"The monkeys at Bristol Zoo are having bananas – and in fact all fruit – phased out of their diet – after research found bananas are too sugary and healthy and another West zoo said they can hype the monkeys up to fight each other more.
Bristol Zoo’s keepers said although that has not been a problem in their zoo, they are in the process of cutting out all fruit from all the meals given to primates, who will be tucking into fresh vegetables and pellets instead.
Experts said that the bananas and other fruit grown for human consumption has been developed to be far more sugary and less nutritious than the monkeys might otherwise have found in the wild, and therefore it was not good for them.
Bristol Zoo’s director, Dr Bryan Carroll, said many of the primates at Bristol Zoo receive little or no fruit at all in their daily diets already, and that would soon be down to zero for all of them.
Senior head keeper of mammals at Paignton Zoo, Matthew Webb, said it had already made a difference “We have noticed an improvement in the condition of primate coats – in particular the colour and thickness of the fur of the Sulawesi crested black macaques,” he said.
“Smaller monkeys such as tamarins and marmosets are highly-strung animals and live in tight-knit social groups which can be quite aggressive at times. Reducing the sugar in their diets has calmed them down and made their groups more settled.”
Amy Plowman, the head of conservation and advocacy at Paignton Zoo, said: “People usually try to improve their diet by eating more fruit – but fruit cultivated for humans is much higher in sugar and much lower in protein and fibre than most wild fruit because we like our fruit to be so sweet and juicy.
“Giving this fruit to animals is equivalent to giving them cake and chocolate"