Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Rwanda honours death of mountain gorilla researcher Fossey

Rwandan officials commemorated the life and the 20th anniversary of the death of famed primate researcher Dian Fossey with dances and speeches in the rural highlands where she studied the mountain gorillas she loved.

Government officials and locals held traditional dances, gave speeches and laid wreaths at the site where Fossey, who was killed in mysterious circumstances in 1985, was buried.

Fossey's work inspired the 1988 Hollywood film Gorillas in the Mist, starring Sigourney Weaver and has provided Rwanda's economy with an enduring lure for tourist dollars.

Fossey was murdered in her cabin in the Volcanoes National Park on December 26, 1985 after nearly 18 years of living in the jungles with the primates.

Mountain gorillas have become a huge foreign revenue earner for impoverished Rwanda, attracting thousands of tourists to the tiny central African nation which is emerging from a 1994 genocide where an estimated 800,000 people were hacked to death.

Rugamba said 10,500 tourists, mainly from Europe and United States, visited the gorillas this year.

Fossey brought the plight of mountains gorillas to the attention of the world," Rosette Rugamba, the director general of Rwanda Parks and Tourism Board told Reuters.

"She was dedicated to the conservation of gorillas and their habitats in Rwanda and Africa at large through anti-poaching, regular monitoring, research and education."

There are only 700 mountain gorillas left in the world, and Rwanda is home to about one third of the total population.

Story here.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Woman claims son's odd behavior is due to monkey rape

A 27-year-old man in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa has become the talk of the town these days. Many doctors here are perplexed with his monkey-like behaviour.

Kudlo, the monkey man, in Puranapanj village in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa, behaves and produces sounds like monkey. With his peculiar behaviour has become the favourite topic for almost every household.

The issue came to focus when a team of Excise officials from Jamshedpur, who visited the village to distribute blankets among tribals, noticed Kudlo.

However, Sangomani , the mother of Kudlo, makes an interesting revelation about her sons monkey-like habits. She says her sons condition may have been the result of a rape which she suffered from a monkey when she went into the jungles for collecting woods for kitchen.

According to Dr. Pushpa Marya, a gynaecologist, Sangomanis claim isnt feasible as it is impossible." This cannot happen that a monkey rapes the woman and then she begets a baby," said Marya.

Story here.

Monkey menace claims villager's life

The menace of monkeys claimed the life of a villager in the district yesterday, police said today.

Narayan Bhabo Chapekar, a resident of Chichghat village in Umrer Taluka, had climbed a tree near his house to drive away the monkeys who were frequently damaging the roof of his house.

While driving away the monkeys, the 55-year-old Chapekar fell from the tree and died on the spot, the police said.

Story here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New reports show Stalin wanted 'ape-humans' bred for army

THE Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the creation of Planet of the Apes-style warriors by crossing humans with apes, according to recently uncovered secret documents.

Moscow archives show that in the mid-1920s Russia's top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, was ordered to turn his skills from horse and animal work to the quest for a super-warrior.

According to Moscow newspapers, Stalin told the scientist: "I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."

In 1926 the Politburo in Moscow passed the request to the Academy of Science with the order to build a "living war machine". The order came at a time when the Soviet Union was embarked on a crusade to turn the world upside down, with social engineering seen as a partner to industrialisation: new cities, architecture, and a new egalitarian society were being created.

The Soviet authorities were struggling to rebuild the Red Army after bruising wars.

And there was intense pressure to find a new labour force, particularly one that would not complain, with Russia about to embark on its first Five-Year Plan for fast-track industrialisation.

Mr Ivanov was highly regarded. He had established his reputation under the Tsar when in 1901 he established the world's first centre for the artificial insemination of racehorses.

Mr Ivanov's ideas were music to the ears of Soviet planners and in 1926 he was dispatched to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct his first experiment in impregnating chimpanzees.

Meanwhile, a centre for the experiments was set up in Georgia - Stalin's birthplace - for the apes to be raised.

Mr Ivanov's experiments, unsurprisingly from what we now know, were a total failure. He returned to the Soviet Union, only to see experiments in Georgia to use monkey sperm in human volunteers similarly fail.

A final attempt to persuade a Cuban heiress to lend some of her monkeys for further experiments reached American ears, with the New York Times reporting on the story, and she dropped the idea amid the uproar.

Mr Ivanov was now in disgrace. His were not the only experiments going wrong: the plan to collectivise farms ended in the 1932 famine in which at least four million died.

