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March 03, 2009


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oh! LOVE both these stories! Very hard to believe otter & bowerbird were not just trying to blow people's minds. I realize that is not scientific.

Susan McCarthy

Well, talking of blowing people's minds -- or blowing them away -- the latest issue of the San Francisco Zoo's newsletter has just arrived. It has long-time keeper Tony Colonnese's account of the time the chimpanzee Tallulah escaped.

She went to the snack bar, which must have been taunting her for a long time, and ate candy and pink popcorn.

Keepers rushed to the scene along with Doc, the zoo vet. Doc leaned over the counter and aimed a "tranquilizer rifle" at Tallulah. She grabbed the barrel, snatched the rifle away, swung it around, brought it up to her shoulder, and pointed it at the keepers "in perfect imitation of Doc's posture."

"Keepers were diving into flower beds and running for cover" as she advanced.

Finally her own keeper persuaded her to give up the gun and they walked back to the chimp grotto together.

I do wish the story gave us more background on Tallulah's experience with rifles, tranq rifles, and spaghetti Westerns. And more about her sense of humor.

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