November 23, 2009
Two lions burgled the enclosure of a rare white tiger at a zoo in the Czech Republic, killing the occupant, BBC News reports.
The big cat blue-on-blue is attributed to the zoo’s peculiar cage rotation policy. Lions and tigers share nocturnal accommodation in the same “pavilion”, and are released into separate open-air enclosures at daybreak.
But for reasons that are not at all clear, the external habitats are assigned to different species on a rota system.
The friendly-fang incident took place when the two lions — Sultan and Elsa — prised open a trap door leading to their previous accommodation, perhaps in an attempt to reclaim their old territory, and surprised Isabella, the new occupant.
Staff rushed to respond to the tigress’ cries for help, but in vain.
Head-scratching zoo director David Nejedlo told the BBC: “The current security system has been in place for 12 years and such an accident has never happened before.”
October 11, 2009
A zoo in Gaza has come up with a creative solution to its zebra shortage by painting stripes on donkeys, United Press International reports.
At $15,000 a pop, zebras lie beyond the means of Gaza’s “only place of entertainment,” zoo head keeper Mahmoud Barghouti said.
“We used to have two zebras but they died from starvation during the military offensive. Some of the other animals escaped and died and some were stolen,” he continued.
Zoo officials are considering suing Israel for the damage caused during the 2008 Gaza War.
A professional artist was hired to (intermittently) black-up the donkeys, which, along with a few monkeys, cats and dogs, make up Gaza’s piss-poor collection of beasts.
The monkeys are said to have been smuggled into Gaza from Egypt, via the now-infamous tunnels that lie under the border to the southerly Arab republic.
July 13, 2009
An orangutan at Perth Zoo savoured the sweet taste of freedom for five fleeting minutes before voluntarily returning to her enclosure, WAToday reports.
The escape is remarkably similar to that of Karta, who defeated the electric fence at her Adelaide Zoo enclosure in May, only to give herself up minutes later.
Perth’s pongid Houdini is named Pulang, which, appropriately enough, means “come home” in Malay.
Once again, where humans design new enclosures for apes, hubris swiftly follows: WAToday reports Pulang’s new home was “state of the art”, and designed to “mimic the Sumatran jungle”. Its shortcomings were sufficiently obvious to the fifteen-year-old primate that she immediately loosened a rope from a fixing bolt and swung her way to freedom.
As is now traditional, a largely pointless “security review” has been ordered by zoo top brass. Chief executive Susan Hunt noted that “orangutans are [one] of the world’s most intelligent, inquisitive and agile creatures … capable of picking locks and undoing bolts and screws.
July 7, 2009
Several monkeys escaped the clutches of Edinburgh Zoo on Friday, and five remain at large, Scottish independent broadcaster STV reports.
Auld Reekie zookeepers are even now trying to tempt the Barbary macaques, recently arrived from a zoo in Germany, down from the trees with bananas, nuts and seeds.
Edinburgh zoo committed the schoolboy error of trying to move primates between enclosures when the macaques discovered a “chink in the armour” of their new pen, according to BBC Scotland.
Head zookeeper Lorna Hughes said: “We moved our 12 barbary macaques to a new enclosure within the zoo and, being inquisitive animals, they decided to explore their enclosure and found a certain little weakness where they could climb up a certain part of the wall and make their way under the electric fence at the top.”
The escaped macaques are more commonly known as “Barbary Apes”, famous for infesting the rock of Gibraltar. Additional pub quiz trivia: despite their common name, they are not, in fact apes, and they are the only extant European non-human primate.
Rumours that a smouldering American macaque stole a Triumph TR6 Trophy and attempted to vault the barbed wire before being brutally slain by keepers remain unconfirmed.
July 7, 2009
A thirty-strong platoon of chimpanzees escaped their enclosure at Chester Zoo and sacked the keepers’ food-preparation area, Reuters reports.
The hungry hominins’ escape prompted a precautionary evacuation of the zoo. An unnamed spokeswoman told Reuters: “We had an army of chimps eating their way through the keeper’s kitchen and the decision was taken, quite rightly, to evacuate.
“By around 4 pm we had managed to get all the chimps back in their enclosure, some of them with very full bellies.”
Zoo director general Gordon McGregor Reid told BBCNews: “It was a bit like an old-fashioned chimps tea party… they’ve certainly had a ball in that room that’s for sure.”
An enquiry is underway to understand how the apes made good their escape. The zoo’s blacksmith has been summoned to inspect door latches.
Although the foodstore was pillaged, the chimpanzee raiding party mercifully failed to discover the powder magazine.
June 9, 2009
Quite literally biting the hand that feeds him, a chimpanzee at Berlin’s Zoo severed his captor’s finger, Reuters reports.
