Monday, May 31, 2010

Thieves Take Monkeys In Midnight Wildlife Park Raid

monkeys stolenEight tiny monkeys would be "in total trauma" after being stolen in a night raid on a NSW wildlife park.

It is the second wildlife theft in less than two weeks after a pair of macaws were taken from Taronga Zoo.

The monkey rustlers broke three padlocks and cut power to two enclosures to steal the four pygmy marmosets and four cottontop tamarins from Symbio Wildlife Park at Helensburgh some time between about 5pm Sunday and 7am yesterday.

"They are from the Americas and are so tiny all eight of them would fit into a shopping bag," distressed park director John Radnidge said yesterday.

"The cottontops were a pregnant mum and the dad - Mitu and Bella and their two six-month-old babies, while the tamarins are all adult males - Malagro, Thiago, Che and Rico.

"They would all be in total trauma and by the looks of their enclosures they have been chased around and netted with force.

"I'm worried they will die because the thieves won't know what to feed them - they have specialised diets.


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Friday, May 28, 2010

New Ebola Drug 100 Percent Effective In Monkeys

ebola virus injected in monkeysThe Ebola virus first emerged in 1976, striking fear with the uncontrollable bleeding it causes and mortality rates up to 90 percent. Ever since then, scientists have been struggling to find a way to treat the infection or protect against it.

There has been progress, but nothing quite like the report in the May 28 issue of the scientific journal The Lancet. A team led by Thomas Geisbert of Boston University has used an experimental drug to protect monkeys from death after injecting them with massive doses of the most lethal strain of Ebola.

"We were stunned," Geisbert says. "I've been working with this virus for my whole career — 23 or 24 years, and we've had some mild successes where maybe we could go up to 50 percent protection," he said. "But I was really shocked that we got complete protection."

Virologist Heinz Feldmann of the National Institute on Allergies and Infectious Diseases, who often collaborates with Geisbert but was not involved in this work, called the results "a milestone" — and not just for treatment of Ebola.

"I think this will most likely also work for other related viral hemorrhagic fevers," Feldmann said, such as Marburg, Lassa and Crimean-Congo fever. All are deadly to one degree or another and cause outbreaks in Africa and elsewhere.


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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Police Shoot Ogba Zoo Escaped Chimp

The Director of the Ogba Zoo, Benin, Andy Ehanire, has faulted the circumstances behind the death of one of the chimpanzees in the care of the zoo.

Residents of Ogba, on the outskirt of Benin City were thrown into panic penultimate week when a chimpanzee allegedly escaped from its cage in the Ogba Zoological garden and attacked some fun seekers at the zoo.

One of the victims, Nwoke Chidozie, who sustained injuries in the incident, said he saw other visitors to the zoo scampering for safety after the chimp allegedly escaped from its cage.

“Upon sighting the animal, I tried to save my children from getting attacked, but was attacked by the animal,” he said.

He alleged that the animal grabbed his last son, Divine, and he had to fight the animal by grabbing it at the neck in order to rescue his son.

Police spokesperson, Peter Ogboi, confirmed the story, and added that men of the Airport Road Police Station had to shoot the animal dead when it became clear that it might cause harm to other people.

“The police were invited to the Ogba Zoo on the day of the incident, following the stampede caused by the chimpanzee,” he said. “When it became evident that the chimpanzee had became a threat to others on sight-seeing at the zoo, the best we could do was to ensure that those that have left the cage will have no access to people to injure then. At that point, what was normal was for the police to ensure that the animal does not exist.”

Mr Ehanire however faulted the report of the incident by the victims, including Mr Chidozie, accusing the man and his family of actually aiding the animal to escape from the cage.

He also debunked allegation that the animal caused physical harm to several other visitors to the zoo on the fateful day, as reported by a local television station.

