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Kazakhstan monkeys fed wine to keep warm

A Kazakhstan zoo fed monkeys wine during extremely cold winter nights.
Kazakhstan monkeys red winEnlarge
A Kazakhstan zoo fed its monkeys red wine to keep them warm during extremely cold nights. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

Kazakhstan monkeys may be a little tipsy, but at least they’re not cold.

A Kazakhstan zoo fed its monkeys a wine concoction as a remedy against flu as overnight temperatures dipped to -27 Fahrenheit, the AFP reported.

"We give the monkeys wine because in the winter it protects them from respiratory infections. You could say we douse them with wine to ward off flu," said Svetlana Pilyuk of the Karaganda zoo, the AFP reported. The Karaganda zoo is one of the oldest in Kazakhstan, which is an ex-Soviet republic and known for its extreme winters.

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Pilyuk said the practice wasn’t to get the monkeys drunk, but to relax them. She said it was a normal practice in zoos, however, the London Zoo told the BBC that wasn’t the case. The monkeys are each given 50 grams of the French red win, diluted with hot water and mixed with sliced apples, lemon and sugar, NewsCore reported.

"In the wild, primates also consume alcohol-containing plants that disinhibit their nerve system and give them some release,” Pilyuk said, NewsCore reported.

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But like people, some monkeys were carded before receiving the wine concoction. Pregnant monkeys, along with babies, were not permitted to drink the alcohol to warm up, the BBC reported.

"After all, primates are just like people - they enjoy drinking an alcoholic drink,” Pilyuk said, the BBC reported. "Some of them even abuse it, coming up to the drinking trough several times."

The Zoological Society of London told the BBC they were not familiar with the practice of giving animals alcohol to warm up.

"It's absolutely not the norm to give any animals alcohol, diluted or otherwise," said Emma Edwards, spokesperson for the Zoological Society of London, the BBC reported. "Alcohol lowers the blood temperature so it would be completely the wrong thing to do."

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