Sunday, September 23, 2012

Animal Payback

How it All Began

Skippy Gets Even

   Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.
   John Ndayambaje of the  Karisoke Research Center carefully combed the forest terrain for hidden snares left by poachers hunting, if you can call it that, for antelope and other animals. Bush-meat hunters set thousands of the things, which work by tying a noose to a branch or a bamboo stalk, then using the rope, they pull the branch downward, bending it. They then use a  stick or rock to hold the noose to the ground, keeping the branch tense. The noose is camouflaged with vegetation, and the trap is set. When an animal moves the stick or rock, the branch springs upward, closing the noose around the prey and trapping it until the hunters return.
   Ndayambaje spotted one on the ground near some brush a few feet away, but before he could move to disarm it he heard Vubu grunt loudly, the elder silverback mountain gorilla cautioned him to stay away.
   Suddenly two four year old gorillas, a male named Rwema and a female named Dukore, rushed out of the brush running toward the snare. Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.
   The two soon found another trap nearby and destroyed that one as well.
   Usually a moderately sized gorilla can free themselves from devices such as these, but a few days ago a younger gorilla had been caught in one of these snares and could not free itself and subsequently dislocated its shoulder and gangrene had set in after the ropes cut deep into it's leg. It died from it's injuries.
   "This is absolutely the first time that we've seen juveniles doing that ... I don't know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares," said Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund's Karisoke Research Center, located in the reserve where the event took place.
   "We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas ... so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that," Vecellio added.
   This was merely the beginning.
   Two weeks later three men reported to local police officials in Musanze the disappearance of five of the colleagues upon a... stroll, through the nearby national park.
   Of course the police knew the three were poachers who had a long history of harvesting within the boundaries of the park sanctuary. Once told they would not be prosecuted for any current malfeasance the men were all to eager to supply a truthful account of what happened.
   Once in the park the eight gentlemen separated in order to check the many traps they had previously set.  
   One of the men named Vedaste seemed genuinely frightened as he recounted his tale.
   "It was getting dark when we got there," he recounted. "I came up to one of our traps and it was sprung but with no animal inside. I found three more just like that, and called out to my friend Hamza what I had found. He shouted back that he had discovered five just as I had. I looked over at him just as he bent to examine a sixth trap, when I heard him yell out as he was suddenly whipped into the air feet first and into the trees. He screamed for a minute of two then fell silent. I was astonished and ran over to where he had been standing when I heard two of my other friends, Philbert and Ishimwe call out just as Hamza had, and then they to were silent. And then we heard it..."
   "Heard what?"
   "Laughing? Who was laughing?"
   "You don't understand. It wasn't human laughter. It sounded more like animals laughing... the, the monkeys, monkey laughs, the Berengei, the apes... they were laughing at us."
   "Could you see who was laughing at you?"
   "No, we could see nothing. But the forest was filled with their insane cries..."
   "What happened then?"
   "We ran! Ran until we could run no more. Just the three of us got out."
   Accordingly an expedition was sent to investigate. None of the missing men were found but upon examination of several of the snares left by the Bush hunters a second, stronger trap had been set buried beneath the one the hunters had set. When a good sized log was thrown on top of one of them it was instantly seized by a coil made of vines and projected out of sight into the forest canopy overhead.
   When police approached more of the traps a guttural sound was heard nearby and Vubu was seen in the bush starring at them, as in the picture above. The great ape waved one of its mighty fingers at the investigators and shook its head.
   The police took the hint and moved out.
   Reported incidents of poaching in the park have significantly decreased lately. Unfortunately disease and deforestation still remain the greatest threats to these magnificent creatures.
   Ever since 1879 when Thomas Edison accidentally discovered that dogs had been deceiving mankind for millenia by pretending to be dumb, and in doing so lived the easy life with humans happily looking after their every need (Mitt Romney's 47%, but in this case 100%), as documented by Kurt Vonnegut, humans have suspected something strange was going on with our animal cousins. In this report Edison's dog Sparky is tested with his latest invention, an intelligence analyzer, and measured higher than Edison himself. Found out, Sparky tells Tom to try a carbonized cotton thread as a filament in his light bulb in exchange for keeping his secret. Unfortunately for Sparky, other dogs had been listening at the door to Edison's lab, and he was torn apart upon exiting.
   With extinction rates climbing (some scientists estimate that up to half of presently existing species may become extinct by 2100) significantly due to human activity (habitat loss, climate change, etc.) it seems animals are getting fed up. 
   Within the last year 428 cases of fishermen being pulled out of their boats, or off of piers, into the water never to be seen again have been reported. It appears the crabs are fighting back as the Wizard and Time Bandit boats from the Discovery Channels "Deadliest Catch," are missing at sea, presumably sunk. Kangaroo hunters in the Australian outback armed with rifles were unpleasantly surprised when the aggrieved marsupials began shooting back! (2nd clip above) Hunters in the state of Virginia, and other parts of the country are being forced to wear flak jackets while practicing their "sport" as they have increasingly become the targets rather than the targetees while attempting to shoot game.
   "I don't know how they're gett'en em," Anslo Chipsky of Dumfries, VA, told American Hunter Magazine. "But my brother Jethro was taken out by a white-tailed buck carrying a Winchester Super X Pump. It's a battleground out there."
   Instances of birds attacking humans have been coming out of California since the 1960's. The entire town of Bodega Bay was inundated by hoards of ravens, seagulls, and red-billed woodpeckers in 1963. Several deaths were reported.
   Just last night a two hour documentary appeared on the Sci Fi Channel concerning the assault of camel spiders (Solifugae) upon human kind.
   Little bunnies have turned carnivorous, zebras are attacking, lions take the offensive, grey whales are luring sightseers in close only to devour them,  misfit humans have been documented to be in league with rampaging rodents sending them on missions of mass destruction. Foxes have given new meaning to the term "Fox hunting." Why even lovely case manager Erin and myself were set upon by ferocious, venom filled, web spinners until we displayed our ASPCA membership cards.
   Animals are making it perfectly clear, they're mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore!
   As a young man I've fished upon occasion, usually in the company of older men like my father who cherished the activity.
   I don't fish anymore.
   Just imagine being a fish, swimming along, minding your own business, maybe a little hungry and looking for a tasty morsel for lunch. Not too far away you see a worm floating along and you eat it only to be hooked through your jaw by a large metal spear and to be pulled out of your world, the only one you've ever known, and into the air where you begin to suffocate and die.
   I eat fish to this day and I suppose that fishing for the purpose of consumption is a fairly consistent rational for continuing the practice.
   I have never hunted. Going out into the wilderness to shoot animals that do not share your technological advantage (having a gun) doesn't seem like much of a sport to me. It seems rather cruel in fact, and decidedly unmanly. Still, I suppose man is just carrying on an ancient tradition carried down by our ancestors over many hundreds of thousands of years, who hunted out of necessity.
   But our ancestors didn't have guns.
   And if it is deemed an acceptable practice to go out and shoot and kill animals which for all intents and purposes are virtually defenseless, then we can't really complain very much whenever they decide to fight back.
   And you never know. One day the circumstances could change and our animal friends may get  the advantage, so be nice to your pets, your doggies, cats, and goldfish. They may put in a good word for you in the future.
   Don't hunt big game animals just to have your picture taken with their lifeless carcasses, or cut off their heads and mount them on your wall. Don't catch and release fish in our streams. It's a form of torture.
   Because the animals are watching and keeping track, probably when you least suspect it..
   Don't think that they aren't.

No comments:

Post a Comment