Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Monkey Species Discovered In The Amazon

Scientists on a WWF-backed expedition in an unexplored part of Brazil have discovered a new species of monkey. It’s still being studied, but is thought to be a previously unknown kind of titi monkey. The discovery of this and other ‘new’ species highlights the importance of protecting these remote areas of the Amazon.

The unknown monkey species was discovered during a 20-day expedition to one of the last unexplored parts of Brazil’s Mato Grosso state in December 2010.

This long-tailed, ginger-tinged little primate is believed to be a titi monkey, from the Callicebus genus, but has features on its head and tail never seen before in other titi monkey species in the area.

A specimen is now being studied at Brazil’s Emílio Goeldi museum, in order to provide a description to mammal experts and primatologists worldwide. This will also help expand awareness of the wildlife of this remote area.

Full story here.

Three-Month-Old Child Rescued From Monkey

A three month old was rescued from a monkey by residents of a Hazaribag village on Saturday after the animal took away the child and perched atop the roof of a house.

According to a villager, after feeding the child the mother lay the baby on the bed and was doing household chores when the monkey entered the house by braking open a portion of the roof. The animal picked up Satyam Kumar, the son of Ishwar Mehta, quietly from his bed before jumping to the roof the house.

Noticing the monkey sitting with the child on the roof, some villagers raised the alarm.

Immediately, The people of the locality surrounded the house and made frantic efforts to bring down the monkey by luring it. But the animal refused to budge and did not respond to the provocation. It kept on sitting firmly on the roof with the child on its lap, building tension in the area.

Seeing no other alternative, some villagers climbed on the roof and tried to snatch away the child from the monkey. In the process, two persons were injured and the child also received some bruises. However, after a short fight, the animal gave in and the child was handed over to his parents.

The child was taken to a private hospital for treatment.

Ajay Kumar, a resident of the area, said some monkeys had created a reign of terror in the region for the past six months because of which they apprehended sending their children to school. "The monkeys are entering the houses of the villagers and damaged valuable articles, including clothes and food," he alleged.

The villagers demanded that the forest department take immediate steps to drive away the monkeys and give suitable compensation to them.

Full story here.

Basement Baboon Finds New Home At Primate Shelter In Texas

Monkey, the 3-year-old baboon that had been living in an East Side laundry room until it was surrendered to the Dane County Humane Society earlier this month, has found a new home at a primate sanctuary in Texas.

On Monday morning, the animal was transferred to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, located on 186 acres in Dilley, south of San Antonio. The sanctuary is home to more than 500 primates, many of which were rescued from research laboratories, roadside zoos, and private owners.

The animals - macaques, vervets, and baboons - live in free-range enclosures with minimal human interference.

Humane Society workers initially suspected that the Madison baboon's canine teeth had been removed, which could put it at risk if it were placed with other baboons. But during a recent health inspection, it appeared the animal's adult canines will still come in, spokeswoman Gayle Viney said.

There are 13 other baboons in a 2.5 acre enclosure where Monkey will be housed, said sanctuary director Tim Ajax. The animal will be placed next to the other baboons and will be monitored to see how the other baboons react to him, Ajax said.

Full story here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baby Gorilla Rescued by Mountain Veterinary Officials

In an early August effort, an extremely endangered mountain gorilla infant was rescued by Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project officials.

However, while sharing their valor tale, the officials said that when they reached the accidental scene, they found that the helpless gorilla was badly jailed by some brutal poachers.

In the meantime, while sharing the details about the case with the AFP reporters, Jan Ramer, MGVP veterinary Manager, commented, "She was clearly sick and traumatized when we found her but now she seems healthy. She is comfortable with her care givers and she’s getting more and more confident”.

Moreover, she also affirmed that immediately after the rescue plan, the infant was treated with every possible antibiotic which helped him recover from severe respiratory infection, which was supposed to the main reason behind the deaths among mountain gorillas and the deadly infection also caused some serious infections to the human beings.

Full story here.

Orangutan At Japanese Zoo Cools Itself With Wet Towel

The intelligent primate was watched by stunned visitors at the Tama Zoological Park in Tokyo as it dipped the cloth into a pool of water and used it to wipe its forehead.

Remarkably, the big orangutan shows gentle poise as it wrings out the object with both hands in a hauntingly human-esque manner.

