Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chimps, apes get a little respect

This was nice to see. Research chimps owned by the National Institutes of Health are being retired from lab work and moved into supportive, pleasant sanctuaries. This will affect approximately 450 chimps. The plan is to keep about fifty chimps on call, just in case there's a medical emergency and we need them for research. But there will be extensive discussion -- including public input -- before any are returned to the lab for experimentation. Basically, the chimps are movin' on out. It's about time.

And now for something completely different. With the help of Orangutan Outreach and the Apps for Apes program, apes at 13 American zoos are playing with iPad apps -- drawing, listening to music, whatever. Apparently, they like their apps as much as we like ours. (And they're looking for iPad donations, if you can help out.) The lesson, in case it's not obvious, is that these primates differ from us only in degree. Same idea, different model.

It's nice to see our extended family respected like this, especially in the case of animals who've "worked" for us. I hope to see many more stories like this.