In case you needed any more evidence that chimpanzees don’t want to be locked up in zoos, a chimpanzee named Santino in a Swedish zoo has been collecting hundreds of stones to throw at zoo visitors. On many mornings, Santino calmly gathers rocks into a pile, waits until the zoo opens, and then uses them to dispel the crowd of gawkers surrounding his enclosure.
Can you blame him? If I’d been snatched from my family and forced to live on public display, I’d probably start throwing things too. Santino has also been observed tapping on concrete boulders to find weak spots and breaking off loose chunks to add to his arsenal.
Researchers say that Santino is demonstrating the ability to plan and think about the future. We thought this was already obvious, but some people persist in the mistaken belief that animals act only on “instinct,” while we humans always act with intelligence. Well, guess what? Chimpanzees are clearly intelligent, and yet they are still bred and raised to be shown off in zoos, circuses, and other forms of so-called “entertainment.” What will it take for these animals to get the respect that they deserve?
Written by Lianne Turner