Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Baboons eat hot potatoes in snow

Baboons in the snow eating potatoes at Knowsley Safari Park
The baboons collected the hot potatoes from keepers

Baboons braved the snow to feast on hot baked potatoes at Knowsley Safari Park.

The freezing weather may have forced the reserve to close but the animals stayed warm courtesy of the heated accommodation in their enclosures.

The park's manager said it was the worst weather at the site for 25 years and it had made getting around the 5km (3.1 miles) route very difficult.

David Ross said: "Our staff have been working hard to ensure all our animals are well fed and cosy."

The baboons were about the only animals to brave the icy temperatures as most of the park's animals remained in their heated sheds.

'Steaming spuds'

The only exhibits that have been happy to stay outdoors in all weather are the park's bison which are used to the extreme cold of North American and Canadian winters.

Mr Ross added: "In these conditions the baboons absolutely love a baked potato and it's been fantastic to watch adults and youngsters alike collecting the steaming spuds from the keepers and enjoying something warm in the snow.

"Keepers have been working in bitterly cold conditions to check on the welfare of the animals.

"Fortunately warm accommodation is available for nearly all of Knowsley's animals to retreat to, including a new antelope house with high-tech underfloor heating."

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