Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cheetah, Chimp From Tarzan Films, Dies

Condolences poured in to a Florida primate sanctuary Wednesday after the death of Cheetah, a chimpanzee who starred in the Tarzan movies during the 1930s.

"I grew up watching Tarzan and Cheetah from a boy," a man identifying himself as Thomas from England wrote on the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary's website. "God bless you Cheetah. Now you and Tarzan are together again."

The chimpanzee died Saturday after suffering kidney failure the week before, the sanctuary foundation said on the site. He was roughly 80 years old, Debbie Cobb, the sanctuary's outreach director, told CNN affiliate WFLA.

Cobb recalled Cheetah as an outgoing chimp who loved finger painting and watching football and who was soothed by Christian music, the station said.

Cheetah appeared in the Tarzan moves from 1932 through 1934, Cobb told WFLA. According to the website, "Tarzan the Ape Man" was released in 1932 and "Tarzan and his Mate" in 1934.

Full story here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

US Will Not Finance New Research On Chimps

The National Institutes of Health on Thursday suspended all new grants for biomedical and behavioral research on chimpanzees and accepted the first uniform criteria for assessing the necessity of such research. Those guidelines require that the research be necessary for human health, and that there be no other way to accomplish it.

In making the announcement, Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the N.I.H., said that chimps, as the closest human relatives, deserve “special consideration and respect” and that the agency was accepting the recommendations released earlier in the day by an expert committee of the Institute of Medicine, which concluded that most research on chimpanzees was unnecessary.

The report and the quick response by the N.I.H. do not put an end to research on chimps, but they were claimed as victories by animal welfare groups that have long been fighting for a ban on such research, arguing that chimps should not be subjected to experimental use. They said that the move was a step toward eventually ending chimp research, already a tiny segment of federal research.

Full story here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Got Those Post-Monkey Day Blues? We Have A Solution...

Everyone is recovering from the blur that was Monkey Day, wiping the fuzz from their eyes, only to realize that it will be a whole year until the next chance to celebrate again.   So, what do you do until then?

How about lifting your spirits and gaining some karma by doing something charitable and donating to some primate sanctuaries in need? Here is an alphabetical list of sanctuaries that are always looking for willing donors, please help them however you can:

(Please leave a comment if you know of one that I left off the list!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Monkey Day 2011!

Has it really been a year already? Well, I guess you've been patiently waiting a whole year for it, so here are your top 10 Monkey and Primate 2011 News highlights to help you celebrate Monkey Day!

  • 10) Monkey Related Deaths

    I'm not really sure what these poor people did to piss off these monkeys, but I'm definitely going to leave an extra banana or two under the monkey tree this Monkey Day just in case any angry simians are lurking around:

    Man Falls To Death From Rooftop After Monkey Attack

    Monkey Pushes Stone, 1 Dies On Spot, 2 Injured

    Woman Falls To her Death After Monkey Pounces On Her

  • 9) 'Alien' Monkey Causes Panic In Chinese Village

    I want to believe.

  • 8) Drunk Zoo Visitor Attacked By Monkeys After Climbing Into Pen

    I did this once in the Llama pen, I woke up with a new wool sweater.

  • 7) Experiment Creates Advertisements To Sell Food To Monkeys

    For some reason I'm imagining a monkey forced to stare what at a flashing screen while Beethoven's Ninth Symphony plays in the background. Welly, welly, welly, well...

  • 6) Monkey 'Witch' Burnt To Death By Community

    Joke time! What do you say to an angry witch? Ribbit.

  • 5) Monkeys Urinate On Themselves To Attract A Mate

    Coming soon to a perfume counter near you.

  • 4) Gorilla Gains Internet Fame After Walking Upright

    I was going to make a Robin Williams falling into a gorilla exhibit joke, but it just seems a little too obvious. Let's just move on.

  • 3) "Elvis" Monkey Among 200 New Species Discovered In Vietnam

    Hunk-a-hunk of burning monkey. Wait, wasn't that a few stories back?

  • 2) Lab Chimps See Daylight For First Time

    After 30 years of captivity, these chimps see sunlight and grass for the first time. It's pretty amazing to watch their reaction. The heartbreaking and heartwarming story of the year.

  • 1) Research Finds Poop-Throwing By Chimps Is A Sign Of Intelligence

    That's right, throwing feces is a sign of brain development. Now, everybody get out there and celebrate Monkey Day!

  • -----------------------------------------

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Wild Monkeys To Measure Fukushima Radiation

    monkeys radiation
    Scientists in Japan are struggling to assess the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster amid continuing concerns over high levels of radiation. Now help is at hand in the form of the area’s wild monkey population.

    Radiation levels in the woods near the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster is now going to be measured with the help of the primates.

    Researchers from Fukushima University have designed special collars for the monkeys which will feed information to scientists.

    Each of the collars contains a small radiation survey meter and a GPS transmitter and can be unclipped by remote control, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday.

    This will enable the research team, led by robotics professor Takayuki Takahashi, to recover them and collect data one to two months after releasing the monkeys back into the wild.

    Currently, radiation is measured using helicopters – a method which has proved incapable of obtaining the most accurate estimates.

    The project has also been designed to check radiation exposure in wild animals. The monkeys will allow the scientists to compare radiation levels on the ground and in the air, as they spend much of their time sitting high up in trees.

    The two-month project is to kick off in spring 2012.

    Full story here.

