Friday, January 13, 2006

Lions love human flesh and gangster glue sniffing monkeys.

Nature: I no longer trust wild animals, getting a bit too smart for their own good.

Reuters: Lions in the area have developed a taste for human flesh because people have been sleeping outdoors to protect their crops from raiding bushpigs, which the cats follow onto croplands, a leading expert said. "In Tanzania in the early 1990s there were about 40 recorded lion attacks a year. In the past couple of years they have risen to over 100 and about 70 percent are fatal," said Craig Packer, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota. "The problems are down in southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique, a region which is very remote and very poor," Packer told Reuters in an interview Tuesday. Packer, who has headed the Serengeti Lion Project since 1978, was in Johannesburg for a conference on conservation strategies to save the African lion which also aims to find ways to reduce human-feline conflict. Estimates for the continent's lion population range from 23,000 to 40,000. In southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique, which are contiguous, Packer said there was believed to be around 5,500 lions. This is one of the biggest concentrations of the predator and most of that range is outside of protected areas. BUSHPIG PROBLEM "The region doesn't have a lot of natural prey or a lot of livestock and so as a result, the lions there eat a lot of bushpigs, which is unusual," said Packer. "But the bushpigs are also quite a pest and so the people in those rural areas sleep outside to protect their crops. So it seems that the lions are drawn into the cropland where they encounter sleeping people," he said. And humans are easy prey. "Once they discover that they can eat people they get quite bold. They are even breaking into people's houses and pulling them out," Packer said.
Glue stealing addict monkey going ultraviolent in Cambodia.
Mirror: GLUE SNIFF MONKEYS A CITY police force is struggling to contain a marauding band of terrifying, glue-sniffing "gangster monkeys". Wild macaques have been stealing bags of glue from addicts, getting high and launching attacks in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The crazed beasts have been biting people and stealing laundry. Deputy governor of the city's Daun Penh district Pich Socheata, said: "We have to remove the nasty creatures from the city. They grab glue bags from street kids, climb up into the trees and sniff it up." Officials have so far "detained" 15 macaques.
Drunk pickpocketing monkey in India.
Mirror: THE MONKEY PICKPOCKET IT SOUNDS bananas but a monkey has been pickpocketing locals in an Indian village and using the money to fund his drink habit. Trader Sarathi Pradhan, who's seen the thief at work, says: "He springs on the unwary and grabs at their pockets. He particularly likes paper money." The sly simian, who's thought to have learned the trick from his owner, began his reign of terror last year in Orissa. Since then he has been stealing cash and spending it on booze. "He comes here almost every day, hands over the money and gets his drink," says Ramesh, the owner of the local liquor shop.
Favorite old school Lion vs Hyena story.
BBC: Lions have inflicted heavy casualties on the rival hyenas The lion has again proved itself the king of beasts after a ferocious two-week battle in the Ethiopian desert. Reports from Addis Ababa say a pride of lions killed 35 hyenas and drove off the rest for the loss of six of their own. Ethiopian television showed sand billowing as a lion wrestled with six hyenas, with other lions watching. Police said the rocky area in south-eastern Ethiopia was now firmly under the lions' control. Wildlife experts said that in any sustained conflict the smaller hyenas were always likely to incur more losses - despite possessing jaws which could crunch their way through elephant bones. The two sides had been fighting for territory in Gobele desert, close to the district of Girawa, 450km east of Addis Ababa. Prevailing drought conditions probably played a part in igniting the war. Fierce battles raged every night. During the day the animals took cover in their dens, waiting for the sun to set. The world's most successful predator - man - stayed out of the fight, as the combat zone was far from human settlement.

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