Sunday, December 20, 2009

Climate under attack, the chimp pans thee

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?


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