Zoo Hires Marvin Gaye Impersonator to Encourage Monkey “Love”

A Stafford zoo hired a Marvin Gaye impersonator to visit the park this past weekend to encourage a group of endangered monkeys to “get it on”.

Trentham Monkey Forest hired Dave Largie – described as “a highly experienced love song guru” – to serenade a group of Barbary macaques in the hope that he could help “boost the monkey love” this mating season.

Barbary macaques are native to Algeria and Morocco, but due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade, its population has dwindled in recent decades. According to UK-based non-profit Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation, there are around 8,000 Barbary macaques left in the wild.

The falling numbers of Barbary macaques could have wide repercussions throughout the ecosystem, explained Margarita Astrálaga, director of the IUCN Center for Mediterranean Cooperation.

“Macaques are vital to disperse seeds in the forest. Without them, the very composition of the forest would change dramatically. Its disappearance could also affect the economic situation in Morocco as Barbary macaques attract a large number of tourists every year,” Astrálaga said.

In order to raise public awareness for the species, Trentham Monkey Forest opened its doors in 2005 to allow people “the opportunity to observe the Barbary macaques in a setting very similar to their natural habitat,” the zoo said on its website.

The park has shared a video of Largie singing ‘Let’s Get It On’ – taken from Marvin Gaye’s 1973 album of the same name – at the park as a Barbary macaque wanders around behind him.

“We thought it could be a creative way to encourage our females to show a little affection to males that might not have been so lucky in love,” park director Matt Lovatt said in a statement.

“Females in season mate with several males so paternity amongst our furry residents is never known. Each birth is vital to the species with Barbary macaques being classed as endangered.”

Birthing season occurs in late spring/early summer each year; so whether Largie’s serenading worked will not be known for several months yet.

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