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Monkey Buzz-ness

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Home improvement is always a disruptive experience, no less for monkeys than for anxious suburbanites. When, at the beginning of November, the Central Park Wildlife Center began constructing two shallow hot tubs in the area inhabited by ten Japanese macaques, keepers looked to Don Moore to keep the animals happy and distracted. A 43-year-old animal-behavior scientist who already treats Gus the polar bear, Moore had a different prop delivered to the monkeys' cages twice a day. One night, the ruddy-faced, gray-haired creatures could be seen gleefully peering through paper-towel tubing; on other evenings they romped through piles of donated clothes or tore up copies of TV Guide. But when the tubs are finally installed, Moore will face his biggest challenge: actually getting the monkeys into the pools. "The younger animals will be more keen to use this," says Moore. "Once the older animals get a sense that this is a fun place to be, they'll use them for sure." But once the old folks show up, will the young hipsters really stick around?


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