    Kentucky Police Purchase Monkey In Undercover Drug Sting

    "Monkey business in Rowan county," says Chief Deputy, Joe Cline, of the Rowan county sheriff's office.

    Sheriffs deputies in Rowan county have been cracking down on drug trafficking, making under cover buys. It was at Jerry Mynhier's house, where they found more than what they were looking for, "We received a lot of complaints about this guy. While we were in there doing our buys, we were able to find out that he had a monkey,That he wanted to sell," adds Mynhier.

    After talking with Mynhier in jail, he says the monkey was his pet, "It was named, when I got it, Snickers."

    He says he bought Snickers from a friend and that he became part of the family, "I have a little house next door that it was kept it in. It lived in a cage and I also let it run loose in there.

    Sheriff's deputies say that Snickers appeared neglected, but Mynhier says he took care of her,"I fed it bananas, peanuts, and grapes."

    Sheriffs deputies working undercover paid $500 for the spider monkey.

    "It required some extra contacts and calls and a lot was done prior to the transactions. We wanted to make sure that we didn't have monkey on our hands, not knowing how to take care of one, or where to take it," says Cline.

    Sheriffs deputies say that Mynhier faces several felony charges for possessing oxycodone and likely a misdemeanor charge for possessing a primate.

    "Selling the drugs is what I'm confused about, but having a monkey that was stupidity," says Mynhier.

    Full story here.

    Freezing Lemur Found On London's Tooting Common

    A ring-tailed lemur, native to the east African island of Madagascar, was found collapsed in sub-zero conditions on a south-west London common.

    The primate, who has been named King Julien after the character in the animated film Madagascar, was found on Tooting Common on Tuesday night.

    The animal has been treated for shock and hypothermia at an animal hospital and is making a good recovery.

    It is not known how it came to be on the common.

    The lemur was also suffering from severe dehydration when it was taken to the Blue Cross animal hospital in Victoria, central London.

    It was put on a drip and put in the hospital's isolation unit for close monitoring.

    Full story here.

    "Elvis" Monkey Among 200 New Species Discovered In Vietnam

    elvis monkey
    A monkey with an Elvis haircut and a psychedelic gecko and are among 208 new species described last year by scientists in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia.

    The animals were discovered in a region that is threatened by habitat loss, deforestation, climate change and overdevelopment, the WWF said.

    The newly described species include a "psychedelic gecko" in southern Vietnam and a nose-less monkey in a remote province of Burma that looks like it wears a pompadour.

    "While this species, sporting an Elvis-like hairstyle, is new to science, the local people know it well," the group said in a report.

    Full story here.

    Thursday, December 08, 2011

    Chimps 'Trade' Like Humans - Some Even Indulge In 'The Oldest Profession'

    What was the basis for the earliest friendships? If wild chimps are any guide: support in a fight, borrowing a valued tool, and a bite to eat now and then. Quite similar to our friendships today, in fact. Indeed, some chimps are so modern they have relationships that we would classify as friends with benefits.

    Primatologists are reassessing the complexity of chimpanzee society in the light of new findings that also suggest answers to a long-standing question: why share things with non-relatives?

    For the first time wild chimps in Senegal have been observed taking plant foods and tools from other chimps, who don't react to the intrusion. The chimps donating their stuff don't get paid, but neither do they protest. Instead, the trade appears to help build social cohesion.

    What's more, in another west African study, this time in Ivory Coast, a "market" has been described where chimps exchange commodities in the shape of both social behaviours including grooming and sex, and resources such as meat.

    Christophe Boesch of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, says we have only recently begun to appreciate the time and energy chimps invest in reciprocal relationships, and he compares chimp relationships to friendship. "These findings have prompted primatologists to use some terms that have in the past been reserved for humans."

    Jill Pruetz of Iowa State University in Ames and colleague Stacy Lindshield documented a kind of proto-trade in savannah chimps (Pan troglodytes verus) living in the Fongoli area of south-east Senegal. They witnessed 41 transfers of plant foods and tools. Chimps are known to share meat, but this is the first study to document them sharing other types of goods.

    Food or tools were transferred from males to females 27 times. In most cases this was the result of a female simply taking the item and the male doing nothing to stop her. In other chimp populations males may lash out in this situation but at Fongoli males outnumber females and have to be nice to them if they want to have sex later.

    Pruetz suspects that item transfer is a social lubricant. "It seems like the ulterior motive is social group harmony on some level," she says.

    If a male is transferring goods to another male, then Pruetz predicts that the male will expect support from the recipient of his largesse in any future aggressive encounter with other males. If a male shares with a female he is likely to expect sexual benefits from her. "But other age-sex classes were also involved," says Pruetz, "and I think this reflects the cohesive nature of this chimp community."

    Full story here.

    Monday, December 05, 2011

    Pakistan "Arrests" Indian Monkey For Crossing Border

    A monkey, which had crossed the Indian border, was arrested by wildlife officials in Bahawalpur, Express News reported on Monday.

    As soon as the monkey entered the Cholistan area of Bahawalpur, locals tried to capture it but failed as the monkey dodged past them.

    The residents of the area then informed the wildlife officials, who after some investigation and struggle, managed to capture the monkey.

    The monkey was later placed at the Bahawalpur Zoo and has been named Bobby.

    This is not the first case of such cross-border animal arrests.

    Last year, Indian police held a pigeon under armed guard after it was caught on an alleged spying mission for Pakistan.

    Full story here.