On Air Now Nigel Ball 1:00PM - 4:00PM Email
Now Playing Californication Red Hot Chili Peppers

Keepers use sign langauge to communicate with chimps

Zoo staff are developing a close bond with the chimps and are learning to understand their needs through hand signals.

Keepers at Dudley Zoo working with their seven female chimpanzees regularly use chimp sign language, comprising seven simple commands, which enables staff to easily perform health checks and give any necessary treatment.

The Lower Primates team, made up of Senior Keepers Jodie Dryden, Stacey Evans, Jade Reddall and Keepers Harley Hunt and Stephanie Ballard, have developed the signals passed on from London Zoo where the chimps came from 20 years ago. Jodie said:

“The whole team uses the commands routinely to give our chimps the once over and check for any injuries or problems.

“We can get them to show their chest to use a stethoscope or their ears to take their temperatures with an ear thermometer and they always get treats in return.”

The sign language proved invaluable when 41-year-old Mandy was injured and keepers were able to communicate with her and give her an injection in her shoulder without any stress involved.

The commands include getting the chimps to show the keepers their bum, back, mouth, shoulders, ears, feet and chest. Signals are shown in a chimp sign language illustration by the zoo's Graphic Designer, Rachel Lane. The poster will be put on display near the chimp enclosure.

More from Local Headlines


Add a comment

Recently Played


  • Mon


  • Tue


  • Wed


  • Thu


  • Fri


Listen On The Go!

  • Available on the App Store
  • Available on Google Play

On Demand


  • Black Country Amateur Artists Exhibition

    Art exhibition open to artists from across the Black Country.

    at Kingswinford Royal British Legion
  • J-Kai and the Goldmine Band @ Blackheath Library

    A musical evening featuring reggae, ska and rocksteady; taste something different by trying classic jerk chicken or a vegetarian curry.

    at Blackheath Library
  • Stourbridge Navigation Trust - open Weekend

    This year the Trust will be staging the 35th annual Open Weekend down at the Bonded Warehouse. The event which runs from 10 am until 5 pm on both Saturday and Sunday will attract around 80 canal boats which will be moored along the historic Stourbridge Canal. There is free admission to the site and there are a number of attractions which include classic vehicles, traction engines, amusements, canal boat trips, fairground organs and a craft fair in the Bonded Warehouse. There will be many refreshment options including a hog-roast, a bar and a variety of craft stalls. Mark your diaries now so that you can attend this wonderful local event with something for all the family. Public parking needs to be found ‘on street’ in nearby locations within easy walking distance of the Bonded Warehouse site.

    at The Bonded Warehouse
Listen Live