Thursday, August 29, 2002


Published Aug 30, 2002

The Science Museum of Minnesota, which is putting the final touches on a movie about world-famous primatologist Jane Goodall, recently got word that the alpha male chimp featured in the movie attacked and killed a human baby. "It's one of those tragic things that can happen when wild animals and humans live on top of one another," said museum spokesperson Carleen Pieper, who noted that officials at the Tanzania park where the incident occurred determined that the chimp's actions were part of its normal behavior. "The poor young woman with the baby just got too close" to the chimps, Pieper said....


Goodall urges loggers to save African forests
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
By Ed Stoddard, Reuters

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Africa's ravaged rainforests and their wealth of species are doomed unless greens help persuade logging firms to change their ways, renowned primates expert Jane Goodall said Tuesday....

Humanity's closest living relatives, the chimpanzees and gorillas, are among the animals threatened by the illicit trade in wild meat and the loss of the forests.

"It's terrible ... the number of chimpanzees in the wild a century ago was around two million and is now around 200,000 and some people think the number is even less," Goodall said. She said they were mere "relics" in most of the 21 nations where they still live, small groups clinging on against an onslaught of human encroachment. Some of their biggest populations are found in Gabon, Cameroon, and the two Congos....

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

While AIDS research on chimpanzees has been an abject failure, your tax dollars continue to help primate researchers live in style. For example, Washington National Primate Research Center white-coat welfarists Gene Sackett (a student of the sadistic Harry Harlow) and Tim Rose have expensive homes near the University of Washington, and Rose has a yacht docked in the lake behind his house - all paid for by the blood and tears of monkeys.


Twenty Years of Bogus Monkey Research Lines Pockets

Santa Barbara, Calif., Aug. 28 (RealSkinny Newswire) -- Research on an AIDS-like disease in monkeys continues to help scientists pay for house, boat, and timeshare vacation retreats. Two decades after the human and monkey diseases were identified, no cure for either is in sight.

"These animals have been indispensable for the incomes of the researchers and expansion of a large public boondoggle,” said Rick Bogle, founder of the Primate Freedom Project in Santa Barbara, California.

About 300 researchers from around the world will genuflect before this achievement and discuss new ways to bilk the public when they gather Sept. 8-11 in Monterey, Calif., for the 20th Annual Symposium on Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS. The California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) at the University of California, Davis, is hosting the conference.

More than 20 years ago, scientists at the UC Davis primate center were dumbfounded by a mysterious and deadly outbreak of infections in their monkeys. Signs of weakened immune systems were completely missed as scientists watched monkeys die.

At about the same time, a deadly new disease known as AIDS was making the headlines, but scientists at the Davis primate center still missed the connection.

Scientists at Davis would later awaken to the fact that the monkey disease, called simian AIDS by those with a keen sense of funding potential, was caused by the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a close relative of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes human AIDS.

The confusing similarities between the human and simian disorders and the viruses that cause them led scientists to make guesses about the origins and progression of human AIDS that proved to be misleading and wasteful of huge amounts of money and killed many thousands of monkeys -- work that continues today.

Today, scientists at the UC Davis center remain blindly focused on the SIV monkey model of AIDS to study ways to vaccinate against HIV transmission from adult to adult and from mother to offspring. They are also tackling the problem of eliminating the public’s growing concern about the profound similarities between human and monkey suffering. Finally, they are testing the ability of lies to prevent critics from gaining the upper hand.

"The monkey disease is remarkably financially productive in spite of its failure to model the human disease," said Bogle.

An authority on reaping public funds through claims of similarity between the simian and human immunodeficiency viruses will give the keynote address at the conference, highlighting the careers that have been built on nonhuman primate research.

Some of the results from studying immunodeficiency viruses in monkeys include: gaining an in-depth knowledge of the natural history of the simian AIDS viruses which has meant little to nothing for those suffering with the human disease; the potential for cross-species transmission between monkeys and lab workers; the foolishness of modeling an AIDS vaccine on studies showing that monkeys became resistant to simian AIDS when injected with weakened versions of the virus; demonstrating that SIV alone, rather than environmental or other factors, causes simian AIDS and thereby debunking the claims of witchcraft.

