Sunday, July 31, 2005

When Good Mokey's Go Bad

From the newsletter of the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. Translated from the Hebrew by Nomi Friedman.
A known and ugly phenomenon in zoos all over the world is visitors who willfully throw things at the animals on display, especially at chimpanzees. In the best case, food is thrown, and in the worst, to our regret, we have seen rocks thrown. We are seeing a signifigant improvement in the public's conduct, but the crowds that throw stones at chimps are not our concern here. In Jerusalem the talk is of rock-throwing chimps.
When a large crowd gathers opposite Niki and Galine, the young chimpanzees leave their other chimp activities, race about looking for stones, and start throwing them at the crowd. Why do they do this? Since this is Jerusalem, it might be a way of blowing off steam, or maybe it's an expression of rebellion and independence.
A seperation fence was decided upon. In the past few weeks, the wall was builg -- green, light, elastic, and high. It fulfills its requirements, and is simple and elegant. It has proven effective in stopping the stones.
I found this article in Harper's recently. Monkey's getting revenge on the people who come to gawk at them. A part of me was glad the monkeys did this. Maybe they are reading too much into their behavior and need to realize that maybe zoos aren't the best environment for animals to be kept in. I enjoy zoos. Ever since I was a kid I thought it was great to see animals that I don't usually come into contact with. When was the last time I saw a Lemur walking in New Jersey? Even today I try to get people to go with me to the local zoo. To give many their credit they try very, very hard to make sure endangered species thrive again. Of course this might actually be a moot subject if people knew how to actually respect the earth and all it's creatures instead of throwing rocks at ones in captivity.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 9:34 PM


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