The Business of Animal Behavior: 3 Amazing Cases

Business Startup Activity Uncovered in the Wild Kingdom?

white, small, fluffy dog with black button nose and black horned rim glasses

Secretive creatures engage in activities many humans know little about, say animal behavior experts (PBS).

In the real world, a gorilla can communicate with humans, according to the Gorilla Foundation and Project Koko, the only interspecies communication study to date. And Border Collie pups as young as four weeks old can work as herders.

So it was only a matter of time…

Scientists would discover evidence that certain animals have been starting niche ventures and have been doing so behind the scenes for some time.

At the recent International Zoology Business conference in Davos, Switzerland, some conference members compared

notes and reached an astonishing conclusion…

Consider:

St. Bernard pups in a monastery in Geneva, Switzerland, operate a company that brews an energy chocolate elixir based on a century-old recipe handed down by monks. The pups ship the drinks in tiny barrels to college students all over the globe.

Meanwhile, in the US, Vermont state police have been flooded with persistent calls from residents who have reported sightings of grazing cows dressed in what callers described as

                 “Hip and colorful winter woolens.”

There is a strong suspicion that the stunning colorful designs result from a collaboration of a nearby butterfly kaleidoscope. The design firm reportedly staffed entirely by butterflies landed a six-figure contract to produce scarves for wedding guests at upscale resort hotels.

But perhaps the most incredible account takes place in Namibia, where hippopotami, a bale of turtles, and a herd of giraffes have set aside their differences and formed a partnership, successfully operating a five-star safari hotel. The turtles wait tables as the giraffes practice their culinary expertise in an incredibly tall kitchen. Meanwhile, the hippopotami ferry guests on wild river rafting trips.  

Disbelief rippled among many conference attendees until a park ranger from Australia stepped forward with a strange tale that provided an important clue and corroborated these fantastic accounts of animal entrepreneurship.

Four years earlier, the ranger had come across a mob of roos hopping across the preserve one night. He grabbed his night vision binoculars to get a closer look, but the animals had scattered before he could swing back around in his jeep. And he had blinked hard because he could have sworn that several of the does were carrying a small stack of books.

He thought nothing more about the incident, attributing his hallucination to a eucalyptus leaves overdose. But then a year passed, and an article in the Melbourne Business Journal caught his attention…

A feature about a mysterious up-and-coming startup specializing in children’s first-aid products made from harvested Rainforest herbs: herbs are found only in the same part of the country where the preserve is located.

According to the article, UPS would come to the edge of the preserve each week, and hundreds of small packages were piled neatly for outgoing delivery. But no one was there, only written instructions and a check.

The ranger’s story provided an essential clue because animals were spotted with their nose or snout near an unidentified book in each of the cases uncovered.

Some of nature’s finest are reading entrepreneurial books, thinking critically, and taking an active role in business development. And one pre-startup guide is being shared by enterprising animals, notes a highly placed source at the IZB.

But one mystery remains unsolved: what guide did the animals read for inspiration? How did they learn how to pick a unique niche? Plans are underway to identify the title ASAP.

Question

What kind of business would you be inspired to start if you were your favorite animal?

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