The symposium traces its origins to 1983, when about 30 researchers from the then seven U.S. primate research centers met at Tulane University to discuss how they could cash in on AIDS. The monkey disease had some similarities to AIDS, which was first described in 1981. HIV was first identified in 1983 and SIV in 1985, signaling the possibility of a funding bonanza.

The founders of the primate centers could never have imagined that monkeys, specifically the Asian rhesus macaque, would generate such ucrative careers. Over the past 20 years, AIDS has sickened or killed nearly 40 million people. An estimated 68 million people will have died as a result of AIDS by 2020. Meanwhile, new carpet is being installed in the primate center directors’ offices.

Today, more than half of the research done at the federally funded primate research centers is AIDS-related. In fact, directors of the primate centers maintain they are unable to meet the demand for monkeys for AIDS research and other work because of limited resources. The recent focus on bioterrorism research has further strained an already tight supply. Massive breeding is planned.

The National Institutes of Health created the primate centers in 1962 to develop donor farms for human organ transplants.

For more information on the symposium, see

RealSkinny Newswire - The Real Public Interest Newswire / 805 968 4531


[Photo] A chimpanzee enjoys its view of the Sydney skyline from its revamped forest home at Taronga Zoo, August 28, 2002. The A$69,000 (US$37,000) upgrade, which includes brand new timber bridges and 10-16 meter (yard) high Iron Bark trees, offers the 17 strong chimpanzee group a much higher vantage point of Sydney's skyline.

[Photo] Mother Lisa enjoys a watermelon as her three-month-old daughter Lani clings to her side during a feeding session at the opening of their revamped forest home at Sydney's Taronga Zoo August 28, 2002.

[Photo] A chimpanzee enjoys its view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge from its revamped forest home at Taronga Zoo August 28, 2002.

For those of us who are not famous, and whose leaders are not speaking for us, peaceful protests are an important way to make our voices heard. "A time comes when silence is betrayal. Silence benefits the oppressor, never the oppressed." And in fact, it is more likely the Summit itself that will not be productive. See "Looking for Icebergs."


Primate Expert Speaks at U.N. Summit
Tue Aug 27, 5:14 PM ET
By KATHY CHENAULT, Associated Press Writer

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - Primate expert Jane Goodall told participants at the U.N. development summit Tuesday the fight against terrorism threatens to overshadow environmental concerns in the United States....

Goodall also expressed concern that anti-globalization protesters will divert attention from the summit proceedings.

"I understand their concerns. I sympathize with their causes. But what we really need to do is put that energy into our discussions and meetings, not give fuel to the people who warn about overzealous environmentalism. Protests, even if they are peaceful, just aren't productive," she said....

"I miss the forest, I go twice a year to see the chimps. But you wouldn't believe the access I can get because of my work," Goodall said. "People may turn away Greenpeace, but they'll invite me to meet with them. It's a quiet approach."...


Animal House: The Wild Side of Exotic Pets
By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

NEW YORK — The underbelly of the trading world known as the black market usually conjures up images of diamonds, drugs and guns -- not lions and tigers and bears.

But the exotic pet trade is thriving, with everything from large cats and wild monkeys to prairie dogs and boa constrictors being bought and sold.

"It's a multi-faceted problem," said Alan Green, author of Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species. "There are public health issues, public safety issues and animal protection issues."...

Not only is it legal to own exotic pets, it's also legal to trade them as long as the buyer or seller has a USDA-issued license. But a number of the animals are laundered -- bought and sold so many times that they vanish on paper -- which makes it impossible to trace their history, according to Green.

Though zoos argue that they sell their surplus animals only to reputable dealers, Green said evidence suggests that they, along with circuses and university labs, help supply the exotic pet black market....

Tuesday, August 27, 2002


Analyses of the similar bones to the fossils lead a leading physiologist to term the anthropological finding as "farfetched speculation"

San Diego, CA -- The remains included a jawbone with teeth, hand bones and foot bones, fragments of arms, and a piece of collarbone. The remains also included a single toe bone; its form providing strong evidence that the pre-human creatures walked upright....

