(of course, triggered by Harambe's death) I was pondering about how we treat Great Apes (thanx to Willard for supplying me with news-clippings while I was off computer). taking in consideration: 50s and before: no understanding of behaviour and needs, mini-cages 60s: trying to humanize, language (wrong approach!!!), pharmaceutical guinea pigs 70-80s: slow understanding of their mindset [check the women-triad], still pharmaceutical guinea pigs 90s onwards: better exhibitions, better food, etc ..trying to get them off labs/ circuses/ film-industry (as well, you have to take in consideration the thread-initiators personal opinion: we are not the prime of creation, humans are not an endangered species!) _________________ IMHO, keeping of Great Apes in Zoos is prone to get (or already is) problematic! - the ones in zoos, and especially the zoo-borns, are not fit to be set into the wild! - the trend in the new millenium goes to hands-off policy (=bad!!) - insurance policies for workers are bad for apes! ______________ I don't know how it is for other countries, but in Germany work-insurance gets massively in the way of great ape needs! We desperately need to find a compromise between work-insurance and ape-habituation in zoos. Going back to earlier days: handling was more spontaneous, no insurance/law/health policies = apes were habituated to keepers = less stress if an ape wandered out of the exhibition! I always use the example of a soldier: if you sign up for the army, you are well aware you could die, or come back without a few limbs. You know that before you sign up! If you are a keeper of "dangerous" animals, why aren't the prerequisites the same? You only would sign up, if you are dedicated enough, and you are aware of the consequences! ___________________ There are a few zoos that are trying to get apes back into the wild. I admire the idea, but unless the situation in the countries, native to great apes, changes, I have not much hope. Will say, we have to integrate Great Apes into our lives. Or, adapt their needs to our handling. - talk to them, talk until there's no tomorrow, they are intelligent enough to understand, even if they can't reply - yes, hug them, even if it means broken ribs to you! And tell them about your broken ribs! They are intelligent enough to understand that humans are fragile! - let them see the zoo, when no visitors are around! They will find their way back home (= to safety) better, if they know where they are! My personal favourites are Gorillas, and I can f.ex. -among other things- already see a new generation of gorilla-dads! They don't have the plight of getting the troup safe, so they can dedicate a bunch of their time to play-educating of toddlers, more than in nature. Will say, apes can learn! They can learn that, if in the ape-house, different rules apply than if they walk around in the "human parts" of the zoo!