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Sibu the Orangutan fields prank calls

CHICAGO -- The joke was on the telephone pranksters Friday at the Lincoln Park Zoo, where officials put Sibu the Orangutan on duty at the switchboard.

Zoo Director Lester E. Fisher said this was Sibu's third year fielding calls from the traditional flood of April Fool's Day crank callers who ask to speak with Mr. Lion, L.E. Phant, Mr. Fox and Mr. Gator.

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To make sure Sibu took his job seriously, the telephone mouthpiece was smeared with honey for his 20-minute shift.

The 4-year old orangutan is due to be shipped to the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands in two months.

In the meantime, zoo officials are breaking in a 9-month-old Chimpanzee, Chimbuko, to take over the switchboard on April Fool's Day.

Chimbuko got some on-the-job training Friday, sitting next to Sibu with a toy telephone.

Fisher said things worked well until Sibu 'tried to make a telephone out of the little chimp.'

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