The world's media trumpeted the news of this anthropological find. Time magazine dedicated a cover story to the discovery; a staff writer, referred to the special toe bone stating "This· (AME-VP-1/71) proves the creature walked on two legs. . . . How apes became human. Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba. What a new discovery tells scientists about how our oldest ancestors stood on two legs and made an evolutionary leap."

Not so fast, states a leading physiologist and an authority on the study of fossils. He believes that if length was the only objective measurement made on AME-VP-1/71, then there might be a simple method to yield objective evidence to bridge the gap between the scant subjective determinations and that the far-reaching conclusion about this "evolutionary leap."...

...the objective ancestry analyses for fossil bones assert that the conclusions of Haile-Salassie and Robinson were farfetched speculations.

Monday, August 26, 2002


Gene Separates Early Humans from Apes
Mon Aug 26, 4:01 PM ET
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gene that separates humans from the apes and all other animals seems to have disappeared from humans up to three million years ago, just before they first stood upright, researchers said on Monday.

Most animals have the gene but people do not -- and it may be somehow involved in the expansion of the brain, the international team of researchers said.

The gene controls production of a sialic acid -- a kind of sugar -- called Neu5Gc, the researchers write in an advance online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This mutation occurred after our last common ancestor with bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) and chimpanzees, and before the origin of present-day humans," they wrote. Neanderthal skeletons, the oldest early humans from who DNA has been obtained, also lack the sugar.

"It happens to be first known genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees where there is a major outcome," Ajit Varki of the University of California San Diego, who led the research, said in a telephone interview. "We are exploring the consequences of this."...

There are unfortunately more than two facilities using chimpanzees for biomedical research. See Lab Prisoners. Contrary to the facility's assertions, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees fail in their oversight duties by typically rubber-stamping any and all experiments, no matter how frivolous or painful. IACUCs merely provide a facade behind which researchers hide from public concerns about their misuse of sentient beings.


Animal testing dogs Yerkes research center
By ERIC SUNDQUIST Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

In terms of animal suffering and death in the United States, food production far outdistances animal experimentation, the former claiming billions of animals annually, and the latter tens of millions. Food production, with its increasingly intensive methods that confine animals in unnatural, tight quarters, is lightly regulated, while vivisection, which has arguably become more humane in recent decades, is subject to review by Institutional Care and Use Committees, U.S. Public Health Service rules and the National Institutes of Health.

Still, research and testing on animals remains a top issue with animal protectionists. Painful testing has been used for relatively trivial purposes, such as development of cosmetics; vivisection sometimes involves inflicting long-lasting pain and deprivation on primates and other intelligent, social animals; and, while human use of animal for food is a prehistoric practice, modern animal experimentation is new and subject to questions about its necessity.

These factors all come to bear on the Yerkes Regional Primate Center at Emory University in Atlanta. Many labs, including Yerkes, experiment on rats, but Yerkes is one of just two American facilities doing medical research on great apes.

In his books advocating legal rights for some animals, law professor Steven M. Wise cites the case of Jerom, "a chimpanzee whom biomedical researchers imprisoned for life inside a small, dim, often chilly cell that lay within a large windowless grey concrete box at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Without mercy, and from the time he was a baby, they repeatedly infected Jerom with HIV viruses. After a hellish decade, he died. In a February 2000 speech in Boston's Faneuil Hall, constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe said, 'Clearly, Jerom was enslaved.'"

Yerkes now acknowledges that the experiments on Jerom did not advance the cause of finding a vaccine for AIDS.

Animal protectionists in Atlanta frequently target Yerkes for campaigns, operating an ongoing Web site at Before incoming director Stuart Zola had moved into his home last year, someone distributed fliers among his new neighbors showing a monkey in restraints, screaming as a human hand appears to peel back its scalp. Says anti-Yerkes campaigner Jean Barnes, "We're going to close that place one way or another. We're going to close Yerkes."...

Stuart Zola, the aforementioned director of the facility, is a neuroscientist who went to Emory from the University of California at San Diego. Despite being targeted by flier-wielding activists, he argues that animal researchers must stay in the public eye, explaining their methods and the benefits of their work. Here is an edited account of a July conversation:

...Q. If something causes suffering or is an invasive procedure with an ape or another primate, is that different than a mouse or a dog? Do you distinguish by species?

