Baboons at Dutch zoo go “on strike”

The baboons at the Netherlands’ Emmen Zoo are usually pretty boisterous, but the whole colony – 112 animals – has been quiet, sitting around all day and ignoring the zoo’s visitors and the keepers who feed them.

Traumatized and apathetic, they've also had their backs turned to zoo visitors, as if they're on strike.

"For us it's a mystery, it's the fourth time this has happened and we haven't got a clue what could have caused this," biologist Wijbren Landman, a spokesman at Emmen Zoo in the northeastern Netherlands, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "If the leader is upset then the whole colony is upset. The leading men in the group were shocked by something. What it was we don't know."

It started last Monday when the baboons suddenly became hysterical. Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday, one group of baboons sat in a tree and refused to come down, while another group sat on an exposed part of the island in the burning sun. Fortunately, the second group later moved to a shadier location, but remained depressed.

"They didn't even come when the keeper came along with apples. Normally they'd beat Usain Bolt when we bring them apples," said Landman. [Der Speigel]