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Oakland Zoo raises $13,000 in animal art auction

OAKLAND — A painting done by a chimpanzee brought in the most money from a zoo auction of 32 colorful pieces of art.

The auction of colorful paintings produced by the chimp, as well as elephants, giraffes, river otters and even a cockroach at the Oakland Zoo raised more than $13,000 for the Oakland Zoo's conservation partners, who are working in the field to save wild animals.

All told, there were 562 bids for the animal art, zoo spokeswoman Nicky Mora said.

A grandmother from suburban San Francisco paid $645 for a painting by Bernie, a 23 year-old male chimpanzee.

But it was the squirrel monkey paintings that got the most offers with 43 bids.

The painting sessions were conducted by zoo keepers who used only positive reinforcement, including plenty of treats, as they worked with the animals. Bids started at $200.

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