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Cardiff student set to live like an ape

11 March 2011

24hr ape WEBLewis Rowden

A Cardiff School of Biosciences student is going to live like a gorilla at Paignton Zoo for 24 hours to raise money for ape conservation.

Lewis Rowden’s 24 hour sponsored camp-out on the Zoo’s gorilla island will raise money for the European Association of Zoos & Aquaria Ape Campaign 2011. This fund raising effort means Lewis, who dislikes most fruit and veg, will be on a strict gorilla diet including pepper, leek, spinach, parsnip, turnip, sweet corn, cabbage, boiled potato, beetroot, banana, apple, tomato, pineapple and passion fruit.

Lewis Rowden said: "I was reading about the ape campaign and wondered what I could do to raise a bit of money. I thought about becoming a human zoo exhibit for a day – after all, humans are apes, too."

Lewis is studying Zoology at The School of Biosciences. His 10-month placement at Paignton Zoo is part of a Professional Training Year offered by the University. Students taking the four year sandwich programme spend their third year away from the University on a placement which is arranged with the help of the School.

At the zoo he is working on nutrition projects, including an investigation into the effect of nutrition on the growth and development of tadpoles.

"I am a bit of a fussy eater – of the vegetables, I only eat peas, potatoes, green beans and – so long as they are cooked thoroughly - carrots and pepper. In terms of fruit, I pretty much only eat Granny Smith apples, though I’m beginning to eat things like mango, grapes and some berries.

"What puts me off is mainly the texture but also the taste of things like raw carrots, mushrooms and cauliflower. There’s not much in the gorillas’ diet that I eat, so this will certainly be a challenge for me! I’m very much a carnivore and eat a lot of carbohydrates."

Lewis will start his time on the gorilla island on Friday 13 May and continue into Saturday 14 May.

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