Wildlife

Czech Zoo Dehorns Rhinos to Ward Off Poachers

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In the wake of a brazen incident of rhino poaching at a French zoo, a Czech zoo that holds the largest number of rhinoceroses of any zoo in Europe is cutting the horns off the at-risk animals.

Přemysl Rabas, director of Dvůr Králové Zoo, announced today (March 21) that the zoo had begun dehorning its herd of 21 rhinos. The first rhino underwent the procedure under sedation yesterday. The intervention took less than 1 hour, and it was performed without any complications.

Chimpanzee Funerary Rites Seen for 1st Time

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In a first, scientists have observed a chimpanzee cleaning the teeth of a dead companion. This postmortem ritual, which was caught on video, hints that humans might not be the only animals to gently attend to their dead. With the care of a mortician, the chimpanzee opened the mouth of her dead companion with her hands. She took a grass tool and poked it between his teeth, seeming to examine and even taste the debris she flossed out.

Scientists now have a growing body of evidence about some unusual animal kingdom mortuary practices. Crows seem to hold vigil over their dead. Elephants, dolphins and whales have been known to stick by their dead companions.

Chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, had also been seen engaging in some mourning behaviors in the past, like returning to,dragging and perhaps even trying to resuscitate corpses. But using tools to clean the dead is something new to science.

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