|Being a Middle-Aged Chimp No Tea Party|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/02/24 14:59 《英语学习》|
Being a Middle-Aged Chimp No Tea Party<注1>
Aping the tactics of some big employers, theBerlin zoo is to send its middle-aged chimps \into\ early retirement because they are too sluggish and set in their ways ?and German animal lovers are up in arms<注2> about it. Because they no longer amuse the public, the five chimpanzees are to go to China after attempts failed to find a new home for them in Europe. But the fate of Gusta, Lilly, Karel, Pedro and Soko has sparked outrage in the local media. "It's not a very nice thing to do," said Hannelore Dietrich, 77, who has visited the ape house almost every day for the last 20 years. "They're lovely animals even if they don't hop around like they used to. It's a crying shame." Wildlife activists criticized the zoo, saying it wants to bring in younger primates to attract visitors. "They were cute when they were young, but now that they're old they're being heartlessly put out to pasture<注3>," said Daniela Freyer, spokeswoman for animal rights \group\ Pro Wildlife. The 158-year zoo, the oldest in Germany and one of the best known in Europe, said it needs more room for its gorillas and pygmy chimps, which are more lively and have produced offspring recently. The zoo has a total of 342 apes. Peter Rahn, scientific head of the zoo, rejected charges the animals were being "fired" because of their age. He said the Berlin chimps, between the ages of 14 and 24, were still fit for their ages and could live to 45 or 50. True to form<注4>, the chimps themselves failed to react to the furor, even at feeding time, with 24-year-old Gusta dozing on a perch and 22-year-old Karel lying inert nearby. "It's a sad story," said bus driver Rainer Seibt, 59. "But on the other hand if the chimps just sit around doing nothing, that's not good either. We've all got to earn our keep."
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