In the News: Monkeys Making News... Charlie the Chain-Smoking Chimp

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Monkeys Making News... Charlie the Chain-Smoking Chimp

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He has learned to smoke by picking up the discarded cigarette butts that visitors have tossed into his cage.

Zookeepers are trying to get Charlie to kick the habit. "It looks funny to see a chimp smoking," according to a zoo spokesman, and so the zoo is having difficulty getting visitors to stop contributing to his habit by tossing him more cigarettes. And Charlie isn't helping. He hides his cigarettes when the zoo workers are around (Associated Press report, April 22, 2005).

Capuchin Cop?
Officer Sean Truelove of the Mesa, Arizona, Police Department wants a new partner: a capuchin monkey. The officer, who builds and operates tactical robots for the SWAT team, feels that the three- to eight-pound primate with tiny, humanlike hands could be trained to unlock doors, search buildings and find suicide victims.

The Kevlar-clad monkey, wearing a tiny video camera and two-way radio, would be able to get into places no robot or human officer could go, and would "change the way we do business," he said. He's trying to raise $100,000 to buy and outfit the monkey, which he would train and keep at home the same way K-9 officers keep their canine partners.

Capuchins have been trained since 1979 to help disabled people with such things as having food served to them, brushing hair, opening doors and turning lights on and off (Associated Press report, April 25, 2005).