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Gorillas

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HasBeany
153204.  Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:13 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
That was very interesting indeed Beth. I've recently read a book called Kicked, Bitten and Scratched, by Amy Sutherland, about a college in California which trains people to work with exotic animals, and this was an interesting addition to that.


Thanks, Jenny, I'm so glad you liked my notes.

I've heard about the Sutherland book, tho haven't read it. I'm a bit sceptical [yes, that IS the UK spelling!], because the things I heard about it seemed to endorse using wild animals as entertainment. This is a topic fraught with issues: moral, ecological, animal welfare, etc. What did you think when you'd read it?

 
HasBeany
153212.  Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:15 am Reply with quote

As we know, gorillas are severely threatened in the wild not only from poachers [who've cost the lives of nearly 100 dedicated rangers as well as who knows how many of these wonderful animals], but also as a result of decades of wars, primarily fomented by or against repressive regimes.

So it's news indeed to report a documented and rare gorilla birth in the Congo.

Read all about it
here.

Not to get too political but it's worth noting in context -- and it's a matter of public record; just Google it -- that among the contributions of other countries, the US has protected its mineral business interests throughout the region over the past century or so by propping up many of the ruling dictatorships, including by direct funding, military training, and so-called "on the ground support."

Yes, it makes me furious, not least because we in the west have only become aware of gorillas in the past 150 years, and have only realised their intelligence, resourcefulness, close genetic connection, and gentleness over the past 40 years. And now the entire wild population is on the brink of extinction. I just think gorillas are more important than zinc.


Last edited by HasBeany on Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:28 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Jenny
153344.  Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:58 pm Reply with quote

Beth - I went into reading it with the same thought as you - that using animals for entertainment is somewhat morally suspect.

However, it was very interesting to read how this particular course trains people to work with animals in a way that reinforces natural behaviours to get a desired result, so that although they are conditioned it doesn't seem to be done with any sort of unkindness. This is at least an improvement on earlier methods of training, which were based on punishment and coercion. The trainees described in the book seemed to be sincerely devoted to the welfare of the animals they worked with, and since the likelihood of animals ceasing to be used in various branches of the entertainment industry seems to be small, at least it's better than it was.

The book is worth a read, and you would be in a better position than most people to evaluate the information in it.

 
HasBeany
153395.  Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:26 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Beth - I went into reading it with the same thought as you - that using animals for entertainment is somewhat morally suspect.

However, it was very interesting to read how this particular course trains people to work with animals in a way that reinforces natural behaviours to get a desired result, so that although they are conditioned it doesn't seem to be done with any sort of unkindness. This is at least an improvement on earlier methods of training, which were based on punishment and coercion. The trainees described in the book seemed to be sincerely devoted to the welfare of the animals they worked with, and since the likelihood of animals ceasing to be used in various branches of the entertainment industry seems to be small, at least it's better than it was.

The book is worth a read, and you would be in a better position than most people to evaluate the information in it.


Good points, well made, Jenny. I'll try me best to get hold of a copy. Of course, my reservations aren't for such well-trained trainers ... it's the unintended consequences arising from the very concept that wild animals can/should be used for our transient pleasure by 'taming' their natural behaviours and shaping them into some kind of performance scenario.

It encourages the more unscrupulous to justify their own practices. I don't ever again want to hear about bears being 'trained' to dance by making them stand on an electrified surface which has currents passed through it. Or that so-called 'tame' Las Vegas tigers maul their 'trainers' however loving and caring.

It brings up the whole zoo debate as well. And, I must admit to great feelings of ambivalence here, given the fact that I probably wouldn't be so enamoured of all animals without the influence of zoos and, yes, even circuses in my childhood -- way back in the Neanderthal days! ;)

Happily, the laws about animal welfare in zoos and circuses have changed -- though are only stringently enforced in the west. But it's principles that concern me. We live in a society which still values corporate profits above even the extinction of entire species.

I know this is a long way from a book about good practice in wild animal training ... but, hey, that's the meandering beauty of forum posting, innit?!

 
Jenny
156594.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:55 pm Reply with quote

People are more closely related to chimps than chimps are to gorillas.

 
Zebra57
650018.  Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:43 pm Reply with quote

People are most closely related to the bonobo

 
zomgmouse
650136.  Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:05 pm Reply with quote

Gorilla was the first album by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

 
CB27
650320.  Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:20 pm Reply with quote

As mentioned previously on these boards, the word "flange" to mean a group of gorillas was actually invented for the Not the Nine O'Clock News show, but has actually since been used in serious programmes and books because of lazy research.

Gerald would be livid if he knew.

 
suze
650338.  Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:10 pm Reply with quote

Invented, of course, by Mr John Lloyd of this parish - he talks about it at post 210677.

 
Zebra57
650932.  Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:04 pm Reply with quote

I take back what I said obviously Gerald is more closely related to humans than a bonobo. He reminds me about a strange character who drives a clapped out mini


Last edited by Zebra57 on Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:58 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Zebra57
650934.  Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:07 pm Reply with quote

I take back what I said Gerald is obviously a closer relative to a human than a bonobo.

 
djgordy
663569.  Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:54 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
a college in California which trains people to work with exotic animals,


If they taught people how to work with exotic dancers I'd be more interested.

Anywho, I have just discovered from the "Q.I Book of Animal Ignorance" that gorillas. go "woof woof".

Quote:
Real gorillas are shy and peaceful creatures. They are herbivores, eating green plants, and bark.


P90.

OK, I admit it. I put the second comma in. It just amused me.

 
strawhat
665442.  Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:58 pm Reply with quote

We watched the famous video of a young Sir Dave playing with wild Gorillas. They are such beautiful primates. And the wrestling between young males is so reminiscent of human males playing and competing.

 
Zebra57
667471.  Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:05 pm Reply with quote

If you are visiting a zoo take a mirror with you as Gorillas (and other primates) love looking at their reflection. It did not work with Meerkats as they got aggresive/agitated and then disappeared into their burrow.

 
Zebra57
827640.  Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:28 am Reply with quote

Came across this clip on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beCYGm1vMJ0&feature=related

 

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