The Odd Side – April 19, 2016

On the Run: Chacha the Chimp Escapes From Japan Zoo

(Reuters) – Chacha the chimp made his own great escape, fleeing from a zoo in northern Japan and leading authorities on a dramatic chase.

The male primate went missing from Yagiyama Zoological Park and was seen roaming in a neighborhood in Sendai.

Video footage showed the 24-year-old chimp atop an electricity pole, then swinging from power lines in between buildings. A veterinarian was lifted up in a cherry picker to tranquilize him.

The chimp made his way to another pole before losing his grip and dangling from the lines as the sedative kicked in. He eventually fell to the ground, where rescue workers had gathered with sheets.

Bakery Charges Women 79 Cents On a Dollar for Equal Pay Day

CONCORD, N.H. (AP)A New England bakery chain, The Works Bakery Cafe, charged female customers 79 cents on the dollar to illustrate the pay gap between men and women.

The cafe offered the discount last Tuesday to women in its New Hampshire shops in honor of Equal Pay Day. Men were charged full price.

Equal Pay Day is a national symbolic event dramatizing how much longer it takes a woman to earn as much as a man.

Chain CEO Richard French says hundreds of women came to the shops for the discount.

Morbidly Plump Texas Dog Loses Weight and ‘Fat Vincent’ Name

A morbidly obese Texas dachshund once dubbed “Fat Vincent” because his belly was so large it hit the ground when he walked, has found its way out of animal shelter care by dropping half its body weight.

The 7-year-old canine with a love for fast food weighed a whopping 38 pounds in September when he was surrendered to a Houston animal shelter after his elderly owner died, according to his foster owner.

His ideal healthy weight is around 16 pounds.

“Besides terribly high cholesterol and BMI, Vincent’s back sloped downward in the middle and our vet was fearful that one false move would cause his back to break,” said Melissa Anderson with K-9 Angels Rescue in Houston.

Now dubbed “Skinny Vinnie,” the dog weighs 17.5 pounds due to a healthier diet, swimming with a life jacket in a pool, and long walks, Anderson said, adding his fast-food craving comes to life every time she goes to a drive-through window of a national coffee house chain.

“He hops over to the driver’s seat, sticks his head out the window and waits for the order,” Anderson said.

“He is always disappointed when the coffee arrives, but he never gives up hope.”

Inky the Octopus Makes an Amazing Escape

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Inky the octopus waited until it was dark and the staff had gone home from the National Aquarium of New Zealand before making his move.

He squeezed and pushed his way through a tiny gap in the mesh at the top of his tank and slithered 6.6 feet to the floor. Then he made a beeline across the room to a drain hole.

With a body the size of a rugby ball, Inky managed to stretch out and squeeze into the hole. From there, he shimmied down the 164-foot pipe until he was back in the Pacific Ocean.

All he left behind three months ago was a slimy trail, allowing staff at the Napier aquarium to re-create his amazing escape.

He’s not been seen since.

Inky’s story begins on Pania Reef, several hundred yards out to sea from the aquarium. He was pulled up by a fisherman and wasn’t in good shape. He’d been attacked, probably by a snapper or some other fish, and a couple of his tentacles were half their normal length.

After a year recuperating at the National Aquarium, said manager Rob Yarrall, Inky was once again in good health. And he’d been delighting the staff with his intelligence.

“He used to come up and you could hand-feed him,” Yarrall said. “He’d grab hold of you with the suckers on his tentacles, or squirt water at you. And he worked out how to screw the top off a jar.”

Yarrall said that since they have no bones, octopuses can squeeze through almost any hole that’s larger than their beaks.

After Inky escaped, the aquarium staff figured out what happened, admired his cleverness, wished him the best and went back to work. No one thought to publicize the story until Robyn McLean, communications manager for the Napier City Council, heard about what happened this week. She told a local reporter, and before long she and her small staff had fielded more than 100 calls from international media.

“The humble octopus is a very, very intelligent creature,” McLean said.” He thought this one out and he nailed it. So, go Inky.”

Rescued Calf Is Now Companion For Blind Cow

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — A calf that spent days on the loose in Massachusetts is now a companion for a blind cow that recently lost a pig playmate.

The cow, Baby, lives at the Don’t Forget Us Pet Us animal sanctuary in Dartmouth.

The calf had been destined for the slaughterhouse. Jean Briggs saw stories about its escape, used her tax refund to buy the calf from Robinson’s for $450, and turned it over to the sanctuary.

Deborah Devlin, who runs the sanctuary, says the timing is perfect. She says Baby’s friend for the last eight years, Lulu the pig, died and that the cow was heartbroken.

The cow and the calf were introduced Tuesday.

Angry Chinese Construction Workers Duel With Bulldozers

BEIJING (AP) – Police in northern China say an argument between construction workers escalated into a clash of heavy machinery that left at least two bulldozers flipped over in a street.

In video taken Saturday, several bulldozers are seen ramming each other while passenger cars scurry away from the cloud of dust.

The video shows one driver running unhurt out of his toppled bulldozer, while a friendly bulldozer tries to lift it back up.

The construction workers were from two companies competing for business, Xu Feng, a local government spokesman in Hebei province’s Xingtang county, said. He said he couldn’t disclose details about arrests or injuries until an investigation concludes.

China’s construction sector has fallen on hard times, with growth down by two-thirds from its peak a decade ago. Real estate construction represents close to a quarter of China’s economy, a far higher proportion than other major countries, and its slowdown is now sending ripples through industrial sectors such as steel, glass and cement, causing waves of layoffs.