For his expensive failure, he was sentenced to five years' jail, which was later commuted to five years' exile in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan in 1931. A year later he died, reportedly after falling sick while standing on a freezing railway platform.

Story here.

Scientists narrow time limits for human, chimp split

A team of researchers has proposed new limits on the time when the most recent common ancestor of humans and their closest ape relatives – the chimpanzees – lived. Scientists at Arizona State University and Penn State University have placed the time of this split between 5 and 7 million years ago – a sharper focus than that given by the previous collection of molecular and fossil studies, which have placed the divergence anywhere from 3 to 13 million years ago.

The scientists analyzed the largest data set yet of genes that code for proteins and also used an improved computational approach that they developed, which takes into account more of the variability – or statistical error – in the data than any other previous study.

Gene studies are needed to address this problem because the interpretation of the earliest fossils of humans at the ape/human boundary are controversial and because almost no fossils of chimpanzees have been discovered.

"No study before has taken into account all of the error involved in estimating time with the molecular-clock method," says Sudhir Kumar, lead author on the report, which was published online in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team describes its new statistical technique as a "multifactor bootstrap-resampling approach."

"There is considerable interest in knowing when we diverged from our closest relative among animal species," says Kumar, who is director of the Center for Evolutionary Functional Genomics in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. "This divergence time also has considerable importance because it is used to establish how fast genes mutate in humans and to date the historical spread of our species around the globe." Kumar was assisted at ASU by research associate Alan Filipski and graduate student Vinod Swarna.

Story here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

New Study: Women aroused by Monkey Sex

Pornography studios might do well to take a tip from the Discovery Channel. According to a recent study, women are aroused by watching monkey sex. Sure, they're more aroused by watching human sex, but the loving habits of the bonobo are enough to bring out the primate in any civilized lady.

The study, conducted by Meredith Chivers of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health and J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, was published in the October issue of Biological Psychology. The researchers found that while straight men are only aroused by females of the human variety, straight women are equally aroused by all human sexual activity, including lesbian, heterosexual and homosexual male sex, and at least somewhat aroused by nonhuman sex.

Each subject involved in the report watched seven two-minute clips of sex: six scenes involving humans and one of bonobos. The subject constantly monitored and noted his or her subjective arousal. The subject was also affixed with a device that measured genital arousal–penis circumference for the men and vaginal pulse amplitude for the women.

All eighteen men were heterosexual and all reported subjective arousal only during the scenes with women. The objective data matched their reports: Images of our evolutionary ancestors do not make a man retrogress to Homo erectus. The eighteen heterosexual women reported greatest subjective arousal during the heterosexual scene, but their bodies reported they were less naturally selective.

Chivers said in a previous study she had shown a very low correlation between women's stated sexual interests and their sexual arousal patterns in the lab. The correlation was much higher for men, she said.

"There's the possibility that genital response for women is not necessarily imbued with meaning about her sexual interests," says Chivers. She also emphasized that her findings do not imply women harbor a latent desire for lesbian sex or bestiality.

While the women did not report their arousal in the subjective part of the study, Chivers said women are generally receptive to her findings about their objective responses.

"When I speak to women, there's sort of an intuitive 'Oh, yeah,'" she says.

Barbara Bartlik, a psychiatry professor at Cornell, said she was not alarmed by the women's response to the nonhuman stimuli.

"I don't know why this has surprised everybody that women get aroused watching humans and animals," she says. "Animals, because of the way they function in an uninhibited manner...can be very arousing to look at when they copulate."

However, Bartlik was surprised that the men did not have the same response as the women.

"I would wonder if the men weren't concerned about being labeled as homosexual or perverse by being interested in these things, and therefore their erections were inhibited," she said.

Chivers hopes to discover what specific aspect of a visual stimulus causes women to become aroused. Some experts believe mentally labeling an act as sexual arouses women. Others, including Chivers, believe innately recognized sexual features such as an erect penis, even out of their usual human context, stimulate women. She said she did not yet know how similar to humans an animal would need to be in order to elicit a sexual response from women.

Story here.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Primate fossils claimed to be more primitive than any other fossils

Palaeontologists found fossil bones and teeth in upper Myanmar recently and concluded that the fossils belong to the amphipithecus.

A group comprising French and Myanmar palaeontologists searched for primate fossils in Pontaung region in Myaing Township, Pakokku District, Magway Division, from 22 November to 8 December.

