Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Texas Deputy Takes Down Monkey on the Lam

After a monkey bit a game warden's arm and managed to elude authorities for several days, Sowell on Wednesday morning directed a deputy to shoot and kill the animal. The monkey had been released during the wildfire evacuations by its Waller County owners.

"There had been several sightings in the last two days, but he wasn't going to be captured," Sowell said. "Safety is my priority and it was my direction to take it down."

In addition to the monkey sinking its teeth into a game warden, Sowell said he received reports from residents who had been startled by the monkey when it climbed on top of their vehicles and started jumping up and down.

A deputy and officials with the Waller County Animal Control Unit located the monkey in the West Magnolia Forest near Plantersville after residents reported its location.

It was one of 10 rescued monkeys kept on a ranch in Waller County, Sowell said, adding he didn't have many details about the owner or where the Rhesus monkeys were rescued from.

Of the other nine, seven were back with their owner and the other two likely died in the fire, but may still be on the run, Sowell said.

The body of the monkey shot by a Sowell deputy was taken to Baker Veterinary Clinic in Hempstead, where a rabies test was conducted, officials said.

Full story here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Smoking Ape Goes Cold Turkey

Shirley the chain-smoking orang utan is being given the “cold turkey” treatment at the Malacca Zoo to help her kick the habit.

The primate will be placed under intensive rehabilitation for two weeks before being transferred to Sarawak.

“Actually, Shirley picked up the smoking habit while living in a longhouse as a pet in Sarawak and not in Johor Zoo,” Perhilitan deputy director-general Dr Zaaba Zainol Abidin said.

He said the officer in charge of the rehabilitation would have to be very “strict” with Shirley by not entertaining her request for cigarettes.

Dr Zaaba also said the Malacca Zoo would conduct a thorough medical check-up on the female orang utan to determine whether Shirley suffered from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer or difficulty in conceiving.

Full story here.

Marmoset Babies Born At Colchester Zoo

Baby primates have been born at Colchester zoo following two successful breeding programmes.

Gizmo, a Geoffroy’s marmoset, gave birth to a healthy set of triplets and are already on show at the zoo’s rainforest walkthrough enclosure.

Not to be outdone, Olive, the zoo’s silvery marmoset, gave the birth to a single offspring the very next day.

The mother and baby are doing well and can be viewed at the Worlds Apart Walkthrough exhibit.

The latest editions to the primate families were born on August 28 and 29.

Full story here.

Lab Chimps See Daylight For First Time

In just one day tens of thousands of people have watched a stirring video of joyful and tentative laboratory chimpanzees getting their first taste of sunlight.

“They hugged, they laughed,” said Michael Aufhauser, founder of the Gut Aiderbichl Affen-Refugium near Salzburg in Austria which has taken in and built new enclosures for the chimps.

“Imagine, one is 30 years imprisoned in an elevator, and then suddenly the door opens,” he told the German television station RTL which filmed the moment.

“They have never learned to climb. They had been placed as infants in the laboratory.”

Some, like the 37-year-old chimp Susi, had been in a lab for three decades.

In the video, the first three chimps crowd a doorway, heads swivelling back and forth, as they absorb the sights and smells and feel of outdoors. The trio hug, glance around warily, then venture out as a fourth and then a fifth chimp appears in the doorway.

Liberated, they stroll around the grass gleefully.

Full story here.

'Mosaic' Fossil Could Be Bridge From Apes To Humans

Australopithecus sediba
A pair of fossils from a South African cave have scientists both excited and puzzled. Scientists say the fossils — an adult female and a juvenile — could be the long-sought transition between ape-like ancestors and the first humans.

The bones belong to creatures related to the famous Lucy fossil found in Ethiopia in the 1970s, but their owners lived more recently — just 2 million years ago.

The reason for the excitement? Ask anthropologists what they dream about, and many will tell you it's the fossil of the last pre-human ancestor that led directly to us. Nobody's found it, and any who claim to usually get publicly whacked by their peers.

Lucy and her kind — the diminutive, ape-like Australopithecus that lived 3.2 million years ago — may well have evolved into us, the genus Homo. But a lot happened in between Lucy and the earliest humans, who emerged just over 2 million years ago. The true "transitional" species must have lived about the time we emerged.

Full story here.

Men Charged After 15 Monkeys Found Dead At Los Angeles Airport

Two men were charged with animal cruelty after 15 monkeys they were shipping from Guyana to Thailand were found dead at Los Angeles International Airport, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Florida-based wild animal broker Robert Matson Conyers, 44, and Akhtar Hussain, a Guyana supplier, have each been charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty, Los Angeles City Attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan said.

Conyers appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Mateljan said, while Hussain remains and large and was thought to be in Guyana, in South America. Each man faces up to six months in jail and a $20,000 fine if convicted.

Mateljan said Hussain sold around two dozen primates to a buyer in Bangkok in February of 2008 and hired Conyers to deliver them.

Conyers attempted to ship 14 Marmosets, five white-fronted Capuchins and six Squirrel Monkeys from Guyana to Bangkok through Miami, Los Angeles and then China, but the animals were refused transit in China because of an irregularity with shipping documents, Mateljan said.

Fourteen of the monkeys died of neglect, starvation and hypothermia in transit back to Los Angeles, he said, and another had to be euthanized. The surviving animals were taken to the San Diego Wild Animal Park for further care.

Full story here.