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Being a Middle-Aged Chimp No Tea Party1

发表于2004/9/15 8:55:00  457人阅读

猿到中年

Being a Middle-Aged Chimp No Tea Party1

Aping the tactics of some big employers, the Berlin 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 arms2 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 pasture3," 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 form4, 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."

1. no tea party:不容易的,不轻松的。英国人喜欢在下午请朋友喝茶,举办tea party(茶会)。这类非正式的聚会气氛通常是轻松愉快的,因此“no tea party”意味着某事不可以轻松应付,不是什么好玩的事情。

2. up in arms:竭力反对。

3. put out to pasture:放牧;(被迫)退休。

4. true to form:同以往一样。

柏林动物园仿效某些大公司的做法,打算让年届中年的黑猩猩提前退休,因为它们行动太过迟缓,而且这种状态已成定型。德国的动物爱好者对此竭力反对。这5只分别名为古斯塔、莉莉、卡瑞尔、佩德罗和索科的黑猩猩即将被送往中国,因为它们已不再能逗观众开心了。此前柏林动物园曾打算在欧洲其他地方给它们找个新家,不过没有成功。黑猩猩们的遭遇在当地媒体激起了公愤。77岁的汉尼洛尔·迭特里奇在过去20年里差不多每天都要去参观动物园的猿猴馆,她说:“这样做很不好,尽管它们不再像过去那样蹦蹦跳跳了,但它们仍然很可爱。这简直是奇耻大辱。”野生动物保护者也对动物园提出了批评,说他们是打算引进年轻一些的猿猴以吸引游客。动物权益组织“支持野生动物”的女发言人达涅拉·弗雷耶尔说:“它们年轻的时候很可爱,现在它们老了,就被人们无情地抛弃。”有158年历史的柏林动物园是德国最古老的动物园,也是欧洲最著名的动物园之一。他们解释说此举是为了给园里的大猩猩和小黑猩猩腾出更多的地方,这些猩猩们更加活跃,而且刚刚产了仔。柏林动物园共有342只猿猴。该园科学主管彼得·拉恩否认这些黑猩猩是因为年龄而遭“解雇”。他说,这些14到24岁之间的黑猩猩健康状况良好,能够活到45至50岁。同往常一样,这些黑猩猩自己对外界的这些激烈争论毫无反应。就算是在喂食的时间,24岁的古斯塔还是在栖木上打瞌睡,而22岁的卡瑞尔则懒洋洋地躺在旁边。“这是个悲伤的故事,”59岁的公共汽车司机雷纳·塞特说。“不过从另一方面来说,这些黑猩猩整天呆着无所事事也不好,我们大家都得挣钱糊口呀。”

Remarks:色衰爱弛的故事在人类之间也屡见不鲜,猩猩们的遭遇自然不足为奇。不过有句话说得好:“曾经宝贵的东西,即令已不再宝贵,仍应认真加以保藏。否则,你的损失将是人性情愫方面的。”

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