A. The requirements and the review of a research protocol, whether it is for a rodent or for a dog or for a monkey or for whatever it is, is essentially the same. Now is there some possibility of speciesism here, in the sense that the great apes are somehow treated differently? We are more sensitive to the kind of work that goes on in champanzees in many ways, but in terms of the review process, I think that review process -- the IACUC level -- that process is the same....

...Q. People don't test, say, household chemicals on primates, do they?

A. That's not our program here at Yerkes, but I would say it may not necessarily be a good idea to separate those things out. Because that kind of research and testing is also relevant. It's going to be important for you to know that when your kids get under the sink in your house, that the stuff they take and swallow is not going to kill them. So there's some merit to even that kind of work....


Some behaviors exhibit human qualities
By ERIC SUNDQUIST Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

New knowledge about the richness of animals' behavior has contributed to people's willingness to see nonhumans in a new light -- less as objects to be used and more as fellow beings. Some examples:

Communication: Many apes, such as Zoo Atlanta's orangutan Chantek, can speak through sign language....

Art: ...When it comes to creating pieces, a researcher may have seen the genesis of human art when he noticed a gorilla tracing his shadow on a wall. Many chimps love to paint; some have received glowing reviews from experts who did not know the artist was an ape. Picasso had a chimp painting on his wall.

Culture: Researchers studying monkeys on a Japanese island saw evidence of transmission of learned behavior....

...Cultural toolmaking: Wild chimpanzees have been seen using stone hammers and grooved platforms, which could be mistaken for stone-age people's, to crack hard nuts. It takes youngsters many years of practice and observation to master the nut-cracking operation.

Altruism: There are many examples of apes and other animals putting themselves at risk to save others in their group.


'We need to place human life central'
By ERIC SUNDQUIST Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

Frans de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University, is the author of several books that break down supposed walls between humans and other animals. His "Good Natured" (1996) explored animals' sense of morality. "The Ape and the Sushi Master" (2001) described how animals pass along learned behavior, or share culture.

Yet de Waal does his work at Emory's Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, a facility often attacked by animal protectionists for its invasive research on monkeys and apes.

De Waal discussed his views last month on people's relationship with animals. Here is an edited account:

Q: Some animal protectionists argue that, if you acknowledge that humans are animals like apes, dogs, whatever, then humans can't say such things as, "We won't do this to human children, but we'll do it to monkeys." But you don't come down quite that way.

A: No, I'm arguing in my book that in any human morality that I can imagine, always the human species will have to be central....I certainly don't agree with the animal rightists who argue that a chimpanzee should have exactly the same rights as a human.

Q: I'm not sure they go quite that far. They wouldn't give chimpanzees the right to vote or drive a car. Many would say they have a right to liberty and not to be killed.

A: There are two arguments. One is that you don't know where that ends. If you give equal rights to chimps, then why not baboons? And why not dolphins? Before you know it you have to give it to everything. And second, it depends on what they mean by equal rights, because equal rights for me would mean that if there's a hospital bed and there's a chimp sick at the field station and you are sick, and there's only one space open, we would have a tossup between the two of you. Is that what they mean by equal rights?

Q: Here you work doing animal behavioral research at an institution that does cause some animal suffering in biomedical research. How do you resolve that yourself?

A: At the moment we have a surplus of chimpanzees, and that is largely because there's less and less invasive research on chimpanzees. So I'm very happy that we have reached that point, where we may not need the chimpanzees so much any more, and can do everything we need to do on rats and mice, or maybe monkeys on occasion.

But if someone would come to me and say, "I can solve the AIDS problem in Africa that affects now 40 million people, and I can only solve it by using 200 of your chimpanzees," and he can convince me that it cannot be done with monkeys and it cannot be done with rats and anyone else, I would find it very difficult to tell this person "No, you cannot do that."

Q: It sounds like a utilitarian balancing of harms and benefits.

