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!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Santino, The Rock Throwing Chimpanzee At The Sweden's Furuvik Zoo Has Been Castrated!

Wow, Is this a fine example of caring for the people (viewers, stalkers) at the zoo more than the wonderful animal himself. Here are some of my thoughts and my experiences.
  • Why couldn't the zoo put up zoo glass around the viewing area so that way when he throws the rocks the public would have been protected? Let me guess, it was cheaper to castrate him then to put out the expense of zoo glass.
  • This is a natural behaviour of chimpanzees, to throw things. In the wild they throw whatever is available to them to animals and people that they feel they are threatened by. So why would the zoo want to take away a Chimpanzee's natural behaviour? For the price of the admission to the zoo?
  • I personally had my Chimpanzee castrated at an early age of 2 1/2 yrs old because he was being aggressive to my daughter. I spoke to many Ape professionals about this decision and the outcome was, that if it were to be done. it needed to be done before the male hormones kicked in. (BTW, Both of my Chimpanzees were placed at a zoo at the ages of 5 and 6)
  • This decision of my chimp, DID NOT stop his aggression towards people he did not know, or to protect his environment and his little chimpanzee brother.
  • Santino is way past the age of "getting" his male hormones, so I don't think this is going to stop him from doing something that is natural to him.
  • I'm sure in the future we will see the same behaviour from Santino and he will be in the news again. When this happens what will the zoo do then? Relocate him, euthanize him?

December 20, 2009
Santino, the agitated chimp. Photo: AP

Could it be that this year's most effective environmental campaigner was a castrated monkey in a Swedish zoo?

IS THE ETS debate sending you bananas? Can't understand why climate change action is such a hairy subject, or why Malcolm Turnbull fell to the gorillas in his midst? Well, spare a thought for Santino the agitated chimpanzee, who took direct action to protest against his environmental conditions but soon discovered that railing against the status quo comes at a high price when dealing with humans.

Santino, who lives in Sweden's Furuvik Zoo, is no ordinary chimp. In fact, he's pushed back the boundaries of what is considered human behaviour. Appalled at his incarceration and the steady flow of gawking humans ruining his environment, this chimp took direct action. Over a period of some months, the 31-year-old was observed before opening hours chipping and stockpiling rocks to ensure a supply of strategically placed ammunition to throw at interlopers.

Cognitive scientist Mathias Osvath, who published a report on Santino in Current Biology, said that such complex planning suggested he could anticipate future events and devise ways of dealing with them. ''Planning like this is supposed to be uniquely human,'' Osvath said.

So there you go. Smart chimp wants to protect his environment and plans ahead in order to do so. Obviously not a contender for Tony Abbott's frontbench.

Unfortunately, poor old Santino didn't really plan for what happened next. ''They have castrated the poor guy,'' a shamefaced Osvath admitted. That's right, by railing against the system and expanding our knowledge about the intelligence of other animals, brave Santino copped a typically pragmatic human solution to calm him down and shut him up. Perhaps we should start worrying about what really happened to Peter Garrett?

The human equivalent to Santino's cut would be a cash bonus to buy a big-screen TV. The human race appears so tamed and enslaved by Western consumables that we are all just content to scratch ourselves while the planet dies around us. Those with a degree in bad science fiction movies may well have cause to ponder whether Planet of the Apes' elder statesman and scientific sceptic Dr Zaius was right: humans are a danger to the planet.

So much for using our ability to envisage future events and plan accordingly. Instead of using the global economic meltdown as an opportunity to realign market economies into sustainable economies, the climate change debate has morphed into the usual economic arguments designed to preserve the status quo.

Damnably low carbon reduction targets, emission trading with compensation to big polluters, solar rebates that reward power companies not consumers, and desalination plants that run on brown coal. No wonder poor old Santino got so frustrated sitting under the dim glow of his environmentally friendly light bulb and wondering when the zookeepers were coming to clean the cage.

And it's not as if the world was not warned. International scientists have been beating the drum for years. In 1975, Australian biologist Charles Birch wrote in Confronting the Future that preventing environmental degradation could only be achieved through what he called the ''sustainable society''.

Birch also argued that it was the average monkeys who would be the instigators of this new world order, saying: ''The sustainable society is a revolutionary concept. It will not be achieved without revolutionary political transformations involving the demise of the status quo. It will be a struggle against enormous odds, but not a struggle of one elite group against another. The struggle begins and must be maintained at the grassroots level among people.''

Birch believed that Australia, as a young nation, was uniquely placed to lead the global change to a sustainable society. But somewhere along the way we lost our sharpened rocks. Our nation's solar technology industry has suffered through government neglect; the car culture has been allowed to gridlock our cities. Where are the taxes on the gas guzzlers and the polluters, the incentives for innovation in renewable energy and the bias towards public transport? And where are the millions of stone-throwing Santinos now they are most needed?

For while belligerent Santino may have suffered the unkindest cut, at least he did something. If anything, our politicians have these past weeks shown that those who want to improve their environment should ignore the usual pebbles and start hurling large rocks - shaping them, stockpiling them and flinging them full force. Because without ordinary people putting their bananas on the line, there'll be no cover for our politicians to be more imaginative in their response to climate change.

As Santino (and Malcolm Turnbull) found out to their cost, there's rarely a happy outcome for monkeys who throw stones without back-up.

Andrew Tate is a staff writer


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