All things weird and wonderful, 23

24 07 2012

Cousins!

Despite Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park being a wildlife refuge, poaching is still a problem. The snares, set by hunters in the region, are intended for antelope and other forms of game, however young apes are known to get accidentally caught in them. While adults are normally strong enough to get out of them, younger apes aren’t so luck and often die. That was what happened to a young infant named Ngwino, who was found too late by workers from Karisoke, and later died of snare-related wounds. Deep lacerations had sliced open her leg and gangrene had set in.  …

On Tuesday tracker John Ndayambaje spotted a trap very close to the Kuryama gorilla clan. He moved in to deactivate the snare, but a silverback named Vubu grunted, cautioning Ndayambaje to stay away. Instead two juveniles—Rwema, a male; and Dukore, a female; both about four years old—ran toward the trap. According to Ndayambaje, “Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.” The pair then spied another snare nearby—one the tracker himself had missed—and destroyed that trap as well. Vecellio believes this wasn’t the first time the young gorillas had performed such teamwork. “They were very confident,” she said. “They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left.”

Remember: gorillas are apes, not monkeys. APES, NOT MONKEYS!

Sorry, pet peeve.

Anyway. Clever critters.

h/t Charles Mudede, The Stranger





We might as well try: Here comes the future and you can’t run from it

24 07 2012

It is terrible not to know all that I want to know, a terribleness only counterbalanced by the pleasure of soaking up what others know.

This is as good a precis for this series as any:

If men have always been concerned with only one task—how to create a society fit to live in—the forces which inspired our distant ancestors are also present in us. Nothing is settled; everything can still be altered. What was done but turned out wrong, can be done again. The Golden Age, which blind superstition had placed behind [or ahead of] us, is in us.

—Claude Levi-Strauss, from Triste Tropiques

Yes, I know Levi-Strauss, but no, I haven’t read him, don’t know if I’ll ever make the time to read him.

But this bit, this bit was worth the time.

h/t John Nichols’s obit for Alexander Cockburn, The Nation