A: Yeah, it's the gain-pain balance. And so if you were to use 200 chimpanzees to save one human life, that would be problematic for me. But if you can save 40 million lives, that's something else. And so that's the way I'm looking at the biomedical question. But in the end I'm very happy if someone can say "Well, we don't need the chimp any more." And I think many of us would be very happy if we would reach that point.

Q: Some utilitarians would say if you could take 200 humans, and work on them to save 40 million, it would be worth it, too.

A: No, that would not be acceptable.

Q: What's the difference?

A: The difference is that that's humans....


Nonhuman rights
Florida initiative fuels debate about animal protection
By ERIC SUNDQUIST Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

Florida voters will decide in November whether to amend the state's constitution to protect pigs....

Voters will consider animal protections in other states as well. While Floridians vote on hogs, Oklahomans will decide whether to ban cockfighting, and Arkansas voters will consider making some forms of animal cruelty a felony.

Across the Atlantic, Germany amended its national constitution this year to protect "the natural foundations of life" for animals as well as people. Switzerland adopted a constitutional amendment in 1992 acknowledging animals as "beings" rather than things.

In short, the Western world, which not long ago ascribed the same moral value to animals as to plants or stones, is having a change of heart:
...In the '80s and '90s, protectionists' protests made fur-wearing controversial and pressured many companies into lessening or halting product testing on animals. With stricter federal controls, the number of animals used in research experiments also declined. Every Western country but the U.S. has stopped experimenting on chimpanzees, for example, and the practice is increasingly rare here....

...The ballot measures, and the popular move among legislatures to increase criminal penalties for cruelty, reflect the growing belief that animals have intrinsic worth, and there are moral considerations in causing them to suffer.

Americans even seem to embrace the concept of legal rights for some animals. According to a 1999 Zogby poll for a chimp-advocacy group, 51 percent of Americans say chimps should have rights "similar to children with a guardian to look out for their interests," and 9 percent say they should have the same rights as adults....

...Writes "The Color Purple" novelist Alice Walker, "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men."...

Legal personhood for chimps

Protectionists, inspired by the ethical arguments of both Singer and Regan, have advanced various arguments for establishing legal rights for animals. One lawyer who commands attention inside and outside the movement, through two popular books and an association with primate researcher Jane Goodall, is Stephen Wise, who teaches at Harvard and Vermont law schools.

Wise points out that children and the mentally ill are viewed as persons with rights, but not all the rights of a competent adult. He argues that some animals also deserve legal personhood with proportional rights. Animals wouldn't be able to vote, but they might have rights to liberty or bodily integrity.

Humans, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans and Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins clearly qualify for the granting of legal personhood, Wise argues in his 2002 book "Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights." African gray parrots and African elephants may also qualify under a more expansive interpretation.

"It takes a while for these ideas to get a toehold in the legal system," Wise said in an interview. "If you've never seen these arguments before, they can seem strange."

He says that chimpanzees may get rights first, because of their high intelligence and low commercial value. They might be assigned legal guardians, much as parentless children are.

"Once that happens," he says, "there will be a paradigm shift. I predict there will be a gradual extension of rights."...


Kanzi gets a vote on sanctuary design
By Beth Dalbey
Bonobo chimpanzees expected to move to Des Moines by at least spring 2004

Though the design of the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary has yet to be sketched on paper, it will have to pass muster with Kanzi, the celebrated bonobo chimpanzee that responds to voice commands and taught himself to manufacture stone tools.

If allowing Kanzi and seven other bonobos the last word on design of the structure that will be their home by at least spring 2004 seems a bit of a stretch, internationally known researcher Sue Savage-Rumbaugh assures that it is not. Communication with bonobos, humans' closest living relative with 99 percent similarity in DNA, is limited only by questions asked, she said as she and others associated with the project gathered last week at the proposed 200-acre IPLS site in southeastern Des Moines....

Once a concept is completed, Kanzi and the other bonobos will use a computer joystick to select colors for sleeping quarters and to determine how the kitchen will be arranged. Hind said the name of the facility would be "something that pleases Kanzi," who has been called the Albert Einstein of the primate world by some researchers....

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Black Pine Animal Park says it "is not just a zoo, it's a sanctuary for rescued and retired exotic animals." It is truly a perversion of the word "sanctuary" when the facility not only uses animals for human amusement, but wants to breed them to sell their babies to a circus.


