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Thread: Ape returns fingertip to keeper
03-08-07, 11:37 PM #1
Ape returns fingertip to keeper
Ape returns fingertip to keeper
March 8, 2007
In an incident that is both heart-stopping and heartwarming, a pregnant bonobo at the San Diego Zoo bit off the tip of her keeper's index finger Tuesday. But another bonobo rescued the severed tip from her habitat mate and returned it to keepers so it could be re-attached.
The 60-pound pregnant bonobo, also known as a pygmy chimp, was being trained behind the scenes by verbal cues and hand signals to open her mouth for health checkups.
“I guess my fingers got too close to her mouth,” said Mike Bates, the injured senior keeper of the bonobos, a veteran of more than 22 years with the zoo.
After the accident, Lana, the alpha female, heeded her caretakers' signals to retrieve items that don't belong in the enclosure, Bates said. Asserting her authority, she retrieved the fingertip and handed it to keepers, who promptly rewarded her with raisins.
“I had a really good relationship with Lana,” Bates said.
He acknowledged that bonobos are very intelligent but stopped short of suggesting that Lana actually understood what she was doing.
“Luckily she kept it intact. She didn't think it was food,” he added good-naturedly.
Bates was taken to a hospital, where the fingertip, including the fingernail bed, was reattached, with a 70 percent chance that it will heal.
“If it doesn't, my index finger just may be a little bit shorter than the others,” Bates said.
He expects to return to work next week.
Zoo officials theorized that Ikela, the 15-year-old who did the nipping, might not have been feeling well. She also could have been tired of the monitoring of her pregnancy, which is in the first trimester. She has a history of problem pregnancies and stillbirths.
Ikela, born at the Wild Animal Park, lived up to the description accompanying her picture posted outside the zoo's bonobo enclosure near the Treehouse Cafe. It reads: “Ikela is always pushing the limits of 'good behavior.' ”
Lana, the 26-year-old matriarch, likewise, lived up to hers. It says: “She has a strong bond with her caretakers, always wanting their attention.”
Last edited by Willowdared; 03-08-07 at 11:42 PM.Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
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03-08-07, 11:52 PM #2Banned
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Yup, those will do it. Ouch.
Um...btw....if you do a google image search for bonobo, well, seems the most popular pictures aren't of teeth.
03-09-07, 12:08 AM #3
03-09-07, 12:12 AM #4in the warriors code there's no surrender, though his body says stop, his spirit cries...NEVER. deep in our souls, a quiet ember, knows its you against you, its the paradox that drives us all. its a battle of wills, in the heat of attack, its the passion that kills, and victory is yours alone.
the posts and opinions stated by me do not in any way reflect the values, beliefs, or views of my department. they are simply opinions and/or observations which have been developed through my personal experiences. hell, most of the stories probably arent even true...wink wink
03-09-07, 12:17 AM #5
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