Looks like Pertinax the gorilla is brushing up on his rugby skills before the upcoming Rugby World Cup. The 37-year-old male gorilla, a resident of the Paignton Zoo in Devon, UK, was spotted playing with a rugby ball in his enclosure. A video shows the gorilla looking at the ball curiously and throwing it around. Pertinax is a Western lowland gorilla who weighs a hefty 190 kgs and is 6-feet-tall.
According to Paignton Zoo, the rugby balls were donated by Lovell Rugby, the world's largest online rugby store.
The zoo added in its statement that Pertinax displayed some fine "ball-carrying skills", but that his tendency to burst balls could get him into trouble with the referee.
Western lowland gorilla, Pertinax, has been testing out his rugby skills ahead of the #RugbyWorldCup! ????????— Paignton Zoo (@PaigntonZoo) September 16, 2019
The rugby balls are a great form of environmental enrichment, being novel items that provoke curiosity and stimulate play. #RWC2019https://t.co/BmsxPjk9Y6pic.twitter.com/VurkjGCIzq
Senior keeper Alex Perry explained: "This is an excellent form of environmental enrichment - the balls are novel items and stimulate the gorillas to play. We smeared a little honey on the ball, too, as an incentive. It's great to have a locally-based company like Lovell help us out by donating balls."
Bornean orangutan Mali and her 6-year-old daughter Tatau were also spotted playing with rugby balls.
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