Ultra-fashionable - Apes as deadly gang recruits ...

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Apes make deadly gang recruits
By Louise Williams

Paris: With pit bull terriers, dobermans and rottweilers under fire from the French authorities, youth gangs in the depressed city suburbs have discovered an alternative way to intimidate their rivals - attack monkeys.

"They're ultra-fashionable," said Didier Lecourbe, a policeman from the suburb of Aubervilliers. "There are dozens of them. Kids take them out on leads, and even carry baby monkeys around in nappies. But these animals can be very dangerous."

Imported illegally through Spain from Gibraltar, Morocco or Algeria, the Barbary apes are known for their powerful limbs, sharp teeth and short tempers. Veterinary experts say they can be turned into frightening and effective weapons.

"They live naturally on rocks or in a desert environment," said Marie-Claude Bomsel of the Natural History Museum in Paris. "Removed from their natural habitat, they can become highly aggressive. They bite, and their favoured method of attack is to hurl themselves at people's heads."

Police believe as many as 500 Barbary apes may have been smuggled into France in the past two years. Bought for about $US45 ($85) each by youngsters visiting their families in North Africa, they sell on the the big housing estates around Paris for up to 10 times as much.

"Now the authorities have cracked down on pit bulls and the rest, apes look like becoming the new weapon of choice," said Officer Lecourbe. "We've heard of monkey fights being run in tower block basements."

Ms Bomsel said the museum had received dozens of telephone calls from owners wanting to know how to deal with violent monkeys, or how to get rid of them. "The zoos don't want to know because apes that have grown up outside their natural environment will not live with others," she said.

A spokeswoman for the society for the protection of animals said it had taken in more than 40 apes in the past 18 months, and its Paris animal homes were full.

The Guardian


Comment: G'Day everybody, just thought a bit of variety might perk up this here forum on a drear Saturday morn in Deepest South OZ..., what with all this tax persiflage why not an ape I ask?

Regards from Down Under - gluggity glug!

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), September 29, 2000


Well Peiter, I spend a lot of time on the internet and that has to be a first. Never heard of that one before. Nice to hear stores from down under. It does, however, remind of some women I have dated. G'Day

-- bill (sticky@2side.tape), September 29, 2000.

Leave it to the French for being trendsetters.

I have a moral dillema question about this. We all know how pitbulls and rottwielers are swiftly dealt with when they attack and injure people. They're taken in by animal wardens and eventually they end up being put to sleep (in many cities and countries at least they are, and I would assume in Paris too). What's so different with those furry mean monkeys that they should be treated differently and be sent to animal "shelters", and even be considered sheltering by zoos?

Racial discrimination, no?

-- (just@wonder.ing), September 29, 2000.

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000925/od/monkeys_dc_1.html Monday September 25 8:20 AM ET Monkeys Pelt Vehicles with Fruit on Highway

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A trio of monkeys threw bananas and crabapples at vehicles on the main interstate highway on the East Coast, a Virginia state police spokeswoman said.

The monkeys, described by police as brownish-gray, skinny and between two and three feet tall, were seen by drivers last Sunday along a stretch of Interstate 95 close to the Virginia-North Carolina border.

No one was injured, though several vehicle windows were smeared with fruit.

Virginia state trooper Mike Scott was alerted to the renegade primates when he noticed a vehicle on the shoulder of I-95 north of the small town of Jarratt, Virginia, around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, according to spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

He saw what looked like a banana smeared on the rear window and when he approached the car, he found the driver with a cellphone in her hand and a strange expression on her face, Geller said.

``You might think I'm crazy, but I think two monkeys threw a banana at my car,'' the driver told Scott.

Interstate 95, which stretches from Maine to Florida, is known for high-speed truck traffic and lengthy areas of congestion, not for marauding monkeys.

The driver said she was a paleontologist who takes pictures of primates and she told Scott, ``I'm pretty sure those were monkeys about a mile south of here.''

Sure enough, a mile to the south, Scott found two more vehicles pulled to the side of the highway's northbound lanes, and a small crowd looking into the trees along the side.

They were searching for the monkeys that hit them.

``And just about that time a crabapple comes out of the trees and hits one of the vehicles,'' Geller said.

Scott then saw the three miscreants, before they ran across the interstate.

He and another trooper pursued them, as the monkeys swung from tree to tree, she said. But the three split up then and the troopers lost them in the underbrush.

-- (like@tb2k.uncensored), September 30, 2000.

This is a great quick-break thread for me. What do you say to releasing all the endangered species in urban areas of the U.S. and sit back and see who wins?

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), September 30, 2000.

Isn't it sort of hard to tell the difference between the monkeys and the gang-bangers? Except that the monkeys probably have enough sense to wear their hats with the bill facing forward. Maybe this is how Planet of the Apes gets started.

-- Anthropologist (MissAntrhrop@sociologists.r.us), October 01, 2000.

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