- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

British zoo workers banned monkeys from eating bananas, calling the fruit too sweet, too sugary and a poor diet addition.

“Giving this fruit to animals is equivalent to giving them cake and chocolate,” sAmy Plowman, the head of conservation and advocacy at Paignton Zoo in southwest England, told NBC News.

“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 fiber than most wild fruit because we like our fruit to be sweet and juicy.”

One of the biggest problems with the bananas is they harm monkey teeth, Ms. Plowman said. The fruit also causes gastrointestinal problems, and contribute to serious health conditions, like diabetes, NBC reported.

Instead of bananas, the monkeys are given leafy, green vegetables, zoo officials said. One exception: Sick monkeys get the fruit with their medicine, NBC reported.

“Putting [meds] in a piece of banana works really well, as it’s such a treat now,” Ms. Plowman said, in the report.

Zoo officials say the reduction in bananas has led to a calmer monkey cage atmosphere, too.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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