Monkeys cwtch up and workers go extra mile at Swansea Valley sanctuary
THEY may not be brass monkeys but they still don't like the cold.
Designed for hanging out in humid rainforests, a group of primates in the Upper Swansea Valley are turning to blankets and warm cups of tea to help them through the current cold snap.
The Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary, run by husband and wife team, Graham and Jan Garen in Caehopkin, near Abercrave, is home to nine chimpanzees and around 70 other animals of varying shapes and sizes, including gibbons, baboons, macaques and spider monkeys.
Commenting on how the chimps, in particular, are coping with the effects of the wintry weather: "They still eat lots of fruit but we also feed them warm food like jacket potatoes and the chimps like a hot cup of tea.
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"They have blankets and one of the girls, Nakima, wears a shawl or a cardigan most of the time.
"She was brought up in a house for 29 years so that probably explains it.
"The chimps are the only ones who have ventured outside, we have had to keep the smaller monkeys inside.
"The gibbons, who move around by dragging their hands on the floor, would catch frostbite if we left them out.
"And the lake around the baboon island has frozen over so if they were let out they would be able to escape."
And the one breed of monkey who you may have thought was tailor-made for the current weather could not get back inside quick enough.
Mrs Garen explained: "We have a Japanese snow monkey, which was found in Antwerp, she took one look at the snow and ran back inside."
A serious downside of the present conditions mean that visitor numbers are low.
Mrs Garen said: "We depend upon visitors but numbers are down because of the weather, we need money coming in to help feed the animals."
Meanwhile, during the snowy conditions, Swansea Council registrar Susan Walters hitched a ride in a four- wheel-drive to get to a wedding in Reynoldston, Gower.
Council staff also took to their feet to get to Morriston Crematorium to ensure services could go ahead.
Noel Evans, Swansea Council's head of bereavement and registration services, said: "Weddings and funerals affect hundreds of people, so it was especially pleasing that staff put in a fantastic effort to make sure all our services that were planned went ahead."