They found three molars and a left lower jawbone with one molar of the amphipithecus on 3 December, left lower jawbone with three teeth on 4 December, a fossil tooth which is believed to be a specimen of a mammal on 25 November and a piece of fossil molar of Myanmarpithecus on 1 February, 2005, in Myaing Township. Moreover, Myanmar-French palaeontologist group also discovered fossil jawbones and teeth of Ruminants, Tapir, Amthroethiridae, Rinocerotidac and mammals in the same region.

According to the paleontologists, the anthropoid fossils found in the region were more primitive than any other fossils found in the world.

Palaeontologists believe that the human race was originated in Pontaung region where the primate fossils were found.

Story here.

Eco-tourists bludgeoned to death at gorilla reserve

A pathologist testifying in the trial of a Rwandan rebel accused of killing eight foreign tourists, including a Scot, and their guide in a famed Ugandan gorilla reserve yesterday described the horrific wounds suffered by the victims.

Rwandan rebels hacked and bludgeoned the tourists from the United States, Britain and New Zealand in a remote rain forest near Uganda's borders with Congo and Rwanda.
The rebels said they were targeting English speakers in an attempt to weaken US and British support for the Rwandan government. The Western countries were the largest donors to Rwanda after its 100-day genocide.

Dr Henry Wabinga told the high court that the bodies of five victims of the 1999 gorilla reserve attack had broken skulls, hacked brains, stab wounds, compound fractures and extensive burns.

His report was presented on the last day of prosecution testimony against Jean-Paul Bizimana, 30, a former Rwandan rebel, who has pleaded not guilty. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Story here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Heartwarming Monkey and Puppy Tale

A dog may be man's best friend but it took a monkey to turn saviour to a puppy at Lovedale near here. For the past few days, people in the town are witness to a rare display of love and affection.

The puppy, all wet and shivering in the winter cold, was first seen near the railway station on Sunday, according to the Station Master, N. Pramod. Even as the locals were wondering what to do, a monkey descended on the scene from a nearby tree. It did not waver, didn't have a second thought. It patted the puppy affectionately, cuddled it, and then lifted it up and ran into the nearby forest. The locals looked on amazed. On Monday the saviour and its charge could not be spotted. Come Tuesday, the monkey, holding the puppy close, appeared atop Mr. Pramod's house. When people tried to get close, the monkey fled up a tree with the puppy clutched to its chest.

It then proceeded to eat some nuts, feeding the puppy too.

After a while, the monkey came down and sat on a roof and accepted some food from onlookers.

It shared the tidbits with the puppy, cuddling and kissing it all the while.

As more and more people converged on the scene, monkey and friend walked off into the forest.

Story here.

Happy Monkey Day!!!

Happy Monkey Day, don't forget to check out the Monkey Day Events going on at

Monday, December 12, 2005

The History Channel to Premiere 'GIGANTO: THE REAL KING KONG'

The History Channel production of GIGANTO: THE REAL KING KONG, premieres on Thursday, December 15 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT when viewer interest is expected to be high due to the Dec. 14 premiere of director Peter Jackson's "King Kong" feature film.

Commissioned from distributor CABLEready and produced by Bosch Media and White Wolf Entertainment, GIGANTO: THE REAL KING KONG will use modern science and technology to probe the mystery of a giant ape named Giganto Pithecus, known to exist between 40,000 and 400,000 years ago - and determine if a present-day descendent still roams the earth. Tools used will include anthropology, forensic testing, body reconstruction and 3-D animation. Show highlights will include:

-- Recent scientific expeditions to China and the Cascade Mountains of the N.W. U.S. hope to shed new light on how Giganto lived, where it fell on the evolutionary tree and if Giganto could still live today

"You can already tell the new Peter Jackson movie is going to be some event, and GIGANTO will delve into the legend that is KING KONG," said Gary Lico, president and CEO of CABLEready. "There's some truth to the legend behind the movie, and what better place to separate the facts from the fiction than The History Channel."

Story here.

Monkey numbers boom as human population declines in Hong Kong

While Hong Kong's human birthrate is falling, the former British colony is facing an explosion in its primate population, a news report said Monday.

The monkey population in Hong Kong is nearing 2,000 and rising at the rate of around 6 per cent a year, according to the South China Morning Post.

That contrasts sharply with the birth rate among the city's 6.8 million human population, which has become one of the lowest in the world at less than 0.8 babies per woman.

Monkeys live mostly in Hong Kong's rural country parks, where experts said hikers are feeding them and helping the population to grow at three times the normal rate.

