Philadelphia Zoo will close Elephant Exhibit, America's "Oldest Zoo" announced Thursday - becoming the 11th zoo in the US to stop displaying elephants since the Detroit Zoo made such a decision two years ago. Is this officially a trend yet?
Sometimes it takes the great Dustbuster of fate to clear the room of bullies and bad habits. Among a troop of savanna baboons in Kenya, a terrible outbreak of tuberculosis 20 years ago selectively killed off the biggest, nastiest and most despotic males... With that change in demographics came a cultural swing toward pacifism, a relaxing of the usually parlous baboon hierarchy, and a willingness to use affection and mutual grooming rather than threats, swipes and bites to foster a patriotic spirit. "And if baboons can do it, why not us? The bad news is that you might have to first knock out all the most aggressive males to get there." Wishful thinking from nerdy academics, or a harbinger of our future?
Little Joe waited at the bus stop before continuing his bid to escape the authorities. The 300-pound gorilla had just broken out of his Franklin Park Zoo enclosure for the second time in two months, overcoming a newly-installed electric fence, injuring two people and terrifying others. The gorilla was hit with four tranquilizer darts but had managed to pull at least one of them out. Little Joe's namesake reminds us that we've known for at least 70 years that big apes in the middle of cities can cause major problems. Why are they still there?
Pigs aren't the only animals getting cosmetic surgery: Cows in dairy shows are getting all manner of 'boob jobs' in a practice some compare to primping for the Miss America Pageant. "People really hate it when I compare cows to humans, but it's kind of the same," says one dairy farmer. Let's ignore the potential danger to human health of injecting stuff like silver directly into udders. My question is: Is there really such a wide gulf between Western culture's obsession with womens' breasts and and our refusal to wean ourselves, unlike the rest of the world, from milk?