Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Male Monkeys Hold Babies To Make Friends

monkey malesIt's easy to make friends when you are holding a baby, suggests a new study that found male Barbary macaques have a better chance of bonding with each other when at least one is hauling around an infant.

The study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Animal Behavior, is among the first to demonstrate that infants likely serve as social tools for at least some primates. Like a human father pushing around junior in a stroller or walking a gentle dog, the presence of a cute, young, defenseless being seems to alleviate tension when meeting others.

When a Barbary macaque male encounters another male with an infant, a "bizarre ritual" takes place, co-author Julia Fischer told Discovery News.

Fischer said the males "sit together, embrace each other, then they hold up the infant and nuzzle it. Their teeth chatter and lip smack while making low frequency grumbling noises."

Full story here.

11-Million-Year-Old Primate Discovered In Garbage Dump

primate fossilA garbage dump in Catalonia, Spain, has just yielded an eleven-million-year-old new primate, according to the science news service SINC.

Named Pliopithecus canmatensis, after the site (Can Mata in the Vallès-Penedès basin), the primate belonged to an extinct family of Old World monkeys, Catarrhini, which dispersed from Africa to Eurasia.

The scientists were able to ID the monkey from fragments of its jaw and molars.

The new species, according to the scientists, sheds light on the evolution of the superfamily Pliopithecoidea, primates that include animals that diverged before the separation of the two current superfamilies: the cercopithecoids (Old World monkeys) and the hominids (anthromorphs and humans). It thrived in Eurasia during the Early and Late Miocene, or between 23.5 and 5.3 million years ago.

Full story here.

Squirrel Monkey Spotted In Florida's Pelican Bay

loose monkeyBe on the lookout for the monkey in Pelican Bay.

He may be furry, fluffy and friendly, but he also may be harboring diseases that could cause serious illness or death to humans.

DeeDee Ream may have been the first to spot him. It was Saturday, dinner was being prepared and Ream heard a strange noise coming from the backyard. She went to investigate, noticed a cardinal, then scanned the treeline.

“It’s a monkey,” Ream yelled to her friends gathered in the home.

The squirrel monkey, a non-native species with a history in Naples, was clinging to a palm tree.

For years, several of the monkeys — possibly a troop — have been spotted in and around the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, including at Naples High School and the Collier Athletic Club.

“Typically they do occupy a certain territory,” said Troy Frensley, Conservancy education director.

“It makes me suspect that potentially it was a pet,” Frensley said of the monkey Ream saw. “No one knows how the ones we’ve seen around the Conservancy arrived.”

Full story here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Amok Malaysian Monkey Shot Dead

monkey biteA monkey set off 10 hours of panic by attacking people in the tiny south western Sabah town of Weston before being shot dead by police.

The monkey had roamed the town and menaced residents, including biting Noraqilah Indrina Mohd Yassin, eight, on her leg.

Noraqilah was accompanying her mother to a cake shop in town when the monkey pounced on her at about 6am Tuesday and bit her leg.

Her mother Azlin Abdul Rahman, 32, said they were very scared and screamed for help as she struggled to get her daughter out of the monkey’s grip.

“I managed to free my daughter and run away,” Azlin said.

Noraqilah was treated at the Beaufort hospital where she received eight stitches on her leg and was checked for other diseases and infections. She was discharged yesterday.

According to residents, the monkey continued to roam the town and attempted to attack another person who managed to flee indoors in time.

A team of three policemen headed by Sjn Maj Ahmad Daud and residents tried to shoo it back into a nearby jungle but it refused and continued to charge menacingly at them.

By 4.45pm, the monkey tried to attack one of the team members and police decided to shoot it, as they had no other option.

Beaufort district police chief Deputy Supt Mustaffa Maarof urged residents not to provoke monkeys.

Full story here.

Injured Baby Gorilla Transferred to Zoo’s Animal Hospital

baby gorilla injuredThe two-month old baby gorilla at the Louisville Zoo who is still recovering from serious injuries suffered earlier this month has been moved from its mother’s care to the care of the zoo’s animal hospital. The still unnamed infant had to have part of its left leg removed after an altercation between the three adult gorillas of her family group led to the injuries.

Veterinarian Dr. Roy Burns says the baby was recovering well with her mother until about two days ago.

“There were times when it would sort of look like it was falling asleep and letting its head fall back a little bit,” says Burns. “Also, they noticed when the baby was on the mom’s breast, there wasn’t the aggressive, active suckling motion in the baby’s mouth, the baby would just sort of hold on to the nipple and not be actively suckling.”

He says the change doesn’t mean the baby has taken a turn for the worst.

