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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 13:28 GMT
LA Zoo recruits Feng Shui expert
A golden monkey. Photo: Cornell University
Golden monkeys live in forest areas of China
Los Angeles Zoo has hired the services of a Feng Shui expert to help three golden monkeys loaned by China feel at home in their future surroundings.

Simona Mainini, who is also a qualified architect, believes the move may be a first in animal enclosure design.

"It's very experimental. We don't have any books on feng shui for monkeys," Ms Mainini told AP news agency.

Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese practice, focuses on arranging objects and spaces to promote health and happiness.

'Extra step'

"We just have to assume that Darwin is correct and that there is a connection and what is good for humans is good for monkeys," Ms Mainini - who is reportedly being paid $4,500 (2,300) - said.

She said she had already made some changes to a planned enclosure to maximise "good energy".

One of the added features would be a water feature to "soften, with moisture, the harsh energy", she said.

The zoo plans to spend just over $7m (3.6m) to build the enclosure that is expected to open later this year.

It says the enclosure will have the feel of a Chinese village.

"We thought it would be more authentic if we went that extra step and made sure it was done with good Feng Shui," said principal architect Charles Mays.

The three golden monkeys - a male and two females - are expected to stay at the zoo for 10 years.

Golden monkeys, which weigh up to 17kg (37lb), have light-blue faces, long hair and make a cat-like meow.

The natural habitat of the endangered species is forest areas of China's Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi and Hubei provinces.

Feng shui booms in China
08 Mar 01 |  Media reports


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