Filed at 12:10 p.m. ET
RAMAT GAN, Israel (AP) -- When Passover comes around, even
gorillas in Israel keep kosher. In line with many other Israelis
busy cleaning their homes to remove bread-related products for the
Passover holiday that begins Saturday night, the Safari Park Zoo
near Tel Aviv does the same.
Since the zookeepers and handlers cannot touch any leavened
products during the weeklong holiday that marks the biblical Jewish
exodus from Egypt, the gorillas and other animals are also fed matzo
-- the unleavened cracker Jews eat to remember that in their rush to
flee slavery, the ancient Israelites' bread did not have time to
Accustomed to eating a slice of bread with cream cheese every
morning, beginning Tuesday the gorillas and other animals at the
safari were fed matzo instead, said Emelia Turkel, the zoo's
''This turns out to be an interesting time for the gorillas and
for the other animals because they get a bit of a change in diet,''
Turkel said. ''We call this environmental enrichment, Jewish
The zoo has always fed the animals matzo during the Passover
holiday, Turkel said, but try to limit their intake to just one or
two crackers a day to prevent them from suffering from the most
common side-effect of matzo -- constipation.
''If they eat too much it does cause stomach problems, so we hope
that our public this week will not be feeding their own matzo to the
animals,'' Turkel said.
Watching the zookeepers throw matzos to the excited gorillas --
romping in the grassy area after the crackers -- visitors to the
safari laughed and joked about the holiday tradition.
''I think it's a good idea for them. They're influenced by the
Jews here,'' said Moshe, a visitor to the safari who gave only his