De-population of villages in the New Territories, where locals would once have kept the monkey populations down, was also cited as a factor in the growth of the primate numbers.

Officials are looking at ways of trying to bring down the population growth of the monkeys - all of the grey macaque species - who are increasingly becoming a nuisance.

When the monkeys get used to being fed by hikers, they will grab bags of food from country park visitors or raid village homes and temples for food.

Story here.

Kukdzoo gives birth to another gorilla at Zoo Atlanta

Another month, another gorilla born at Zoo Atlanta.

Maybe they're excited by the opening of "King Kong."

Kudzoo, an 11-year-old western lowland gorilla, gave birth to her first baby late Sunday night, zoo officials said. It's the fourth gorilla birth at the Grant Park facility since Halloween.

"Mother and baby are doing great," Susan Elliott, zoo spokesman said Monday. Neither the baby's sex or weight is known at this point.

If the new gorilla survives, it will be the first living grandchild of Willie B., the zoo mascot who died in 2000 at age 42. (Kudzoo is the daughter of Willie B. She mated with Taz to produce the newcomer.)

Last month, Lulu, another daughter of Willie B.'s, gave birth to a male baby but rejected mothering the newborn, which later died, despite efforts by Kuchi, Lulu's mother, to nurse it.

Kuchi herself gave birth to a rare set of twins Halloween night.

It's enough to make you wonder what the zoo is putting in the primate water supply.

Story here.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Monkey attacks Taiping trader

Businessman Yim Ah Chai, 47, found it the painful way when he grappled with a pig-tailed macaque (or berok) here on Thursday evening.

Yim was checking his mailbox when the waist-high monkey jumped over the gate into his house in Taman Lake View.

“It bit my left hand and I started punching but it became more aggressive.

“I threw another punch and then I felt its teeth on my thigh,” he said.

He shouted for help but no one heard him. Yim's wife and children thought he was playing with their dog.

When he got hold of a stick, the monkey let go but was about to attack his wife who was coming out of the door.

“Luckily, it just walked away and jumped over to my neighbour’s compound before disappearing,'' he said.

Doctors told Yim that he was lucky to be wearing trousers.

“Had I been wearing shorts, the monkey's fangs could have severed the main artery and I could have succumbed to excessive bleeding,” said Yim.

He has since warned his three children, aged six to 17, not to go out of the house.

Story here.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Holiday gift suggestion

Stuck on what to give your loved ones for the upcoming holiday season? How about the gift of chimp charity by adopting a rescued laboratory chimp, via You can't go wrong with simian charity.

Marksman shoots dead "dangerous" escaped Chimp

A marksman shot dead a "potentially-dangerous" chimpanzee after the animal escaped from a zoo in northern England and vanished, police said.

A public warning was sent out after the female chimp escaped from Flamingo Land Zoo near Malton in North Yorkshire and disappeared in foggy conditions.

Police advised the public to stay away from the chimp after the zoo warned she could be "potentially dangerous and should not be approached".

"A zoo marksman has shot the chimp dead," a police spokesman said. "The public concern can now abate."

Story here.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Monkey bite kills girl, 5

The five-year-old daughter of a retired Marine captain died of a monkey bite last Tuesday at the St. Elizabeth Hospital in General Santos City. Devine Orate, daughter of ex-Marine Captain Orate residing in purok Robert, barangay Labangal, died after more than a week of confinement.

The child was bitten by a monkey owned by neighbor Miriam de Juan last November 25. She was immediately brought to the hospital where she was treated for more than a week.

She died on December 6.

The child’s father said he wants de Juan to be held responsible for the death of his child.

De Juan, however, has disappeared after learning of the victim’s death. A case is now being readied against the monkey’s owner.

Story here.

Performing monkeys in Asia carry viruses that could jump species to humans

Some urban performing monkeys in Indonesia are carrying several retroviruses that are capable of infecting people, according to a new study led by University of Washington researchers. The results indicate that contact with performing monkeys, which is common in many Asian countries, could represent a little-known path for viruses to jump the species barrier from monkeys to humans and eventually cause human disease. Performing monkeys are animals that are trained to produce tricks in public.
While scientists have conducted extensive research on primate-to-human viral transmission in Africa, where they believe HIV originated, few have researched this topic in Asia.

"People aren't looking at Asia, and they need to do so, because viruses are emerging on that continent," explained Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, leader of the study and a research scientist in the Division of International Programs at the UW's Washington National Primate Research Center. "There is a large, diverse population of primates there, and a huge human population in dense urban centers, so there's the potential for viral transmission across the species barrier."

