One of my rules for this blog is that when I come across a video of bear cubs wrestling in the street in Yosemite National Park, I have to provide a link to that video. My goodness, this is cute.
I”ve started a movement. I’ve never started a movement before, but anyone who knows me won’t be surprised I’m leading the way on a new effort to bring a honey badger to Oklahoma City. And I’m willing to tattoo myself for the cause.
A honey badger, also known as a ratel, is a species related to weasels that lives mostly in Africa and the Middle East. Adult males can reach 35 pounds, but what makes this creature special is it compensates for its small size with an unparalleled vicious demeanor. It has been named by the Guiness Book of World Records as The Most Fearless Animal on the Planet. It is known to fight off leopards, lions and other large predators despite its small size and often feeds on extremely venomous snakes like cobras and adders. As its name implies, it is also fond of honey. It feeds on honey and bee larvae despite having no immunity to bee stings. It merely takes whatever the bees can dish out while it raids their hives.
I first saw a National Geographic documentary about the honey badger about 10 years ago when I was in college. It immediately became my favorite animal and the mascot of all of my fantasy sports teams. Recently, the honey badger has become a bit of an online craze because of a Youtube video using some clips of the National Geographic documentary with humorous and profane commentary by a guy named Randall. This video has more than 17 million views. As a long time fan of the honey badger, I could not be happier about its newfound fame.
I got to thinking the other day that it is time the Oklahoma City Zoo added a honey badger to its collection. So I started a Facebook page for the cause and began amassing supporters. I’m not totally sure what would need to be done to make this happen, but I figure building a groundswell of support is a good start. I’m willing to raise money for the cause, and I hope I can convince zoo officials that a honey badger would be a welcome addition in Oklahoma City.
To help promote the effort, I have pledged to get a honey badger tattoo on my upper left arm when my Facebook page amasses 500 likes. If you want to see a honey badger in Oklahoma City, or if you’d just like to see me tattoo a picture of a 35-pound weasel on my arm, join the movement now.
Viva Honey Badger!
- Staff Writer Bryan Dean
Film director Cameron Crowe has a film coming out soon called, We Bought a Zoo, that features all kinds of wild animals. Well, that has at least one Oklahoman ticked off. Bob Ingersoll, the president of the Newcastle-based Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary, sent this letter to Crowe.
September 20, 2011
Cameron Crowe, Director
We Bought a Zoo
Dear Mr. Crowe,
My name is Bob Ingersoll. You may have heard of the recent documentary Project Nim, by Academy Award winners James Marsh and Simon Chinn. In part, the film chronicles my relationship with Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee. I met Nim in September of 1977 and became a lifelong advocate for him and other captive primates and continue to do that work to this day. For almost 15 years now, I’ve served as president of Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary in Newcastle, Oklahoma, where we provide a permanent home for almost 100 monkeys, many of whom come from situations similar to Crystal’s.
By now you’ve read the several other letters explaining why it is a bad idea to use live monkeys in movie projects. I don’t need to reiterate what my colleagues have written in their letters, except perhaps to point out that your use of Crystal perpetuates a problem that we have been trying to both bring to an end and provide a solution for, for many years. And I’ll add that in my opinion, computer-generated imaging has made using live animals entirely unnecessary and hopefully soon obsolete.
In my experience, monkeys that come to us from entertainment and pet situations are the most difficult to resocialize with members of their own species, since they’ve had little or no social experience with other monkeys. Being around humans may be fun and cute and entertaining for the humans, but it’s psycholo-gically devastating for the animal. The laughs for the brief moment in a movie or television show are not worth the suffering that animal generally will have to endure. Also, it is not unheard of for entertainment animals to end up in invasive medical research when their entertainment days are through, often in a few short years. The people that make a buck on the use of their animals for entertainment seldom have qualms about making a buck on them when they outlive their cute stage and enter the dangerous stage.
Another problem is that use of monkeys in movies stokes the public’s desire to own a monkey as a pet, thereby perpetuating more sales of captive primates. These monkeys are sold to people who are unequipped to provide for the magnitude of care needed for a primate’s physical and mental well-being over the decades of the monkey’s life. A capuchin can live to be 50 years of age. That’s a long time. Neeko spent eight years in a dog carrier, in a diaper, in an apartment. Abu ended up in a windowless tool shed in a backyard for a number of years before he was rescued by us. There are many more examples at our sanctuary alone, but you get the point. The bottom line is, using monkeys in entertainment ultimately just leads to many more monkeys in bad situations.
Capuchin monkeys are social animals, and they deserve the opportunity to live their lives as the monkeys they are, with members of their own species. They shouldn’t have to spend their lives being trained to do tricks for humans’ entertainment.
Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like. My number is (415) 609-4856; e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Ingersoll, President
Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary
On Saturday September 10th, 2011, Norman Police canine, Pablo, died suddenly from natural causes. Pablo was a commissioned 8 year old German Shepard Norman police dog. Pablo and his handler, Sergeant Kellee Robertson, were assigned to the Special Investigations Division as a drug interdiction team. Throughout his career Pablo was responsible for the seizure of 3.54 pounds of cocaine, 42.7 grams of crack cocaine, 301.5 pounds of marijuana, 3.66 pounds of methamphetamine , and $272,886 us currency. Street value of the drugs is $323,770.00. Pablo was a very social dog and in addition to his interdiction duties, he was our lead canine for community interaction. Pablo performed many demonstrations to school children throughout the community as well as Leadership Norman and Tomorrow’s Leaders. A memorial service for Pablo will be planned in the near future.