We adults have a lot to learn about what it means to be human from the simple wisdom of youth -- but mostly, that being human isn't everything.
While on a recent trip with his grandmother to the Sedgwick Country Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, a 6-month-old named Preston made an unlikely new friend in one of the facilities youngest residents -- an equally precocious young chimpanzee.For what lasted several minutes the two primate babies shared a playful moment, apparently unaware of the prejudices of taxonomical distinction. Although the crowd of grown-up onlookers was clearly won-over by the baby human-chimp exchange, one can't help but reflect on the disparity between how the two adorable creatures are regarded.
Sure, debating the merits of keeping intelligent, sentient animals in captivity is nothing new, but so rarely has the protective glass of their enclosures so clearly inhibited a real connection. Sadly, while zoos are certainly effective at rousing interest in our primate cousins, the continual threats against their wild peers from human activity suggests that such captivity may be largely exploitative.
Thanks to the popularity of this video, Preston will no doubt remember the brief moment he befriended a chimp long after he's old enough to be taught why chimpanzees are in zoos and people are not -- but perhaps, like a growing number of others, he won't quite understand why.