Nobody wants to live in captivity, and a new video from China shows just what can happen when an intelligent animal held captive in a zoo has too much time on its hands and little to do.
Such was the case on August 20, when visitors to Zhengzhou Zoo in China’s Central Henan Province were treated to the impressive sight of a Colombian white-faced capuchin monkey using a sharp-edged rock to break down a glass wall of its enclosure, according to the People’s Daily.
Much to the visitors’ surprise—and that of the little monkey, as well—it only took a couple focused blows with a sharpened rock to quickly shatter the glass wall into thousands of small shards. The monkey itself quickly retreated after the deed was done.
The video is a clear sign of the intelligence of primates, who enjoy being held in captivity no more than we humans would.
The Daily Mail reports a tourist named Wang as saying:
“The monkey was sharpening the stone, then it started hitting it on the glass.
The monkey scared itself away, but it came back to take another look and even touched it.”
Tian Shuliao, a member of the zoo staff, told local news outlets that capuchin monkeys are generally adept when it comes to the use of tools:
“This monkey is unlike other monkeys. This one knows how to use tools to break walnuts. When we feed walnuts to other monkeys, they only know to bite it.
But it had never hit the glass before though. This is the first time. It’s toughened glass, so it would never have got out.”
Various species of primates are able to use tools, including chimpanzees who use stone tools and can even craft spears for use against their enemies. Crows, eagles, dolphins, and sea otters are also capable of using tools to fend for themselves in the animal kingdom, either for the sake of defending themselves or to crack open hard coverings such as shells to reach the tasty, fleshy morsels inside.
Sadly, the capuchin residing at Zhengzhou Zoo has been left to discover new ways to entertain itself—according to zoo staff, all potential stone “tools” have been removed from the enclosures and patrols have been stepped up to prevent what may have been a sneaky escape attempt.