The study's authors are urging more research on the different settings in Asia where people have contact with non-human primates – zoos, animal markets, monkey forests, pet ownership, and urban street performances. Most previous research on viral transmission has focused on bushmeat hunting and consumption, a practice in which local residents hunt wild monkeys for food. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS in humans, is believed to have originated as a primate virus and jumped the species barrier to humans when African bushmeat hunters came into contact with blood from infected animals.

However, in Asia other forms of primate/human contact, among them urban monkey performances, may be more prevalent than bushmeat hunting. Asia has a long history of performing monkeys, and initial studies indicate that the performances can include very close, physical contact between the animals and human spectators – monkeys crawling on people, for instance. Such contact might increase the risk of a bite, scratch, or other interaction that could lead to exposure to monkey body fluids.

"The risk of viral transmission in this context is unclear," said Dr. Michael Schillaci, professor of social sciences at the University of Toronto at Scarborough and lead author on the study. "But the contact here can be very intense."

Also troubling are the animal markets where many performing monkeys are acquired by their trainers. The markets typically bring together many different species of wild monkeys, as well as many other types of animals, in very close, unnatural quarters and unsanitary conditions.

Story here.

Monkeys show sexual differences go way back

Just like human boys and girls, male monkeys like to play with toy cars while female monkeys prefer dolls.

The discovery is one of many signs of deep-rooted behavioural differences between the sexes that scientists are exploring with the latest tools of genetics and neuroscience.

Researchers report significant differences in the structure and functioning of male and female brains - in humans and in animals - that show up in different behaviours.

The differences apparently date far back in evolutionary history to the time before humans and monkeys separated from their common ancestor 25 million years ago, said Gerianne Alexander, a psychologist at Texas A&M University, who led the monkey experiment.

"Human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behaviour," Richard Haier, a neuroscientist at the University of California at Irvine, wrote in the journal NeuroImage.

In the monkey experiment, researchers put a variety of toys in front of 44 male and 44 female vervets, a breed of small African monkey, and measured the amount of time they spent with each object.

Like little boys, some male monkeys moved a toy car along the ground. Like little girls, female monkeys closely inspected a doll's bottom. Males also played with balls while females fancied cooking pots. Both were interested in neutral objects such as a picture book and a stuffed dog.

People used to think that boys and girls played differently because of the way they were brought up. Now scientists such as Dr Alexander say a creature's genetic inheritance also plays an important role.

Story here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Monkeys force Jammu villagers to flee homes

Thousands of monkeys are making themselves comfortable in a Jammu village, as residents move out due to fear.

In the last two months, 65 families in the Cheryai village, about 60 kilometers from Jammu, have already migrated.

"I have migrated from this place but even in my new home, which is also in the same locality, the monkeys have arrived. Now everywhere in Cheryai village, there are monkeys," said Chaggu Ram Shastri, resident, Cheryai village.

There are still some 400 people in the village who are offering resistance to these monkeys. But none in the village is advised to walk alone and without a stick.

"These monkeys strike when the male members of the family are not at home. We have appealed several times to the local administration for help but no one has come to our rescue so far," said Jugal Kishore, resident.

Usually in Jammu and Kashmir people migrate due to fear of terrorists. Perhaps a fresh new reason to migrate is proving equally nightmarish.

Story here.

Ethics Board probes 'reprisal' accusation at ULL primate lab

The state Board of Ethics is investigating a complaint that a supervisor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's primate research lab retaliated against an employee who reported alleged violations of federal animal care standards.
The board is "exploring" allegations that Johnny Hardcastle, head of Animal Resources at ULL's New Iberia Research Center, may have violated the state ethics code by subjecting former center employee Narriman Fakier "to acts of reprisal," according to a letter sent by the Ethics Board to an attorney representing the university.

An Ethics Board attorney declined to discuss details of the case, but Fakier filed a lawsuit against the university in February alleging that she was forced to resign in early 2004 after complaining of mistreatment of animals at the center.

Steven Dupuis, who is representing ULL and Hardcastle in the matter, said the ethics complaint is "going to be hotly contested."

The letter states that the board has already conducted a preliminary investigation of the complaint in September and has ordered a public hearing. A public employee found to have violated the Code of Governmental Ethics can face a fine, suspension, demotion or termination. No hearing date has been set.

