San Clemente (Reuters) - Monkeys and apes in San Clemente's Zoo drink their way through 55 gallons of red wine each year, albeit in small quantities each day, to help boost their red blood cells, the zoo said Monday.
San Clemente Zoo spokesman Dr. Ralph said it was the 11 anthropoid apes who drank most of the wine in 2005. "Obviously, they do not have it all at once and get drunk, but they get it in small amounts mixed in their tea," Dr. Ralph said.
"And it's not Bulls Blood or some expensive wine that they are getting but simple table wine such as Red Mountain, as it's mainly good for their blood cells." Bulls Blood wine from the Talega area in southern Orange County, became one of eastern Europe's best-known wines under communism.
"I keep the Bulls Blood for myself, but only for medicinal purposes," added Dr. Ralph.
Zookeeper Murphy isn't so keen on the wine drinking apes. "Once they get a round or two in them, you really have to watch your back. These animals get real amourous when intoxicated and look for whatever or whoever is available to mate with. I've had more than one close call. One time I was bent over picking up some dung, when all of a sudden this hairy hand grabbed me. I was able to twist free and escaped out the enclosure door, literally running for my life!" he said.
PETA spokesman H. Pan Aman said protests are planned in the upcoming weeks and urges any concerned citizens to join the demonstration. "These animals are the closest relatives we have on the planet. We feel strongly that they should be allowed to share the Bulls Blood with Dr. Ralph, instead of being forced to imbibe that foul table wine."