Quack-thinking superchimp Bossou went bananas after saving three baby ducklings yesterday.
The nine-year-old chimpanzee snatched the birds to safety from the water surrounding Chimp Island at Dublin Zoo.
And only his favourite fruit could convince him to give them up.
The 60 kilo hero - apparently concerned about the threat his fellow chimps posed to the trio of three-day-old birds - waded into the water surrounding his habitat and plucked them out.
Alerted by a sharp-eyed member of the public, a zoo-keeper was called and succeeded in trading one banana per rescued duckling - later named Paddle, Waddle and Drake.
“The mother built her nest on the side of the island; the chicks hatched and gentle giant Bossou thought they might have been in trouble,” said Miriam Kerins of the Dublin SPCA, which was caring for the ducklings last night.
“In his mind he was rescuing them and he was cradling them to his chest. We can only imagine that he thought the other monkeys were a threat and he may have sensed something.”
Zookeeper Yvonne McCann went out to the island and gently coaxed Bossou to give up the chicks with the help of the extra bananas.
Last night, the survivors were being kept under heat lamps and were fed and watered at the DSPCA Mount Venus shelter.
“This is an incredibly, truly touching and inspiring story of compassion shown by a gentle giant,” said Ms Kerins.
It's not the first time a member of the zoo's ape community has sprung to the rescue of birds in distress. Last year, a video of an orangutan scooping another duckling out of the water went viral when it was posted online. - Irish Independent