Zoo chimps not enjoying their gilded cage  »

A new study
from the University of Kent’s School of Anthropology and Conservation is saying zoo environments may cause behavior indicative of mental illness in chimpanzees. That’s kind of a lot of run around, I know, but they really aren’t pulling any punches:

Some abnormal behaviours persist despite interventions to ‘naturalise’ the captive conditions and we suggest that captivity itself may be fundamental as a causal factor in the presence of persistent, low-level, abnormal behaviour (and potentially more extreme levels in some individuals). The cognitive and behavioural challenges in captivity are fewer than in the wild—stressful and dangerous place that it may be—and many normal behaviours and normal development are precluded. While extreme levels of abnormal behaviour may be explicable by individuals’ particular histories, the pattern of low-level, pervasive abnormal behaviour shown by this study suggests that chimpanzee minds struggle to cope with conditions of captivity, despite the best efforts of those charged with their care.

So they are like, captivity could be fundamentally damaging no matter how great the zoo is. Well, that’s a development. Even if we pretend the majority of zoos aren’t total crap-holes, they are saying captivity itself is bad. That’s major. The study mentions lots of things zoos do to try and enrich the lives of their chimpanzees, like mix up their meal schedule and make them pretend-gather their food (yawn), but it doesn’t matter. The chimps are going stir-crazy.

They* are always bragging about how much longer animals live in captivity than the wild and it’s like, yeah they live extra-long crappy lives—it’s like The Matrix! They are safe but they aren’t alive!

Next time someone tries to tell you how captivity is not so bad and that some zoo is treating its chimps so well, you tell them, “It doesn’t matter, bucko!** Zoos are total bullshit!” Now, let’s get these animals to sanctuaries and stop taking new ones from the wild. Free the chimps!

*You know how they are.
**People like when you call them bucko. I know this, I was an anthropology major.

[Picture by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock]


More good news: Anne arrives at new home, U.K. may ban live animals in circuses!  »

Here’s a picture of Anne from the Daily Mail being greeted at her new home at Longleat Safari Park! She has a six-acre enclosure there, which is a far cry from the miles and miles wild elephants usually roam, but her arthritis tells me maybe that’s OK.

I am still so impressed by how quickly the people in the U.K. reacted to Anne’s terrible situation, and how quickly she was moved to a brand new home. Amazing. What’s more, it looks like Britain will ban live animals in circuses (dead ones, I presume, are totally OK). The ban hasn’t happened yet but Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is “minded” to pass the ban. The public shock of Anne’s treatment is the catalyst: “The tragic plight of Anne once again mobilised the people. From protesting on the streets, to lobbying MPs, the past week has been filled with cries for a ban.” AWESOME! I’m so jealous! Maybe we can just get the Brits over here and they can care about all the captive animals in the United States.

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