“The man provided the chimpanzee with the iron rod with which it broke the cage,” he said. “A full grown chimpanzee like the one in question is 5 to 7 times stronger than a man. He would not have lived to tell the story if he held the animal. This same man who claimed that the animal attacked him mistakenly struck an attendant of the zoo with an iron rod on the head, while fighting with the chimpanzee. The attendant passed out on the spot, and other visitors had to prevail on the same man who claimed he was attacked to drive the attendant to a hospital in his car.”


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Rare Monkeys Give Birth At Dublin Zoo

Two new attractions at Dublin Zoo are making themselves known to the public. The monkeys, a white-crowned mangabey and a sulawesi crested macaque, were born within two weeks of each other last month at Dublin Zoo.

The youngsters are both part of a rare species belonging to both Indonesia and the south coast of Africa.

“It’s a black ball of fur with pink hands and face that flash when it’s not attached to it’s mother,” said team member Ciaran McMann, who is responsible for the macaque.

Both monkeys will become more visible to visitors now as they have started to venture away from their parents and rummage for food. “They live on two islands and have grass, bark and trees to climb and find cover in,” he added.

The babies cling to their mothers for the first one to three months of their life and because of this, it’s almost impossible to know what sex they are. “The girls have the binoculars out trying to guess,” McMann said.


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Group Alleges Lab Monkeys At K.U. Medical Center Suffered Neglect

monkey centerSevere negligence at the University of Kansas Medical Center caused lab monkeys to die of dehydration and suffer needlessly through morphine withdrawal, an animal-rights group claims.

In a complaint filed Tuesday, Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now asks the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the way the animals were treated and how they died.

“These primates were experiencing unrelieved pain,” said Michael Budkie, the organization’s executive director.

A spokesman for the medical center called the complaint “old news” and said KU has been working closely with USDA to correct problems at its animal research facility.

The USDA regulates animal research laboratories. It cited the medical center last year for about 160 violations at the research facility. KU has agreed to pay fines of $62,500 for 63 violations, according to the USDA.

Budkie said that in 2008, KU lab workers discovered two monkeys were severely dehydrated and close to death after water supplies to the research facility were disrupted. The monkeys had to be euthanized. A third monkey had died a few days earlier of what also appeared to be dehydration, Budkie said.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Western Lowland Gorilla Born At Blackpool Zoo

/baby gorilla sleepingA massive celebration of new beginnings at Blackpool Zoo took place on Tuesday 25th May as the award winning attraction officially opened its brand new sea lion pool and confirmed the births of its first ever Western Lowland Gorilla and Pileated Gibbon babies.

The birth of Blackpool’s first ever critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla has been hugely anticipated by zoo staff and visitors alike since the pregnancy was announced in December.

The beautiful bouncing baby, whose sex is yet to be confirmed, was born during the night and was found by keepers suckling from proud new mum Miliki on Friday 7th May.

Although mother and child are on public view, sightings of the baby have so far been rare, as it will spend the next few weeks clinging to Miliki’s chest until it builds strength and co-ordination.

At between eight and twelve weeks it will start to crawl and ride on its mothers back before learning to walk at around nine months.


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Louisville Zoo’s Injured Baby Gorilla Will be Moved to Columbus

injured baby gorilla mishaThe baby gorilla who was severely injured at the Louisville Zoo in April is recovering well but she must be moved to a zoo in Ohio to complete her recovery. Recently named Misha, the three-month-old suffered serious injuries, including the amputation of part of her left leg, in a family skirmish in the Gorilla Forest.

Curator Steve Wing says she wasn’t recovering well while still in her mother’s care, so they had to hand-raise the baby. That decision has led to another problem.

“Once we did that, her mother’s milk would dry up,” says Wing. “So we started looking at our options, and the best option for her to grow up to be a gorilla and know how to act and react to gorilla society would be for her to be raised by gorillas.”

Wing says Misha will be moved to the Columbus Zoo, which has developed an extensive gorilla surrogacy program. He says there are two adult female gorillas there that are trained to recognize when the baby is hungry, and deliver her to zoo staff for regular feedings.