An inquisitive little friend quickly joined to have a look at all the commotion, but the larger orangutan wasn't in the mood to share and continued with its routine.

Towards the end of the footage the orangutan then gives his 'bench' a bit of wipedown and resembles a bar tender cleaning up after a big night.

Full story here.

Search For Escaped Monkey Ends With No Sign

Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center announced it has ended efforts to locate the animal. Known only as “EP13,” the 2-year-old rhesus macaque was discovered missing on June 15.

“Despite extensive efforts by Yerkes staff, we have not been able to locate this research animal,” Dr. Stuart Zola, director of Yerkes, said in a prepared statement issued last week.

“Efforts included searching the Yerkes property numerous times, conducting multiple census counts of the research animals and working with Gwinnett County Animal Control to follow up on 26 reported ‘sightings’ in the metro Atlanta area,” Zola said.

Zola said he has directed Yerkes staff to continue taking steps to prevent any such future occurrences, including using microchip technology to better track the animals and increasing security and video surveillance at the center.

The center will also pursue any recommendations regulatory authorities may make, he said. Earlier this summer, Yerkes officials met with representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to discuss steps they had taken in the search.

Full story here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Study: Chimpanzees As Altruistic As Humans

Female chimpanzees like to spontaneously help others rather than act selfishly, suggesting altruism may not be a uniquely human trait, US researchers said on Monday.

Scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in the southeastern state of Georgia tested seven female chimpanzees to see if observations of the species' generous behavior in the field matched their decisions in a lab.

Given a choice of two colored tokens, one which guaranteed a banana treat for two and the other which gave a reward for the chooser only, the chimps tended to pick the social option, said the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Previous studies have suggested that chimps tend to act selfishly in so-called pro-social tests.

The researchers also found that chimps most often acted generously when the waiting partner reminded the chooser gently of her presence but did not act up or bully her into picking a treat for two.

"We were excited to find female after female chose the option that gave both her and her partner food," said lead author Victoria Horner.

Full story here.

Humane Society Seizes Baboon Kept In Madison Man's Basement

A 3-year-old baboon living in a basement laundry room was surrendered by a Madison man this week and has a temporary new home at the Dane County Humane Society.

Patrick Comfert, Dane County Animal Services lead worker, said his office learned of the baboon after receiving an anonymous tip.

The owner, who lives on Camden Road on the city's East Side, denied owning a baboon on two separate occasions when questioned by officials. On Wednesday, Animal Services returned with an inspection warrant issued by a Dane County Circuit Court judge and the man admitted to having the animal.

"It was in pretty good condition," Comfert said of the baboon, adding the owner had erected a cage and rope swing. "But is a basement laundry room the proper environment for a highly evolved social primate? No."

On Friday the baboon, named Monkey, climbed around the impromptu, but strongly reinforced, kennel in a quarantined area at the humane society as officials put out calls and emails to zoos and primate rescues to find him a home.

Full story here.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Baboon Beauties Are More Likely To Get Bullied

Being a good-looking female baboon might bag you the most handsome male, but the latest study suggests that beauty has its drawbacks.

Scientists have found that the most desirable females – the ones that are on heat – are much more likely to be bullied than females that aren't ready to mate. What's more, it's the other females in the troop that do the persecuting.

The study also shows that if you're a good catch, and you're guarded by an alpha male, you're twice as likely to be tormented by your female peers as others that aren't guarded.

"Sexually-receptive female baboons get a lot more stick from their female colleagues than any other females do," says Dr. Elise Huchard from the German Primate Center, lead author of the study. "Our study highlights the dramatic relationship between the reproductive state of the female and the amount of aggression she faces."

The research, recently published in Behavioral Ecology reveals that sex is much more important than previously thought in shaping relationships between females in large primate groups.

"We were surprised at this finding, because it goes against the traditional view," says Huchard.

Full story here.

Monkeys Learn To Cover Their Eyes When They Want To Be Left Alone

The mandrills - the largest member of the monkey family - put their hands over their eyes when they want to be left alone.

It is a gesture that has never been seen before, and experts believe it is evidence of social culture among animals. They believe one of the mandrills made up the gesture and passed it on to her pals something that is common in humans but almost unheard of in animals.

No other monkeys use the gesture, says Mark E. Laidre, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, who reports on the mandrills in the Scientific American magazine. It is not to block the sun, and their eyes remain open.

