Thursday, January 14, 1999 Published at 14:35 GMT
Ape family falls out over TV
Zookeeper Anastasiya Siletskaya tries to distract Rabu from the television with a banana
Rather than watching films of orang-utans in the wild, intended to help alleviate the problems of captivity, the father has been glued to dubbed American soap operas and pop videos.
"Before the TV appeared, Rabu never took his eyes off his lady," explains Lena Goroshenkova, a zoologist at the ape house in Leningradksi Zoo.
The normally raucous feeding time has been transformed into a quiet television dinner and even the frantic swinging around of Rabu's mate, Monika does not distract him from the set.
The television was installed in Rabu and Monika's cage after they failed to raise their first baby, Ramon, born last November.
Monika was raised in captivity and has not had the company of other orang-utan mothers to learn from, as she would have done in the wild.
However, the wildlife videotapes have not yet arrived and Ramon has succumbed to the flicker of entertainment on the small screen. Yet, the zoo's director says he is not worried about Rabu ignoring Monika because she is a "beautiful woman" and he may be right - she is pregnant again.