Full story here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Zookeepers In China Eat Monkey Meat

Reports of zookeepers eating dead monkey meat, or dining on the carcasses of giraffes have turned the spotlight again on mismanagement of zoos across the country.

The latest scandal involves a soon-to-be-opened zoo in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, where dead animals were reportedly given away as gifts or eaten by zoo workers.

The New Express Daily reported that the environment of the Xiangshi Zoo, which plans to open in July in celebration of the 2010 Dongguan Tourism Culture Festival, is an animal lover's nightmare.

The report said the tigers' enclosure is smelly because their excrement is piled with eggshells. No animal keepers could be seen in some areas.

Some wild animals purchased from other cities cannot get acclimated to the local weather and food. Giraffes, peacocks, monkeys and other animals sent from Beijing died.

"A giraffe transported from Beijing in December 2009 was weak when it arrived. It just lay in the cage and died later," said a zoo employee. "Two monkeys and several peacocks died two weeks ago."

Another employee said several animals that died at the zoo were either eaten by staff members or sent to friends as gifts, believing that wild animal meat has extra nutritional value.

"The workers at the zoo surely cannot eat the whole giraffe. Therefore, some of the giraffe meat is given to others, and we sometimes let tigers eat the meat as well," the employee said.

A director, surnamed Gao, from the Liaobu township tourism development office, told the paper that zoo conditions are primitive. Gao found that roads and green facilities were not completed when he went to inspect the zoo 15 days ago, and he believed the animal deaths resulted from improper feeding.

Full story here.

Missing Monkey Captured In Cumbrian Church

missing monkeyA missing South American monkey has been recaptured in a church, five days after escaping from an enclosure at a Cumbrian wild animal park.

The small Capuchin went missing from the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton on 8 April.

Park staff called in police, fearing for the animal's safety.

The monkey was spotted close to Dalton Railway Station on Tuesday and eventually recaptured when it ran into a nearby church.

A Cumbria Police spokesman said: "Following numerous sightings, the monkey was spotted near the Dalton Railway Station on Tuesday.

Full story here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Orangutan Seen Using Bridge To Find Mates

orangutan bridgeResearchers in the Malaysian state of Sabah in Borneo are joyful after receiving confirmation that a young male orangutan used a rope bridge to cross a river, which has separated one orangutan population from another. Due to logging and clearing forests for oil palm plantations, which cover 18 percent of land in Sabah, orangutans on the Kinabantangan River have been cut into fragmented populations.

"Over the years we have received numerous local eye witness reports of the orangutans using these rope bridges but this is the first time we have received photographic evidence which clearly shows a young male orangutan using the first rope bridge we constructed in 2003 to cross over Resang river, a small tributary of Kinabatangan," explains primatologist, Dr. Isabelle Lackman, Co-Director of the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project (KOCP) in a press statement.

Photos of a male orangutan using the rope bridge were captured by Ajirun Osman, who says that after the male spent twenty minutes at the rope bridge, he crossed: "it seemed like once he decided to cross, he did so very fast going over in about three minutes from the Pangi Forest Reserve into Lot 1 of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary."

Orangutans used to cross such rivers employing the canopies of old growth forests, which easily spanned small rivers. However since the trees have been logged, researchers decided artificial bridges were needed to allow fragmented populations to meet. Six bridges have been built by KOCP, a joint venture between the Sabah Wildlife Department and the French NGO, HUTAN.

"Using rope bridges is a quick fix but eventually the most ideal solution would be to reconnect the forest and we are all working on this. And when I say 'we' I mean everyone from Governmental sector to environmental NGOs and crucially the palm oil industry as well," said wildlife veterinarian Dr. Marc Ancrenaz who is also the Co-Director of KOCP.

Full story here.

Fugitive Monkey Makes Another Appearance In St. Pete

monkey fugitiveThe elusive monkey that has become a media sensation has been sighted once again, this time in St. Petersburg, and the video images of the wily simian are better than ever.

Rick Coffey spotted the rhesus macaque Saturday outside his home on Serpentine Drive in St. Petersburg.

Authorities don't know where the monkey came from, but some think it could have gotten separated from a troupe in a state park near Ocala. That's about 118 miles north of St. Petersburg.

Last month, it was seen at a different home swinging from a tree, falling into a pool and stealing grapefruits from a woman's back yard.

Full story here.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Police Warning After Monkey Escapes From Cumbrian Zoo

monkey missinA search is under way after a South American monkey escaped from a wild animal park in Cumbria.

The small beige Capuchin went missing from his enclosure at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton.

