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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Cheeky chimp Chippy's chatline
Chimp keeper Gary Gilmour
Gary Gilmour recognised the shrieks down the phone
A light-fingered chimpanzee gave safari park staff the runaround after stealing a mobile telephone.

Workers at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland were fed up being pestered by what they believed to be nuisance calls.

They were on the verge of calling in the police to complain about the calls when a member of staff suddenly recognised the cheeky chimp's shriek.

Chippy, an 11-year-old chimp, had rung a number of people for three days and nights after snatching a mobile phone from the jacket pocket of his keeper, Gary Gilmour, 35.

Chippy the chimp
Chippy had been making nuisance calls
Staff at the Stirling safari park said the chimp must have pressed various numbers stored in the phone's memory and hit the redial button.

Mr Gilmour said staff were woken up in the middle of the night when their mobile phones went off, making them think there was an emergency.

The keeper presumed he had lost his phone but has now worked out that Chippy snatched the gadget when he hung his jacket up to clean out the animal's enclosure.

He said: "People were starting to get annoyed that they were being woken up at all hours of the day and night.

"When they shouted 'hello' several times they didn't get any reply and you can imagine how annoying that is."

After three days, a keeper who received a call heard a high pitched shriek at the other end of the phone.

"He realised he was talking to a chimp," said Mr Gilmour.

After that staff went to search Chippy's enclosure, which he shares with three other chimps, and found the mobile hidden in the 11-year-old animal's bed.

See also:

17 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
Chimps take cooking tips
07 Jan 00 | Sci/Tech
Chimp is counting champ
16 Jun 99 | Sci/Tech
Chimps are cultured creatures
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