Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Release the simians

Monkeys were on the loose in Edinburgh Zoo yesterday. In Chester Zoo, two days ago, a bunch of chimps were running free after they escaped from Monkey Island. If there isn't a film called Escape From Monkey Island, there should be. Is there something in the air? Some sort of simian revolution? Sleepy keepers? Whatever it is, I'm all for it. I know monkeys and such can be dangerous when they find their freedom, but it's understandable. They would surely be expected to take a little time to adapt to their new society. Learn that is unacceptable to throw your faeces at others, stand to one side on escalators, etc.

Once I've found out a little more, I hope to release some monkeys in the shop. They would have to be of a smaller genus. Maybe capuchins. If this is some new movement, I want Mr Wood's Fossils to be involved.

Near where the fossil show is in France, there is a tourist attraction called Montagne des Singes. Monkey Mountain. Reassuringly, the name says it all. These forward thinking French folk have fenced off the top of a hill and filled it with macaques. Once you have paid, you can have a handful of unseasoned popcorn and enter the world of the monkeys. Once in, the rules are much like those of stripclub (so I hear). They can touch you; you can't touch them. I've been a couple of times. It's great. If you go, it's best to hold one piece on the flat of your outstretched hand and wait patiently. Don't charge at them, screaming, throwing handfuls of popcorn in their faces. They react badly. I'm talking about monkeys, here, not strippers. Just to be clear.

I should also point out that there is a worthy ethic behind the mountain. It's a breeding program that has steadily been re-introducing the animals into areas where their numbers have dwindled in the wild. It's been pretty successful so far.

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