International Monkey Day
From the perspective of Gut Aiderbichl
(by Gisela Pschenitschnig)
The 14th of December - International Monkey Day
Every year on the same date, the international day of honour for gorillas, chimpanzees and all other ape species takes place. Primates are biologically the closest relatives of humans, and chimpanzees are among them. They are fantastic animals that belong to the mammals and whose DNA is 98% identical to that of humans. Monkeys are found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Africa and Asia. Their preferred habitat is trees, which are ideal for building roosts.
Our ancestors are
threatened with extinction...
The human success story began in Africa just under seven million years ago. With many, many intermediate stages, today's man emerged from this and soon conquered the entire globe.
Wild-caught animals are still brought to the experimental laboratories of America and China to research medicines. When young, healthy animals are captured for the experiments, between 15 and 20 adult monkeys are killed each time in order to reach the protected young animals. The animals are separated from their mothers, torn from their familiar environment and put into cramped, far too small cages. They are then used for research until the animals' health is at an end and they have to be euthanised. Unfortunately, there are still chimpanzees that have to "perform" in the circus.
What is the difference
between monkey and human?
In intelligence - says man. Only humans are smart enough to build and use tools. For a long time, science agreed on this. But then an orangutan on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo was observed lurking motionless on the shore with a spear-like wooden stick. Suddenly, he thrust it. He was hunting fish - and he knew what he was doing. Thus, the orangutan had signalled that it could think, plan and execute an action.
The ex-lab chimpanzees of Gut Aiderbichl
31 ex-lab monkeys live protected and peaceful lives at Gut Aiderbichl Gänserndorf, Lower Austria. Michael Aufhauser dared to take a huge step more than ten years ago: "...I don't really know yet how it will go. But you must not die...You should be allowed to live!" - In many talks and lectures, Michael Aufhauser repeatedly recounted his feelings and impressions when he was able to look the ex-lab monkeys in the eye for the first time. Outdoor enclosures were planned and built, the ex-lab monkeys should also be able to move around outdoors. One person who accompanied him on this journey was Jane Goodall, the wonderful and great behavioural scientist and friend of the monkeys.
Our rescued lab chimps lived in decades of isolation in the experimental lab and we adopted them severely traumatised. In particular, those who had been captured as babies in the jungles suffered the most. They had witnessed their mothers and family members die in a hail of bullets from the wildlife trappers.
Can animals feel, can monkeys think? These are questions that have no meaning when you observe and get to know our ex-lab monkeys, for example.
They "ape" us humans, they can be happy, they can look angry, they can plan and destroy or build. Monkeys fall in love - with another monkey or even with the keepers who have lovingly and respectfully looked after them for many years.
When one dies, all are sad
A few weeks ago, Holophernes lay peacefully asleep in his hammock. First, there was excitement in his group, then it came weeks of deep sadness, because he had been their boss and the leader of the group. Holophernes knew every monkey in his group intimately. He was a comfort, a buddy and a friend. He had spent 11 years in the cage and had been used for experiments. Holophernes remains unforgotten in the hearts of the animals and the people who knew him.
"If chimpanzees had words, they could probably talk about feeling, awe and wonder," (Jane Goodall)
Maybe it's about reverence for nature and everything that goes with it. What could monkeys possibly wonder about?
Sincerely, your Gisela
Make an animal sponsorship for our chimpanzees
An animal sponsorship for our chimpanzees is possible from 15 euros per month. As a chimpanzee sponsor you have the exclusive advantage of visiting the Gut Aiderbichl monkey sanctuary. All other advantages can be found HERE.