An endangered monkey chief has been brutally beaten up by his fellow troop members as he can no longer get an erection and is unable to satisfy the female apes.
The shocking case of intra-animal violence happened at Affenwelt (Monkey World), a zoo located just outside the city of Sondershausen in the German state of Thuringia.
Video Credit: CEN/Andre P.
Cornelius, 18, is the leader of the zoo’s troop of 23 Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) who live happily in the large forested terrain of 1.5 hectares exclusively set aside for them.
However, the old ape has seen better times physically, with thinning skin, a hump, hardly any teeth left and now being impotent as well.
Cornelius’ inability to satisfy the nine female apes has now made him a target for his male competitors, who frequently attack him.
Affenwelt chief Silvio Dietzel said: “As soon as a Barbary male can no longer produce offspring, he is useless for the group. Cornelius is only tolerated, no one has respect for him anymore.”
Even when the monkeys are being fed, Cornelius is frequently kicked aside by the other apes.
Dietzel said: “Because his fangs have broken off, he cannot defend himself.”
The violence could also be payback time from some of the other apes as in his heyday Cornelius himself did not shy away from using force against other members of the troop.
Six years ago he incited the entire clan against his rivals resulting in four apes being thrown over a three-meter-high electric fence, after which zoo chief Dietzel spent two full weeks catching the monkeys and bringing them back into the enclosure.
The new hotshot in the group is currently six-year-old playboy Jonas.
Dietzel said: “All the females are at his feet, and that is what counts in the animal kingdom.”
Barbary macaques are found in the wild in Northern Africa and in Gibraltar, and can reach an age of up to 25 years for males and 30 for females. They are listed as an endangered species.
As well as the barbary macaques, the Affenwelt Zoo features a handful of other monkey species, some of which like the lemurs are also part of conservation programmes.
The sometimes cruel animal world was on full display as well earlier this year when British-born bonobo Bili became world news after he was repeatedly beaten up by German apes in his new home at Wuppertal Zoo in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
At a previous encounter poor Bili, who was born in October 2008 in Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, even had a part of his ear bitten off by the German troop.
The repeated attacks on hapless Bili made news headlines across the world with animal lovers even gathering 300,000 signatures calling for Bili to be sent to the ‘Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre’ near Bovington in England.
However, the German zookeepers refused to send Bili away and were proven right in the end when Bili was finally showing signs of having integrated in Germany as he was pictured having sex with his cougar German girlfriend Mahdeblu, who is eight years his senior.
Besides having sex with Mahdeblu, the British ape is now also close to her five-year-old daughter Akeena, who he was seen hugging tightly.
Bili even has some male camaraderie as the troop’s grandfather Mato, 55, has also accepted Bili and has reportedly been seen playing with him in the bonobo enclosure.
A zoo spokesman said: “In the meantime, Bili looks much more relaxed overall. We could no longer observe any aggression against him lately.”