Sort of old by current standards of blogging, but I saw a report that sloth bears recently attacked and ate a macaque (a type of monkey) at a zoo in the Netherlands. All by itself, that’s somewhat unusual, as zoo animals are typically separated from each other and well enough fed and cared for that predatory behavior is unnecessary. Still, bears will sometimes do what bears do, and the food chain still being operational in nature, it’s not wholly unexpected that even animals in captivity will sometimes kill and eat other animals.
What interests me, though, is that the headline reads “Zoo visitors watch bears kill, eat monkey” as though the human onlookers have some particular importance to the story. I suppose they do, considering that the animals are kept in galleries on display for our amusement. There was apparently nothing amusing about witnessing nature in action, and zoo visitors were horrified by the bears’ behavior and the macaque’s shrieking resistance.
I wouldn’t want to see an animal attack, either, but also I wouldn’t be horrified by it. Predation is, after all, only natural. If the general public knew about or watched what goes on in a slaughterhouse or on a chicken farm so that they can in turn go to KFC or the grocery for their food, they would probably be similarly horrified. It’s worth remembering, I think, that we humans are at the top of the food chain, and therefore, the biggest predators in all of nature.