn Plunket nurses and other services to Plunket’s Rongotai Family. “Customers are being contacted to discuss the best option for them and there should be no interruption to appointments for families.” The toy library was also run out of the Island Bay Plunket rooms and the spokeswoman said Plunket was currently in discus-

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sions with other organisations in Island Bay to house the toy library. “We hope to be able to confirm shortly the new premises for the toy library going forward.” She said Plunket would keep the community informed of any changes and hoped to work with the community to provide the best services it could. Are you disappointed to hear the Island Bay Plunket rooms are closing down? Send us an email – news@wsn.co.nz

Disruption to Bus Services On Tuesday, April 19 GO Wellington and Valley Flyer bus services will be disrupted due to a scheduled meeting of the Tramways Union. The Tramways Union represents the majority of GO Wellington and Valley Flyer drivers. Bus services across Wellington’s southern and eastern suburbs will be affected between

9am to 2pm. Normal services will run until 9am and then services will be reduced between 9am and 2pm. Normal services will then resume after 2pm. GO Wellington services will not run between 9am and 2pm, except for the Molesworth Street Shuttle services, which will run to normal timetable. The Airport Flyer

and Mana and Newlands Coach Services would not be affected by the meeting. Metlink apologised for any inconvenience that may be caused to customers during this time.  For more information, please visit www.metlink.org.nz or call 0800 801 700.

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