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Baby Gorilla Born At Atlanta Zoo

gorilla bornZoo Atlanta's 25-year-old western lowland gorilla gave birth in the early morning hours Sunday, according to zoo officials. It's the third baby gorilla born to Kuchi and Taz, a 20-year-old silverback.

Kuchi and Taz are also parents of fraternal twins, Kali and Kazi, born in Nov. 2005.

"Kuchi has demonstrated over the years that she is a truly remarkable mother," says Dr. Dwight Lawson, senior vice president at the zoo. "We're excited about seeing her demonstrate those qualities with another new baby, and particularly about seeing Kali and Kazi interact with their new sibling."

The infant gorilla is already on exhibit, the zoo said. Kuchi's latest arrival is the 18th western lowland gorilla born at the zoo since the opening of the Ford African Rain Forest in 1988


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mystery Connecticut Monkey Wins Game of Hide and Seek

spider monkeyAfter engaging town and state officials in a game of hide-and-seek, a small monkey appears to have left town.

Dennis Schain, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, confirmed that a monkey was spotted feeding at a Dumpster at the Holly Hill Transfer Station off West Putnam Avenue on May 6 by a cleaning crew.

Since the reported sighting, however, the monkey has remained out of view, Schain said.

"We did go down and talk with the people who saw it," he said. "From that conversation, we believe it might have been a spider monkey because it was dark in color and maybe three feet tall."

Spider monkeys are both black and brown and have disproportionately long limbs and a long tail. They are not considered dangerous, officials said.

Schain said since the original sighting, DEP officials do not believe anyone else has seen the monkey. "It could have gone back home or wandered off," Schain said.

DEP officials have spent the last two weeks trying to coax the monkey out of hiding, Schain said.

"We were trying to use some food to make it want to keep coming back and get comfortable to create an opportunity to capture it," he said. "But now that it has not been seen in a couple of weeks it is probably not in that area."


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Four Gorillas Die In Volcanoes National Park, Possibly From Cold

gorilla deathThree baby mountain gorillas and an adult female have died in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, possibly from a combination of extremely cold and rainy weather.

Around 680 mountain gorillas remain in the wild, making them one of the world's most endangered great apes, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a statement.

The statement said the cause of death was not yet known but there was no indication of foul play.

"We are all shocked and saddened by the death of these baby gorillas as well as the adult female, and by the grave implications for the mountain gorilla population as a whole," Eugene Rutagarama, director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program, said in the statement.

Around half the mountain gorilla population live in the Virunga chain of volcanoes which straddle the central African countries of Rwanda, Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The rest live in Bwindi Impenetrable Park in Uganda.

The primates are under threat from poachers, the destruction of their habitat, the live ape trade, disease and fragmentation, the WWF said.


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Monday, May 17, 2010

Baby Monkey Dies At Taronga Zoo

baby monkeyThe three-week-old monkey Gan Ju died at Taronga Zoo today.

The endangered Francois Langur leaf-eating monkey was found dead by keepers, who said he wasn’t receiving enough milk from his mother, Saigon.

The bub was born on April 22 to Saigon and father Hanoi and was named Gan Ju, meaning orange in Mandarin.

Gan Ju was the zoo’s second infant, after Saigon gave birth to Elke in 2009, who had to be hand-raised by keepers.

``When we stepped in as surrogate parents for her last infant we fed and cared for the baby in front of Saigon, in the hope it would help her with future newborns,’’ the zoo’s Asian primates supervisor Melissa Shipway.

The zoo’s senior veterinarian Larry Vogelnest said unfortunately life and death were part of the realities that zoo keepers and vets dealt with every day.

“A post mortem examination conducted this morning found he was quite underweight for his age and appeared not to have been receiving enough milk from his mother,” Dr Vogelnest said.

“Further tests are being conducted. Saigon is still a young and a relatively inexperienced mother, but she made good progress with the keepers’ hands-off approach, allowing her to further develop her mothering skills.

``We recently welcomed a male and female Francois Langur from Beijing which will join our breeding program for this critically endangered species.

``This female is an experienced mother and we hope that she helps Saigon learn the parenting skills she needs to successfully raise her offspring in the future.’’