Creature feature
Big cats roar while campers snore at Albion zoo
By Stefanie Scarlett
The Journal Gazette

"Trespassers will be eaten," declares a sign on an entrance gate to Black Pine Animal Park in Albion.
Welcome to the land of lions and tigers and bears. And camels, chimpanzees and exotic birds....

Visitors don't stand 200 feet away and read placards. Instead they often get within 10 feet or so, and they get histories of the animals from the people who care for them. Like the clever chimp who once dismantled a generator, separating all the pieces into neat piles....

...Duke is a Barbary lion, which is why a circus wants some of his cubs. The staff hopes to breed Duke and lioness Shengi this winter....

The chimp Tarzan, always the showman, greets visitors by making rude noises and banging on his cage. He and roommate Coby are retired performers, as are the two bears and one of the tigers.

This is the one cage that Bonar never climbs in, saying the chimps - who each have the strength of five or six adult men - potentially are the most dangerous animals at the park.

But they're always a hit with visitors.

"Tarzan is this bozo, he's loud and obnoxious. He's entertaining to watch," Bonar says....

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Every bonobo really should know how to cook.


Primate site viewed as a global attraction
The research facility should be set up in Des Moines by spring 2004 at the latest.
By TOM SUK Register Staff Writer

International scientists will "be beating a path" to Des Moines to conduct research at the planned $10 million Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary, organizers said Tuesday....

It may take two years before the public can visit Kanzi the bonobo and his family, although groundbreaking is scheduled for December at the latest. The facility, which will specialize in studying communications and behavior of the large primates, should be completed in the fall of 2003 or spring of 2004. Scientists will be allowed to use the facility for a year before it is opened to public viewing of the animals.

Building the primate center in an overgrown area near the Des Moines River instead of near Blank Park Zoo as originally proposed suits center director and internationally known primate researcher Sue Savage-Rumbaugh just fine.

"This will be an unzoo. It will be a complete reversal of species interaction that you get at a zoo," she said. "In a zoo, they are there for your entertainment, not to learn things or enjoy life."

At the new research facility, human visitors will be treated as guests. Eight primates known as bonobos, similar to chimpanzees, will be moved to Des Moines from a facility at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

"The bonobos will show off their athletic skills, their cooking skills and perform plays. They love to put on costumes and masks," said Savage-Rumbaugh....


Chimps May Have Survived HIV Epidemic
Thu Aug 22, 7:48 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Chimpanzees may have survived a catastrophic virus epidemic similar to HIV some two million years ago, which could explain why they are now immune to AIDS.

Scientists from the Biomedical Primate Research Center in the Netherlands and the University of California, San Diego, in the United States found that chimpanzees have only half as many variations of certain anti-virus immune system genes as humans.

Chimps normally have about five times as much variation in their genes as people, so the fewer variations in the MHC I virus-fighting genes suggests chimps may have been attacked by a virus that killed all but those with the right genes....

Wednesday, August 21, 2002


Traps a Threat to Chimps
Story Filed: Tuesday, August 20, 2002 12:59 PM EST

Aug 20, 2002 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- SNARES and traps have become the worst nightmare to chimpanzees.

As the unsuspecting primates search for food, they often get caught by the life threatening weapons.

The lethal devices are so common around Budongo forest reserve and the nearby forest patches in Masindi district. Snares have a wire with a noose, which becomes tighter as the animal tries to free itself and is eventually strangled to death. The traps have an opening with a pair of jaws, which snap holding the limb of the animal.

"It was a horror," says Richard Kyamanywa. He is an animal rights activist who witnessed a chimpanzee dragging a trap of about 12kgs for seven kilometres before its death....

Tuesday, August 20, 2002


Tom Stern v. Telescopic Pictures, Palomar Pictures and the Turner Broadcasting System
Filed: June 9, 1999
Los Angeles Superior Court

The Case: Tom Stern, cocreator of TBS's new The Chimp Channel, is accusing the show's producers of going bananas and firing him when he was only monkeying around to prove a point.

