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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Well, French is good for something after all!

Edmonton's Valley Zoo is inviting the public to say "bonjour" to its newest Siberian tiger. Staff at the zoo have discovered that while Boris has lived in the land of rodeos and roughnecks for about a year, French remains his language of choice.

When the Quebec-born tiger arrived in May 2006, staff found him unresponsive to the English commands of staff. Ginette Heppelle, a French-speaking zookeeper from Saskatchewan was then asked to try a few lines in French.

"I said, 'Bonjour, Boris,' " said Heppelle, 29, who started work at the zoo around the same time Boris arrived. "I started to speak to him in French and he got up and came to see me."

Heppelle said Boris would even perk up when visitors gave greetings in French.

"Especially at the beginning, because that (French) is what he's used to," she explained just as Boris let fly with a powerful spray to mark his territory, much to the shock of photographers who scrambled to get out of the way.

Boris's preference for "la belle langue" may not come as a surprise to many animal trainers, who have known for years that higher-functioning animals will recognize and respond to particular human languages.

According to Dr. Christopher Sturdy, a psychologist at the University of Alberta who studies animal behaviour, dogs and cats can be taught in and respond to virtually any language.

Your "how's it goin, eh" scribe; (That's Canadian!)

Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) www.God-101.com

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