Primates at the New Iberia Research Center are used in pharmaceutical and medical testing.

Fakier, who worked for two years as a coordinator and animal facility manager at the center, said in the lawsuit that her repeated complaints of alleged violations of animal care guidelines were not acted upon.

Fakier alleged that center Director Thomas Rowell told her that her "concerns would not be addressed by NIRC, and, if she had a problem with that, she should quit."

Among some of Fakier's specific allegations: the center violated guidelines for anesthetizing animals, roaches and mice infested primate housing, an employee burned the paws of some chimpanzees with a lighter, another chimpanzee was doused with scalding water and some animals died after being left in outdoor cages during the winters of 2002 and 2003. ULL has commented little on the allegations but has said that Fakier's claims were investigated and that the university was "pleased with what was learned."

Story here.

Toledo Zoo Gorilla Akbar dies at 29

Akbar, the patriarch of one of two gorilla family groups at the Toledo Zoo, is dead.

Zoo staff euthanized the ailing, 29-year-old silverback gorilla yesterday after his health, compromised by severe progressive heart disease, "took a significant turn for the worse" over the weekend, a zoo announcement said.

Akbar, who lived at the zoo for 20 years, was diagnosed in August with heart disease, which is the leading killer of captive gorillas. The average lifespan of a captive male gorilla is about 35 years.

Preliminary necropsy findings confirmed extensive disease and congestive heart failure. Echocardiograms had been used for the initial diagnosis four months ago. On Sunday, keepers observed that Akbar was extremely lethargic and had difficulty getting up.

"We knew that Akbar's condition would get progressively worse," Dr. Wynona Shellabarger, the zoo's acting chief veterinarian, said. "Our goal with treatment was to slow this progression and improve his heart function as much as possible to make him comfortable. The decision to euthanize was heart-wrenching for all of us, but it became apparent that he was now suffering and that his quality of life had greatly diminished."

Akbar headed a family group that included three other adults and two juveniles he sired. Overall, he fathered seven gorillas at the zoo. A second family group of five gorillas also lives at the zoo.

Story here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A moment of King Kong zen.

It has come to our attention that Peter Jackson's "King Kong" is slated for release ON Monkey Day, December 14th!!! Coincidence???

Monday, December 05, 2005

Escaped Monkey Captured In Covington

A monkey on the loose in west Covington was captured Friday night -- and now the animal's owner could be in trouble.

The capuchin monkey was found this afternoon on Holman, where it had been roaming for the past couple of days.

Because it may seem cute and friendly, animal control officers were worried that someone would try to catch the monkey.

"Their bite is as bad as a rottweiler's, they can be very aggressive and very nasty," said Animal Control Officer Debbie Brown.

Authorities think the monkey is probably someone's pet that got away.

Capuchin monkeys are considered exotic, and are illegal to own in Kentucky.

Story here.

UC Davis Pays Fine After Monkey Deaths

UC Davis has paid a $4,815 civil penalty to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in connection with the August 2004 deaths of seven monkeys. The deaths were due to a mechanical failure that resulted in the overheating of the room in which the animals were housed.

“We deeply regret this sad incident and we accepted the USDA’s fine without challenge,” said Stan Nosek, vice chancellor for administration at UC Davis. “We are working to ensure that such an accident never happens again.”

Since August 2004, campus officials have been conducting an audit of all environmental monitoring systems in animal housing, Nosek said. The audit is expected to be completed by February 2006.

The seven animals, all adult cynomolgous monkeys, were housed together in a room south of campus and away from the campus’s California National Primate Research Center. Immediately following the August 2004 incident, 32 other monkeys housed at the location were moved to the primate center, which has 24-hour environmental monitoring in all rooms. The south campus room has not been used for animal housing since the incident.

Story here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Oldest gorilla at Oklahoma City Zoo dies

A 46-year-old female gorilla that has been a fixture at the Oklahoma City Zoo for more than 30 years has died.

Fern, a Western lowlands gorilla, was euthanized Tuesday after several weeks of deteriorating health, zoo officials said.

"She had been under medical watch for the last couple of weeks, acting lethargic and had a loss of appetite," said Dwight Scott, the zoo's director of animal management. "Within the last 48 hours, she really took a turn for the worse."

Fern, who arrived at the Oklahoma City Zoo in 1972 from a zoo in Philadelphia, was the fourth-oldest gorilla in the United States, Scott said. He said gorillas in captivity typically live to between 35 and 40 years old.

Story here.