Pedro, a 28 year-old chimpanzee, attacked 51 year-old zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz while he showed an unnamed companion around his menagerie. Offering the alpha chimp a snack of shelled walnuts, Blaszkiewitz instead found his index finger bitten off at the knuckle.
“Pedro is the boss of the group so he has to demonstrate a certain dominance in it to prove himself,” zoo spokesman and ape apologist Andre Schuele said.
“Under normal circumstances, a chimp would never have the chance to reach a keeper or our director,” Schuele continued, eyeing the machine gun nests and carefully-planted minefields with evident satisfaction.
While surgeons battled to reattach Blaszkiewitz’s finger, Pedro was assured that no reprisals would follow his insurgency.
May 29, 2009
A feral child has been discovered in rural Russia, Reuters reports.
The five year old girl, whose development is more akin to a two-year-old, was found by Russian police in the Siberian city of Chita. Unable to speak a human language, she had taken on the vernacular of her adoptive canine parents.
Natascha, the feral child discovered in Chita, Siberia.
“For five years, the girl was ‘brought up’ by several dogs and cats and had never been outside,” a police statement said. “When carers leave the room, [she] jumps at the door and barks.”
“Natasha” has been transferred to an orphanage while her (human) mother is questioned by police. The whereabouts of her biological father is not known.
Everything you wanted to know about human children raised by animals, including the unique case of the ostrich boy, is available at feralchildren.com.
May 29, 2009
Visitors to Adelaide Zoo were evacuated after a Sumatran orangutan mounted a successful escape bid, the Associated Press reports.
The 137-lb female short-circuited an electric fence by jamming a stick into its power supply, before fashioning a makeshift ladder and scaling the walls of her enclosure.
Karta the orang utan. You may sleep safe at night.
Karta, 27, remained atop the fence for half an hour before deciding to return to captivity.
“I think when she actually got out and realized … she shouldn’t be there, so then she’s actually hung onto the wall and dropped back into the exhibit,” zoo curator Peter Whitehead told reporters.
The zoo was evacuated as a precautionary measure, and vets armed with tranquilizer guns stood by in case things turned nasty.
Zoos South Australia’s Conservation Psychologist Dr Carla Litchfield told ABC’s PM programme that the pongid was probably searching for her mate Pusung, who died last month from a respiratory infection.
“It’s very possible she was looking for Pusung because to her he’s missing and perhaps he’s around here somewhere. That’s possibly what was going through her head but of course we can’t see into their heads and we can’t ask them to tell us,” Dr Lichfield said.
March 31, 2009
A rampaging pig was returned to captivity following the brave intervention of a police officer late of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Commandos, the BBC reports.
The beautiful seaside town of Margate was spared ruin by the intervention of heroic Pc Chris Wiltshire, whose “way with animals” subdued the rampaging porker.
Inspector Simon[s?] Collins of the Kent Constabulary told BBC News: “It is quite a large pig and, although it was not aggressive, a number of the younger officers were quite daunted.”
“Pepper” of Ethelbert Road, Margate, together with an unnamed rabbit accomplice, had inadvertently been liberated by a potting-shed burglar.
The pig apparently enjoyed its stay with the Peelers, catching some shuteye under a blanket in the police kennels.
“It was the subject of some attention – all the early shift patrols have been over to have a look at it,” Collins added.
Nevertheless, the breakfast menu of Margate Police Station remains defiantly unchanged.
March 31, 2009
The Twin Cities are significantly safer after an escaped goat was gunned down by police, the Pioneer Press reports.
The caprine menace escaped from a meat processing plant, marauding the mean streets of South St Paul, Minnesota, before being dispatched by an officer with a 12-gauge loaded with buckshot.
Police Chief Dan Vujovich defended the officer’s decision to use a shotgun (rather than, for example, a meat cleaver or hand grenade).
“I also think that if there was a situation where a goat did injure somebody, there would be more of an outrage of why we didn’t take more aggressive action when we had the opportunity,” Vujovich continued, before perusing the menu of a local Jamaican restaurant.
Controversy surrounds the goat’s demeanour. Concord Fresh Meat employees claimed the animal was so agressive that it could not be persuaded to return to its pen. St Paul resident Glenn Boche, on the other hand, describes a much more circumspect animal. He witnessed the goat contemplating Christmas reindeer figures in his yard, perhaps wondering when the hell Boche planned to take his decorations down.
In addition to expressing disgust at the bloody entrails left at the scene, South St. Paul residents feared their beloved Oreo, a law-abiding goat who has lived locally for some years, might die in a cruel case of mistaken identity. Happily, Oreo still browses the verdant slopes of Minnesota unmolested.
The escaped goat had been at large for ten days before it was finally brought to justice.