In 1999, zookeepers saw a young female mandrill, Milly, make the gesture, but it was only when Laidre visited in 2007 that anyone realised its significance

Hed been observing mandrills in Africa, Europe and North America for more than five years.

"I saw this behaviour in the first few hours," he said. "I'd never seen this before; I knew it was very interesting. By covering their eyes with their hands, individuals possibly conveyed to others that they wanted to be left alone, and this message may have been respected as a 'do not disturb' sign."

He found that mandrills who covered their eyes gesture were generally left alone not approached or touched - by their peers.

It is believed the signal was first used by Milly and she has passed it on.

Full story here.

Escaped Monkey Shot, Killed After Injuring Woman

Bedford County Sheriff's deputies had to shoot and kill an escaped monkey that attacked a woman and a deputy.

Authorities said the Japanese macaque, also known as a Japanese snow monkey, escaped from a home on Frank Martin Road on Thursday morning.

42-year-old Michelle Pyrdum was standing in her driveway, washing her car, when the animal approached from behind.

"I had no idea he was even there. Then I could feel his teeth in the calf of my leg, and I really didn't know at that point what it was, I just knew I had to get it off me," she said.

Michelle's father said it happened so fast, they never saw it coming.

"It was weird looking, and I thought what in the world is that thing," said Charles Pyrdum. "The next thing I knew it was attacking Michelle, and she said 'Daddy, help me.'"

Michelle's mother called 911, and Bedford County Deputies arrived on scene within minutes.

Cpl. Ronnie Gault said when he arrived to help, the monkey jumped on his arm and left two deep cuts. Gault said he shot at the monkey, but it kept coming at him, so another deputy shot it twice with a shotgun and killed the animal.

Gault was treated and released. Pyrdum has a deep cut in her leg, and had to undergo surgery at Middle Tennessee Medical Center. Doctors told her she's lucky to be alive.

"Get rid of those things," she said. "I mean, there's no reason to have those things. And when they're a danger to other people, have some compassion for other people."

Full story here.

Timmy The Gorilla Dies At 52 In Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo has lost an iconic figure Tuesday morning when Timmy, a 52-year-old Silverback gorilla, was euthanized because of multiple health issues.

Timmy was born in 1959 in Cameroon in west central Africa and was brought to the Memphis Zoo in 1960. Zoo officials described him as “easy-going” and said Timmy's health steadily deteriorated over the past few years with chronic medical problems such as heart disease, heart arrhythmia, and chronic osteoarthritis.

The average life span for a captive silverback is the mid-40s, said zoo spokeswoman Kyle Shepherd.

“He was an ambassador for his species,” Shepherd said. “It's a loss to the zoo world in general, and certainly to the local zoo.”

Full story here.

20-Million Year-Old Ape Skull Found In Uganda To Throw New Light On Evolution

Researchers and scientists working in Uganda said on Tuesday that they have unearthed a 20 million-year-old well-preserved fossil skull of an ancient primate in Karamoja region northeast of Kampala, Uganda.

On July 18, scientists unearthed the remains while looking for fossils near the slopes of the Napak volcano in Karamoja.

The discovery is the result of the cumulative efforts of researchers for 25 years, and it is the earliest modern sized primate skull ever found in history. Researchers hope it throws new light on the process of evolution.

The researchers team who first came to Uganda in 1985 was led by Professor Brigitte Senut from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and Dr Martin Pickford, a paleontologist from the Collège de France in Paris.

The scientists said that first analysis of the fossil showed the ape was approximately 10 years old when it died. The size of the skull is the same as that of a chimp, but its brain was smaller.

Full story here.

Bob Barker Gives $230000 To House Chimps In Louisiana

Animal activist Bob Barker has gone to bat for dogs, cats, whales, pigeons, elephants and all kinds of other animals. Five chimpanzees are the beneficiaries of his latest donation.

Chimp Haven in Keithville, La., said his donation of $230,000 last month will pay to expand the 200-acre habitat to make room for the five chimps and care for them for one year.

Barker said the chimps came from a Texas research laboratory that went bankrupt.

Barker, who lives in Los Angeles, says the chimps have spent their whole lives on concrete in cages but now they will live in the forest and because they are curious and smart, they are expected to adapt well.

Full story here.