Monkeys at the Asuncion zoo enjoyed a refreshing afternoon treat of ice cream handed out by two city councilmen as part of a campaign of solidarity with the caged animals that had been expressly forbidden by the management.

Hugo Ramirez and Augusto Wagner, the two Asuncion councilmen, intended to treat all the animals at the zoo in the city's Botanical Garden, and had announced their intention previously in a number of Paraguayan media.

However, the refreshment could only be savored by some of the monkeys, since a member of the zoo management stepped in to stop the councilmen from continuing on to other cages to hand out the ice creams.

As the councilors told the daily ABC Color, their aim was to give the caged animals a taste of humans' love and affection for them.

They also said that ice cream as part of the summer diet was common in some Brazilian zoos, though the zoo management did not perfectly agree.

"When they announced what they had in mind, we said we weren't going to allow them to give the animals a different diet, particularly since the monkeys had recently been vaccinated. What is good for a human is not necessarily good for an animal," zoo director Marins Llorens told Efe.

It remains to be seen what the monkeys thought after enjoying their ice cream, above all on a day when the temperature in Asuncion was up around 40 C (104 F).

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