Is This How the ‘Planet of the Apes’ Begins? Wild Chimps Outwit Human Hunters

POTAGreat, now all we need is some virus to kill all the cats and dogs on the planet, so we start taking primates as household pets and they become smarter. Thanks scientists for helping to create our eventual Ape Overlords. Slippery slope, real slippery slope. Matt Walker writes on BBC Earth News:

Across Africa, people often lay snare traps to catch bushmeat, killing or injuring chimps and other wildlife. But a few chimps living in the rainforests of Guinea have learnt to recognise these snare traps laid by human hunters, researchers have found.

More astonishing, the chimps actively seek out and intentionally deactivate the traps, setting them off without being harmed.

The discovery was serendipitously made by primatologists Mr Gaku Ohashi and Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa who were following chimps living in Bossou, Guinea to study the apes’ social behaviour.

Snare injuries to chimps are reported at many sites across east and west Africa where chimps are studied, with many animals dying in the traps.

However, very few snares injuries have been reported among chimps studied at Bossou, which is unusual as the chimps live close to human settlements and snares are commonly laid in the area.

Now primatologists know why.

While researching the chimps, Mr Ohashi and Prof Matsuzawa, of the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University, Japan, observed five male chimps, both juvenile and adult, attempting to break and deactivate snares.

On two occasions witnessed, the chimps successfully deactivated the traps set for them.

Read More: BBC Earth News

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