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The incredible case of the gorilla that was raised as a child more

The incredible case of the gorilla that was raised as a child more

June 6, 2023

The history of humanity has been full of examples in which the human being has forcibly subjugated parts of nature by mere caprice. Sometimes the excuse of satisfying the basic needs of the population to destroy ecosystems and exploit animals has not been needed.

The story of a gorilla named John Daniel is a reminder of that. For years, he grew up living with a family settled in Uley, a town located in southern England. There, this primate was raised as a child more .

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John, the gorilla who had tea at 4

It has long been known that great apes, such as gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees, have a level of intelligence that makes them prone to learn many of human customs. This fact, together with the exoticness of having a gorilla at home as a sign of distinction and social position, is what made in 1917 a baby gorilla was sold to the mayor of London for £ 300 at the time.

John was born in the jungle of Gabon, but after being captured by the same men who killed his parents, his only function became ornamental, an entertainment.

During their first year living together among humans, the gorilla John Daniel began to learn quickly Behavior patterns related to good manners and etiquette that you would expect from a high class child.

When Alyse Cunningham, a relative of the mayor of London, happened to take charge of John, this one was transferred to a small town called Uley. There he would put into practice what would learned and would mix with boys and girls from the neighborhood.

A new home: Uley

John Daniel quickly became the center of attention in the entire neighborhood. John was a wild animal in the eyes of everyone, and no one would have been surprised if he had attacked someone in an attack of unexpected rage. However, the gorilla proved to be incredibly peaceful and friendly.

Although it already had a considerable size and outweighed all children of its age, his way of life was full of refinement . She learned to make her bed, wash herself, help with some household chores and walk with the little ones, who greatly appreciated her company.

In fact, Alyse Cunningham took him as a companion to high society dinners, and he also attended meetings with him to take tea with his friends.

John David seemed to meet all expectations of what was expected of him as a pet and as entertainment. But ... would human beings fulfill their roles as John's protectors? Not for much longer.

The abandonment and return to the cage

As much as his behavior conformed to the demands of the people around him, John was still a gorilla, and that could not change him. He continued to grow at a great speed, and arrived at a point where, due to its size and weight, it was very difficult to maintain him.

That's why Alyse Cunningham decided to give it to a residence where she was careful. However, she was tricked, and John ended up being exploited in a circus .

The gorilla's health declined rapidly, and its new owners deduced that it could be a problem caused that he missed Alyse.

This idea caused the circus to write a letter to Mrs. Cunningham, to go there, and the plan took effect: it went there quickly. However, he did not arrive on time: John David died earlier because of respiratory complications in the year 1922 . It is currently dissected and exhibited in the American Museum of Natural History.

There are more cases of primates raised as children

The story of John David is tragic, but it is not the only one of this style. For example, in the 1970s a family decided to raise a baby chimp as if it were just another child and, in the process, try to make it learn an advanced form of sign language.

Nim Chimpsky (name given as clear reference to the linguist Noam Chomsky) grew happy during his childhood, but when he reached adolescence was sent to an animal testing center and never returned to interact with humans in a regime of semi-freedom. Nor did his progress with sign language serve to prevent him from becoming part of the production and marketing machinery.

Similarly, other primates such as Nim and John Daniel have been bred since they were small to learn the fundamentals of the way of life that humans lead in the West . However, when for one reason or another they can no longer relate to their caregivers in semi-freedom, they fall into depressive states quickly.

Getting used to living as a child for a while after moving to a cage is very hard, because of the emotional pain it produces and also because of the lack of physical well-being. The simple fact of Being in isolation can cause health to fall apart , as shown, for example, during Harry Harlow's maternal deprivation experiments.

In any case, the need for affection and quality company is not a uniquely human characteristic, although we often forget it.

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10 Kids Who Were Raised By Wild Animals (June 2023).

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