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Gorilla brushes up ball skills ahead of rugby world cup

Paignton Zoo /PA Wire

By Claire Hayhurst, PA

Western lowland gorilla Pertinax has been brushing up his ball skills ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

The 37-year-old male, who weighs a hefty 190kg, was pictured playing with a rugby ball at Paignton Zoo in Devon.

Keepers said he showed some fine carrying skills but had a tendency to burst the ball.

Senior keeper Alex Perry said: "This is an excellent form of environmental enrichment - the balls are novel items and stimulate the gorillas to play."

He thanked local online store Lovell Rugby for donating balls.

Balls are used as enrichment devices at the zoo, along with objects including puzzle feeders and wind chimes.

These are used to encourage natural feeding and foraging behaviours, to stimulate activity and to provoke curiosity using new objects and situations.

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