Staff from the centre, which is home to dozens of exotic animals, called in police to help in the search operation.

Capuchins are native to the Amazon basin, about 20ins (51cm) high and recognisable by a distinctive black or dark brown head with dark sideburns.

Karen Brewer from the zoo said it was unclear how the monkey had got out of its enclosure.

She added: "It's only a small monkey so it is not going to hurt anybody or anything like that.

"It will be really scared and just wanting to get back home.

"So we would appeal to anyone who comes across it to contact us or the police."

Full story here.

Chimpazee Dies After Fall From Tree

jessy chimpA female chimpanzee of Alipore zoo swinging from one tree to another suffered a fatal fall on Thursday afternoon.

The post-mortem revealed that 22-year-old Jessy, who was brought from England along with her partner Teju in 1997, had suffered lung and liver injuries in the rare fall.

“It was an unfortunate incident. Her right lung was ruptured and the liver, too, was damaged,” said zoo director Raju Das. A chimp usually lives for 25-30 years.

With Jessy’s death, the zoo now has three chimps left — Teju, Babu and Rani.

An official said this was the first instance at the zoo of a primate falling to its death while swinging from one tree to another. “Jessy’s death is strange because tree-hopping is as natural for primates as swimming is for fish,” said an official.

Full story here.

Only Known Living Population Of Rare Dwarf Lemur Found

lemur rare
Researchers have discovered the world's only known living population of Sibree's Dwarf Lemur, a rare lemur known only in eastern Madagascar. The discovery of approximately a thousand of these lemurs was made by Mitchell Irwin, a Research Associate at McGill University, and colleagues from the German Primate Centre in Göttingen Germany; the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar; and the University of Massachusetts.

The species was first discovered in Madagascar in 1896, but this tiny, nocturnal dwarf lemur was never studied throughout the 20th century. Following the destruction of its only known rainforest habitat, scientists had no idea whether the species still existed in the wild - or even whether it was a distinct species. The study will be published in the current issue of the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Irwin first observed dwarf lemurs at Tsinjoarivo, Madagascar, in 2001, shortly after setting up a long-term rainforest research site. "Even then we knew something was unusual about them," Irwin said. "Instead of the rainforest species we expected to see, our lemur resembled the species known from dry western forests, only it was much larger."

In 2006, Irwin began collaborating with Marina Blanco, University of Massachusetts at Amherst who trapped dwarf lemurs at several sites throughout Tsinjoarivo. This work led to the further surprise that two morphologically distinct dwarf lemur species were present, living side-by-side. Further work by geneticist Linn Groeneveld, German Primate Center confirmed the existence of the more common Crossley's dwarf lemur, and the elusive Sibree's dwarf lemur.

Full story here.

Uganda Plans To Kill Monkeys To Save Crops

A plan to kill monkeys on a group of Lake Victoria islands in Uganda in order to protect lucrative palm fruits was condemned on Thursday by critics who said the measure would harm tourism.

Palm crops on Kalangala islands have been destroyed as the monkey population has exploded, according to Nelson Basaalidde, who heads the Oil Palm Growers Trust.

"The issue is very, very serious right now. You can say (monkeys) are affecting 100 percent of some people's crops. That's why the district has come up with this policy," he said.

Farmers prefer less drastic tactics like scaring the monkeys away from the fruits using dogs, or capturing them and tying bells around their necks to be alerted when the primates are coming.

But the situation has worsened and local authorities declared the primates as vermin, making it legal to kill them.

Local government official David Balironda said the current policy is to pay one dollar for every monkey killed, payable upon presentation of the dead primate's tail.

Currently there are more monkeys than the 35 000 residents of the picturesque islands, a key tourist attraction for primate watching.

Full story here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

New Fossil May Show How Apes Became Humans

fossilScientists in South Africa, initially tipped off by the accidental find of a 9-year-old boy, announced today that they have discovered a set of fossils that could hold the key to unlocking a mysterious period in human evolution.

The fossils are part of a new species, Australopithecus sediba, which are estimated to be nearly 2 million years old and show similarities to both the southern African ape-man and the earliest humans, such as Lucy and Turkana Boy.

"We have one of the most remarkable records, a female, a male and a juvenile of one specific species, and they are showing a pattern," said Lee Berger, an American paleoanthropologist from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. "Whether they turn out to be a side component or a direct relative [of human beings] they will be extraordinary."

The scientists have assembled an adult female and male, and a young male they estimate was between 10 and 13 years old.

Full story here.

