One of our favorite days of the year is the Thursday before St. Patrick's day: The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, the grass is getting greener, and the Big Dance is about set to commence. We can always use a little help with our brackets, and this year, we know where to turn: An old-world monkey.
Meet Ana, a 14-year old baboon who not only paints, but predicts the outcome of big-time sporting events. Last year, she called UCLA making the Final Four. This year, Ana predicted that a certain team from a certain midwestern town would win the Super Bowl - she was wrong, but at least she let her Chicago favoritism determine her pick.
In addition to successfully prognosticating sporting events, Ana is an accomplished painter (like our canine friend Tillie). She began painting by coating her hands in mustard, and wiping them off on the canvas. Now, she has moved up to non-toxic paints. She has been decribed as a "baboon version of Jasper Johns, minus the raging kleptomania." As Ana is easily distracted by other apes, the zoo staff have to clear out her pen before she can peacefully begin creating art.
Her work will be displayed and sold at Zoobilee 2007, but since the dinner costs $75, we will not be attending. Proceeds from sales of her paintings will go to help the renovation of the zoo's "Monkey Island" habitat.