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The launch of a virtual zoo on the Net has been delayed because the animals keep eating the cables and fiddling with the Web cams. Howletts Zoo, just outside Canterbury, had planned to open the site earlier this week but had to scrap the launch after they uncovered the monkey business. The plan was that animal lovers all over the wired world could have dropped in on Howletts' virtual zoo and watched lions, wolves, chimpanzees and a menagerie (quite literally) of other beasts via Web cams installed in their enclosures. Although the lion's share (groan) of the work had been done, some of the animals got the better of their digitally friendly keepers and insisted upon ripping up the fibre optic cables in their pens. "The animals just won't play ball," said one slightly bemused PR bunny (what, not even the sea lions? - Ed). "And I've just heard a chimp's eaten another cable today," she said - just when zoo staff thought they'd got the problem licked. The horsing around (boom, boom) at Howletts brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Web monkey" but animal lovers will be pleased to hear that the site should be up and running in a fortnight's time. ®

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