Friday, August 3, 2012

Gorillas Outsmart the Evil Man

I love it when an underdog sticks it to the man. Especially when the man is evil.

In this case, we're not talking about underdogs, though. Call them undergorillas. According to ABC News,  researchers in Rwanda saw young gorillas carefully and very effectively dismantling traps set by poachers to capture gorillas.

(Hat tip to Jim Ehlers via Facebook for the alert on this)
From ABC News: A gorilla is shown dismantling
a snare meant to kill them or other animals.

"How they did it demonstrated an impressive cognitive skill," said gorilla program coordinator Veronica Vecellio, according to ABC.

Researchers had previously seen a few adults dismantle the traps, but never gorillas so young. So the adults are teaching their children well.

By the way, researchers probably wanted to teach the gorillas to wreck the traps, but were bound by scientific ethics not to. They were not to interfere or change gorillas' natural behavior, we're told.

Gorillas are occasionally poached for food, but also fall victims to the snares for other reasons, according to the International Gorilla Conservation Programme.

Instead, traps intended to poach antelope for food sometimes snare Gorillas. Worse, sometimes gorillas are poached because some idiot wants to sell an infant gorilla as a pet and status symbol.

And, apparently some gorillas are killed for meat, because it is apparently some sort of status symbol among a few humans to eat that.  Most is eaten locally, but some finds its way to other cities for consumption, like London. Ugh.

Apparently, in some cases, human ambition, or more accurately greed, makes people dumb. So, it's nice to see a smart gorilla thwart a dumb human.

This isn't to say the gorillas who are dismantling the snares are saving their population. More and more gorillas are being killed by poachers, according to the experts, and that is the biggest threat to their overall survival.

Enforcement against poaching is lax across much of their African habitat, according to gorilla researchers.

So let's hope more gorillas learn to outsmart us sometimes stupid humans.

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