The music of Marvin Gaye has been used in a bid to persuade an endangered species of monkeys to mate.

Trentham Monkey Forest in England hired a Gaye impersonator to perform a set of songs for a colony of 140 Barbary macaques – and although it was a publicity stunt, there was evidence that it may have worked.

“As every new addition is so important for the protection of the species, special guest Dave Largie was invited into our beloved forest to serenade the primates … to help inspire them to ‘Get It On,’” a statement explained. “David, a highly experienced love-song guru, sang several Marvin Gaye classics to the monkeys whilst in amongst them, and they seemed very relaxed and full of love! Some classic Barbary macaque ‘lovey-dovey’ behavior was on display during the performance such as grooming and teeth chattering. Who knows? Maybe there’s something in it, and the park will have a record number of babies come the summer!”

Director Matt Lovatt said: “We thought it could be a creative way to encourage our females to show a little affection to males that might not have been so lucky in love. Females in season mate with several males so paternity amongst our furry residents is never known. Each birth is vital to the species with Barbary macaques being classed as endangered.”

Gaye – who died in 1984– was one of the first R&B artists to deal with ecological issues in his 1971 single “Mercy Mercy Me.” Explaining his move away from romantic songs, he once said, “I began to reevaluate my whole concept of what I wanted my music to say. I realized that I had to put my own fantasies behind me if I wanted to write songs that would reach the souls of people. I wanted them to take a look at what was happening in the world.”

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