Friday, April 02, 2010

A Moment Of Monkey Police Zen...

monkey police
monkey police

monkey police patrol
monkey police
monkey police
monkey police
monkey police
monkey police
A Thai police force has begun taking a monkey dressed in officer's uniform on patrol each day to help improve relations with Muslim separatists.

The five-year-old pig-tailed macaque was adopted after policemen in Yaha province in southern Thailand found him injured with a broken arm.

Trainers taught Santisuk, which means peace in Thai, to pick up coconuts and he now lends a hand collecting the fruit with residents.

Full story here.

Baby Gorilla Loses Part Of Leg After Altercation

gorilla injuredThe Louisville Zoo's 2-month-old baby gorilla suffered an injury on Thursday after a physical encounter with her father.

The incident resulted in the loss of part of the baby's left leg.

The zoo's veterinary staff worked Thursday afternoon to stabilize the infant.

To learn more from this unusual occurrence, the zoo has conferred with one of the continent's leading gorilla experts.

Zoo officials said it will be difficult to identify the reason behind the incident.

The baby gorilla, mom Mia Moja and father Mshindi have all been sharing the same space since the baby was born.

Full story here.

Gorilla Dies In London Zoo After Short Illness

London Zoo has suffered a "devastating blow" following the death of one of its male gorillas less than six months after he arrived.

Yeboah, who weighed 20 stone, arrived at the zoo in November from France to live with three female gorillas.

Despite repeated attempts to resuscitate him, he died.

The zoo's three female gorillas, Effie, Mjukuu and Zaire, will be monitored closely by keepers while they adjust to their loss.

The results of a post-mortem examination on Yeboah are expected to be revealed in a few weeks.

Full story here.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

UN To Airlift Nine Orphan Gorillas To Congo Nature Reserve

baby gorillaNine orphan gorillas will start new lives in a nature reserve in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), thanks to assistance from peacekeepers serving with the United Nations mission in the country, known as MONUC.

Following a request from the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund, blue helmets will airlift three young primates from Goma, in North Kivu province, and six adolescents from neighbouring Rwanda, to Kasugho, near the Tayna Nature Reserve.

Scientists believe that ground transportation would be too difficult and traumatic for the gorillas, and the decision was made to move them by air. They will be accompanied on their trip by veterinarians and other helpers.

Full story here.

Lincoln Park Zoo Announces Birth of Langur

langurThe Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illnois has announced the birth of an endangered primate at the zoo's Helen Brach Primate House. The picture of this mother and newborn are just too cute not to share. Along with the pictures, Lincoln Park Zoo shared interesting informaion about the social system and community parenting habits of the Francois' langur.

Visitors to Lincoln Park Zoo’s Helen Brach Primate House have an opportunity to catch a rare glimpse of a newborn Francois’ langur. This youngster, born March 18, is hard to miss thanks to its bright orange fur and white face. This is in stark contrast to the color of the newborn’s mother and the rest of the troop, which all sport a uniformly rich black coat and white stripe on their cheeks.

Full story here.

Monkey On Shoulder Causes Bus Accident

Driver Kumar Prabhakaran couldn’t leave his “friend” behind. Now trouble isn’t leaving him.

The young man is almost accused of “monkeying around” — steering a government-contracted bus with a monkey perched on his shoulder before he rammed the vehicle into a house, broke its wall and injured three persons today.

The friendship almost cost him his life: an angry crowd bayed for his blood but he managed to escape. He has lost his job and he could be sent to jail.

Police said Prabhakaran and his “friend” were sharing a particularly affectionate moment when things went awry: the animal was picking lice from the 22-year-old’s hair, possibly lulling him into a lazy trance, when he lost control.

Onlookers were stunned to see the animal scamper out of the vehicle moments after the accident in west Delhi. Fortunately, the bus, which some claimed was part of a feeder service for Delhi Metro commuters, had only two passengers. The injured were said to be pedestrians who couldn’t move away.

According to the passengers, the monkey had been a nuisance even when was not playing around with Prabhakaran, a disturbance throughout the journey as it scampered from part of the bus to another.

Full story here.

Mysterious Bale Monkey Survives Mostly On Bamboo

bale monkeyEthiopia's mysterious Bale monkey eats almost nothing but bamboo, according to the first study of the primate.

Discovered in 1902, little is known about the monkey, named after the region in Africa in which it lives.

But scientists have now discovered it spends most of its life in the trees of a bamboo forest, eating young leaves to avoid getting poisoned.

Very few primates depend on bamboo, and the Bale monkey's reliance on it makes the primate vulnerable to extinction.

Researchers from Ethiopia, US and Norway describe the behaviour of the Bale monkey for the first time in the International Journal of Primatology.

Full story here.