The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Animal world allows in man
A pen with Homo Exhibitionists in London Zoo. (AP)

London, Aug. 26: London Zoo is putting three men and five women into an open pen this weekend to show that the world is indeed a zoo.

The latest addition to the zoo, called Homo Exhibitionist by wits, will have only strategically placed fig leafs to protect their modesty.

The eight volunteers, picked from 30 hopefuls, will be kept amused during the day with games, music and arts and crafts. Unlike the other inmates of the zoo, the humans will be allowed to go home at the end of the day.

The humans-turned-animals project, which began today, is to run over the August Bank Holiday until the 29th.

Lord Swraj Paul, who kept the zoo alive when it was in financial difficulty by donating '1 million in 1994, said he would visit the pen with humans on Sunday.

Asked whether he thought a similar experiment would be worth repeating in India, he told The Telegraph: “No need, with one billion people, the whole of the country is a big zoo.”

It’s unlikely resident Indians will disagree.

Simon Spiro, 19, one of the lucky eight, said he was “fascinated” by animals and excited about sitting atop the zoo’s Bear Mountain.

“I’m a veterinary student, so the idea of working for a zoo was something that appealed to me,” he said.

“I actually think the fig leaves will be enough to cover us up, it’s no worse than a swimming pool.”

He added: “I’m not even worried by the fact it might be cold and rainy. I’ve brought pocket scrabble in case we’re bored. The only problem is I won’t have any pockets to put it in.”

Spiro said he was used to making a “fool” of himself because he also worked as a youth leader.

Brendan Carr, 25, said his motto was to “dream like you’ll live forever, live like you’ll die today”.

The actor, model, musician, martial arts expert and fitness fanatic entered the competition by writing a poem.

It read: “I’m funky like a monkey and as cool as a cat, talk more than a parrot, up all night like a bat. / I got a laugh like a hyena but get the hump like a camel, so cover me in fig leaves as I’m the ultimate mammal.”

The four-day exhibition is intended to highlight the spread of the earth’s most adaptable species and the importance of man’s place in the planet’s eco-system.

One paper said: “Here, in the heart of London Zoo, there has been another sighting of a species not native but increasingly common to Britain, Homo Exhibitionist. It is not a native species, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. Some believe it was accidentally imported from the US while others insist it could only have arisen from genetic mutation. Whatever the explanation, the sudden appearance of three males and five females on the zoo’s Bear Mountain is thrilling.”

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