The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Animal Altruism

Maneka Gandhi

(Bihar Times) Have you seen pictures of tiger mothers suckling

piglings , or monkeys defending

dogs ? Someone has sent me the pictures he had taken of a

hurt monkey on the road being

protected by another monkey who stopped the traffic till

the first one was picked up by the

troop and taken to the side. I have a U Tube video of a

Canadian seabird walking into

a shop, stealing a packet of chips , pecking it open and

then scattering it for her friends to

eat. She does this every day and it’s the same brand

each time.

Kindness is what makes the world turn around.

When was the last time you helped

someone without any expectations? But altruistic

behaviour is common among

animals. An altruistic animal is one that helps

another without direct benefit to

itself, be it a mother bear protecting her cubs

against their hungry father or a bird

giving an alarm call that warns other birds of a


Psychologists have found that a rat or monkey will

slow its rate of pressing a lever

for food if that lever also gives an electric shock to

a nearby rat or monkey. Rats

will take turns sitting on a platform so that others

can feed without being interrupted

by electric shock. Pigeons and mice cooperate in

getting food.

Why do walruses adopt orphans? Why do dogs

adopt the offspring of cats, other dogs,

and even tigers? Altruism means that the animal

loses something in helping – either

energy or food or even a chance to save itself. Why

should wolves share their kill;

or sparrows draw attention to themselves by issuing

a warning call when they spot a

hawk” ? If a bird helps a breeding pair build its

nest and feed its young, without

breeding itself, then it would seem to be a loser in

the struggle for life. While this

individual is busy helping others, it is missing out

on the opportunity to produce

heirs of its own. How, then, do evolutionists account

for altruism in animals?

Scientists ,say – “it is in their genes” ! Which simply

means that animals are caring

and kind by nature.

In group animals such as seals , if the young seal loses

its parents , unrelated mothers

will feed them. Honeybees die defending the hive so

that the babies of the nest may

survive. Adult animals risk their life to distract potential

predators away from their

offspring decreasing their own chances of survival.

Dolphins whales and porpoises

help injured and sickly animals breathe by swimming

beneath them for hours at a time.

Recent studies at The Max Planck Institute for

Evolutionary Anthropology in

Leipzig, Germany, show that monkeys, wolves and

dolphins were more than willing

to help other animals, including humans.
In one experiment done with chimps in Uganda, a

chimp struggled to open a door

locked by a chain. The researchers wanted to see if

a second chimp would release the

chain to help the first get food. The chimps in a

position to help did just that.

“The crucial thing here is they help without any

expectation of being rewarded,

because they don’t benefit from their helping,”

researcher Felix Warneken explains.

The same pattern showed up in a similar experiment

with chimpanzees and humans:

When a human with whom they had no prior relationship

struggled to reach a stick,

the chimps handed it to the person even when it

required effort.
Kookaburras, and many other group-living animals

forgo their own chance to

have offspring and help others rear their babies instead.

Meerkat , mongoose-like

animals from Africa will postpone meals to help with

the baby-sitting, and will

stay home so their family and friends can go out to

supper. A monkey will take

out parasites from an unrelated monkey or act a

babysitter while the mother

goes off to find food. Wolves and wild dogs bring

back food to members of the

pack who have taken no part in the hunt.

The ultimate in altruism as I understand it is when

a caged mammal mother

eats her newborn young or a dog on the street kills

her newborn infants. I can

see the extreme stress and pain of the mother doing

this to her children but

I also see the determination that her children will

not inherit the terrible life

that she has had.

In certain spiders like the Japanese foliage spider

the mother sacrifices herself

for her young. Once the mother has laid her clutch

of eggs and cared for them

until they hatch, the mother surrenders her own

body to her hatchlings for food.

Before doing this she may even start a second brood

of eggs which is never intended

to hatch, but is laid as a food source for her hatchlings.

Following this feast the

hatchlings will molt and swarm over their mother and

start to dine. She never

attempts to fend off the brood, or launch a counter attack.

Her body starts to

liquify, giving her hatchlings a supply of food. The hump

earwig does the same.

In humans the number of mothers that will even let their

children drink their

milk is decreasing. How many humans would have

children if it meant losing

their own lives ?

Researchers on altruistic behaviour among animals

oppose the Darwinist

concept of the "survival of the fittest” and say it is

"survival of the nicest"

which is compatible with Darwin’s theory of evolution .

Vampire bats regularly regurgitate blood and donate

it to other members

of their group who have failed to feed that night.

In numerous bird species,

a breeding pair receives help in raising its young

from other ‘helper’ birds,

who protect the nest from predators and help to

feed the fledglings. Vervet

monkeys give alarm calls to warn fellow monkeys

of the presence of predators,

even though in doing so they attract attention to

themselves, increasing their

own chance of being attacked. In social insect colonies

(ants, wasps, bees and

termites), sterile workers devote their whole lives to

caring for the queen,

constructing and protecting the nest, foraging for

food, and tending the larvae.

Even lowly bacteria are altruistic. Salmonella

bacteria sacrifice themselves

for the greater good. As they enter the digestive

tract, it’s a hostile world as

other bacteria have already dug themselves into

good positions. So the

salmonella ‘select’ one in six microbes as an

advance group. As they dig

into the intestinal tissues, they cause the human

defense system to flood

the tract with attacking white cells and kill all

the other bacteria, so that

colonization by the remaining salmonella can begin.
Does doing good make you feel good ?

Neuroscientists at the National

Institutes of Health and LABS-D'Or Hospital

Network published their

findings in the Proceedings of the National

Academy of Sciences USA

in October, 2006. They show that charity

activated the mesolimbic

reward pathway, the same part of the brain

that lights up in response

to food and sex and makes you feel wonderful!

Altruism is the core virtue in all religions and

cultures. Must you be

mean to species that practice it so effortlessly

without pretending to

be of any religious faith ? Are you kind ?

To join the animal welfare movement contact


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