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Undocumented Primate 'Defies Classification'

Nosmips aenigmaticusIt's in the teeth. An odd mosaic of dental features recently unearthed in northern Egypt reveals a previously undocumented, highly-specialized primate called Nosmips aenigmaticus that lived in Africa nearly 37 million years ago.

Because it is only known from its teeth, the paleontologists who discovered it don't know what its body looked like, but the find likely represents an ancient African lineage whose discovery makes early primate evolution on that continent more complicated.

"It comes as a bit of a shock to find a primate that defies classification," said lead researcher and assistant professor of Anatomical Sciences Erik Seiffert of New York's Stony Brook University.

Seiffert says during the last 30 years or so, three major primate groups were established as being present in Africa some 55 to 34 million years ago: early monkeys, lemur-like primates, and an extinct group called adapiforms. But the newly discovered primate's teeth place Nosmips in Africa at the same time. What's more, its teeth suggest it could be an evolutionary oddity that is not closely related to any of these groups.

Nosmips' discoverers report the finding in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Science Foundation supported the research.


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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tampa Monkey Spotted, Again

tampa monkeyDavid Smitherman was driving home from work Tuesday when something caught his eye.

To his left, about 75 yards down, Smitherman saw the elusive rhesus monkey darting across the street on Druid Road near U.S. 19 in Clearwater.

"This monkey looked like he owned the area," Smitherman said. "He didn't look like he was concerned about anything."

One of Smitherman's relatives alerted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The FWC chose not to conduct an active search because the spotting was so close to massive brush. They did not believe it would be possible to find the monkey in the brush.

They were also concerned about the proximity to U.S. 19, a busy highway in the middle of rush hour.

Gary Morse, FWC spokesman, did reiterate that, while everyone has joked about the mysterious monkey, the monkey is dangerous.


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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Two Arrested Over Monkey Meatballs

monkey meatballsThe man and wife are accused of providing meat from Javan langur or silver-leaf monkeys found in Baluran National Park, East Java province, to sellers of "bakso", a spicy meatball soup.

"They were arrested late in March and are now in police custody in Situbondo district," local deputy police chief Heru Prasetyo said.

"After a tip-off from local people we arrested the wife with 35 kilograms (77 pounds) of meat from about 25 langurs. We also seized one rifle and wood sticks to kill the monkeys," he said.

The couple had confessed to selling the monkey meat for six years, he added.

They could face up to five years' jail and fines of 100 million rupiah (£7,200).

Police also found monkey bones, tails and skins at the couple's house.

Conservationist Tri Prayudi said the couple could have killed more than 500 primates and were probably not the only ones selling monkey meat as food.


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Natureland Zoo Devastated By The Loss Of Ricky The Monkey

ricky monkeyNatureland Zoo's iconic special-needs Capuchin Monkey, Ricky, sadly died overnight of a suspected heart attack. Ricky was 17 years old and was an immensely popular animal for the Zoo.

Operations Manager, Gail Sutton, said her team was shocked and devastated by his passing: "This morning we arrived to find that Ricky had passed away through the night. He had been unwell for the past few weeks but blood tests did not reveal anything unusual. He had been on various medications and we noticed a significant improvement in the past few days. Yesterday he was even chasing ducks on the lawn so it was a massive blow to find he had died this morning."

"He was such an important part of the Natureland experience and it continually amazed us just what an icon he was not just for Natureland but for Nelson in general - people from overseas came to Natureland especially to see Ricky. He was immensely popular with visitors and was a favourite amongst staff" adds Gail.

Ricky suffered a brain injury when he was only a few hours old, following an attack by his jealous brother Denis. Ricky later caught a nasty cold and his life was in the balance at which point staff members decided to hand-raise him.

"The fact he was hand-raised meant many people had the opportunity to meet him up close and even touch him, hence the reason he was so popular. These close encounters also meant that Ricky helped to significantly raise the profile on the plight of his wild cousins and primates in general" adds Gail.


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