Gorillas Outsmart Poachers: Are the Apes Rising?

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Andrew Rich

We’ve been so fixated on the zombie apocalypse that we didn’t even realize the apes were quietly rising. Or, at least, exhibiting signs of intelligence that ought to put their human poachers on edge.

They may not be smart as Caesar, the genetically modified chimp who outsmarts his captors and frees hundreds of research animals in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but gorillas in Rwanda are outwitting potential captors and saving their peers from deadly traps.

According to field staff from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, several young gorillas have been spotted destroying snares that are set to maim and kill wild apes. “Today, two juveniles and one blackback worked together to deactivate two snares and how they did it demonstrated an impressive cognitive skill,” a staff person from the Karisoke Research Center told the Huffington Post. Just two days before, one such snare had severely injured a young ape named Ngwino, who dislocated her shoulder in a desperate attempt to escape. What’s worse, she contracted gangrene from cuts to her leg.

John Ndayambaje, the Fossey Fund field data coordinator, said he saw a group of gorillas nearing a snare, when a silverback called Vuba made a sound of warning. Two juveniles and a blackback responded by running toward the snare and destroying it with their bare hand. They did the same to another snare nearby.

This is only the latest demonstration of ape intelligence documented by researchers. Last year, scientists in Senegal observed chimpanzees using sharpened spears to kill smaller mammals before eating them. In the 1990s, Stanford researchers saw chimps hunting colobus monkeys with their bare hands. And decades of research shows that apes have better memories than college students, learn language through exposure (as human young do), and can be both socially violent and deeply empathic.

Even poop-throwing — that age-old indicator of ape idiocy — is actually a sign of high intelligence; scientists have found that chimps who throw their feces often and accurately tend to be the smartest and best communicators in their group.

So will gorillas soon start trapping their poachers, in a strange reversal of roles? Apparently, they didn’t need all that ALZ-112 after all.

19 comments
Solipsis
Solipsis

Don't let Obama find out that gorillas are intelligent, he'll try and put them on some federal subsidy in exchange for votes.

Michael Mc Carthy
Michael Mc Carthy

Rise of the Apes - and when an Ape finally kills a human poacher or otherwise, th Ape will be hunted down and slaughtered

 

Rusty Shackleford
Rusty Shackleford

You know what this menas?  It means that it's on like Donkey Kong!

nightwatch247
nightwatch247

Does anyone else see the propaganda in this article? It doesn't mention why these "deadly" snares are set by the so-called "potential captors." Seems that the field coordinator who knows the animals by name and was watching as the gorillas were nearing the snare, knew it was there. This is just an attempt to solicit sympathy and support for their program.

Dillard Jenkins
Dillard Jenkins like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'm pulling for the apes, it would be impossible for them to screw up everything on the planet like we humans have. Go monkeys go. 

Solipsis
Solipsis

Self-loathing people are hilarious. Stop being so emo. Don't like the way things are going? You should smash your computer and get a horse.

Blue-eyed Gal
Blue-eyed Gal

They throw their poop because no one's given them internet connections where they can mock, troll, and flame their fell0ws. 

WilPenny
WilPenny

I think the researcher need to quit wasting tax payers money and go get a real job!

Now that is intelligent, do not spend money you do not have.

Blue-eyed Gal
Blue-eyed Gal like.author.displayName 1 Like

This "taxpayer dollars" thing is getting awfully old.

As so often, when that appears in the comments, the actual article shows that a private research foundation is funding the research. I feel the itch to fund a reading comprehension research project, but I think I know what the outcome would be!

R-Cynic
R-Cynic

They must be smart.. they get to spend money someone else doesn't have!

Doobie Brothers
Doobie Brothers

Yea, but can they fix a decent PBJ sandwich?

R-Cynic
R-Cynic

Yes but the PB doesn't stand for what you think it does... ;-p

Albert Gump Kaye
Albert Gump Kaye

Poachers should be jailed with a shit slinging silverback.

jadfeee
jadfeee

OK wow, looks like them guys are having a real good ole time. WOw.

Anon-Get.tk

arugula
arugula

 It was a hallmark of those apes who communicated best.... so shit flinging is pretty clear and direct, doncha think?

rymlianin
rymlianin

sh!t-flinging as a sign of intelligence?  Works for me!

R-Cynic
R-Cynic

Works very well as a signal of disapproval. Thanks to Jane Goodal for teaching me this excellent communication method. ;-p I just ate some high fiber cereal, anyone care to argue?

RWREESE
RWREESE

it's true. look at all the poop Obama has been slinging the last few years

Canadians Buying US Real Estat
Canadians Buying US Real Estat

Good for the apes. I am glad they are learning how to avoid the traps and defend against the inhumane traps the cause such harm.