Thursday, November 16, 2006

Clever Bonobo Again Triggers Fire Alarm

chimp panbishaPanbanisha the bonobo is up to her tricks again. For the second time in two months, the 20-year-old animal triggered a fire alarm at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa research center.

The trouble started at about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, when Panbanisha wanted to go outside but the staff was too busy to let her out, trust officials said. Panbanisha then apparently lost her temper and pulled the alarm, officials said.

It's a trick Panbanisha initially learned in October when she saw a welder start the alarm. It took her less than a day to learn how to duplicate the excitement.

When the alarm sounded again the next morning, "I went to check on Pan, and she was sitting there next to it with a smile on her face," said lead scientist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh last month.

Savage-Rumbaugh said she explained the danger of such mischief and Panbanisha promised not to do it again.

Panbanisha is one of seven bonobos at the Great Ape Trust and was among the first group to arrive in April 2005. Bonobos are one of the most human-like of the great apes and have sophisticated language skills.

Trust spokesman Al Setka said there are fire alarms throughout the center. The one Panbanisha triggered was about the level of a light switch and had a pull handle, he said.

Trust officials said they will cover the alarms to prevent a third prank from Panbanisha.


Story here.

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