In his suit for fraud, conspiracy and breach of contract, Stern claims his former employers, Telescopic and Palomar, are swindling him out of the rights to the show--which features well-trained primates acting out your favorite movie and television scenes--and intentionally cheating him out of the profits....

Although damages are unspecified, Stern claims his Chimp Channel "intellectual property" is worth at least $1 million....

Status: Pending.


Learning to Live With Logging and (Gasp!) Even Liking It

OKOLA, Congo Republic — ...Irresponsible logging replaces rich ecosystems with barren fields. But scientists acknowledge that selective logging can actually help a forest grow and provide room for some animal species, like elephants and bongo, to forage, socialize and reproduce.

This new view that resources can often be managed both for economic and environmental value is uncomfortable for some conservationists. But it is spreading. In fact, some environmentalists say it is the best and perhaps the only approach to conserving nature in rapidly developing countries....

...Logging brings with it unintended consequences that do not give many animals a chance.

The same roads that C.I.B. uses to pull its logs from the far reaches of the forest are used by hunters to go after the animals seeking refuge there....

Illegal bush meat is more difficult to find in the markets than it was a few years ago. There was a time when elephant steaks were readily available in Pokola, alongside chucks of chimpanzee and bongo, all protected species under Congo Republic law. Critics say the problem remains severe, although it is now well hidden in the forests....

Last summer, in a move that company officials had hoped would quell the critics, C.I.B. agreed not to log about 100 square miles of land in its concession, an area known as the Goualogo Triangle. Biologists had lobbied C.I.B. to save the forest because it has some of the highest densities of gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants.

Still, for every stretch of protected area there are many even larger swaths of forest set aside for logging....

"Seldom, if ever, have we had as much knowledge to prevent a future epidemic. What is lacking is the wisdom to act upon that knowledge." See AFMA's "Letter concerning xenotranplantation" and "Piggies to market."


Pig Livers to the Rescue?
Vexing questions at the frontiers of science
By Bryn Nelson Staff Writer
August 20, 2002

One scenario envisions doctors delivering a limitless supply of livers, hearts and other organs to save the lives of countless transplant patients. In another, doctors unwittingly release a horrific plague upon unsuspecting millions....

In 1963, in New Orleans, Tulane University surgeon Keith Reemtsma performed the first xenotransplants of the modern medical era, using chimpanzee kidneys. A pair of the transplanted organs worked for nearly nine months in one patient.

Since then, doctors have tried transplanting hearts, kidneys and livers from baboons, chimpanzees, pigs and sheep. All have ultimately failed...

Conversely, several factors have kept nonhuman primates from emerging as likely candidates. The kidneys of baboons, for example, are smaller than those of humans. And because most primates used in studies are caught in the wild, they may harbor a broader range of pathogens than animals bred in captivity. Some scientists also believe viruses from primates may cross over to humans more readily than pathogens from pigs, a contributing factor in the FDA's 1999 call to halt the use of nonhuman primates in clinical xenotransplant studies. HIV, now thought to have arisen in chimpanzees, provides a stark example....

Animal rights activists say continued efforts to improve xenotransplant survival times in nonhuman primates could require the sacrifice of countless more monkeys, chimpanzees and baboons. And eventually, such research could pave the way for the slaughter of thousands of pigs bred as human organ factories. The outcry has been particularly harsh in the United Kingdom, where observers say the public is more aligned against animal research.

Significant obstacles remain on the scientific front as well, especially the human body's rejection of anything perceived as foreign....

Being “weaned gradually from a too-small cage" - what a ridiculous excuse.


PETA attacks use of Massillon's tiger mascot
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
By SUSAN R. SCHELL Repository education writer

...Obie — this year, a female cub now about 4 months old — is leased by the booster club from Stump Hill Farm in Perry Township for the football season....

Stump Hill has had several citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the past few years, many for providing less-than-required space for a chimpanzee. But Huntsman said the chimpanzee was being “weaned” gradually from a too-small cage in which previous owners housed it for many years....

Monday, August 19, 2002


Leonardo swings into SA to save the apes
August 16 2002 at 10:53AM
By Anna Cox

The World Summit on Sustainable Development is finally upon us, with the official opening of the Ubuntu Village at the Wanderers on Saturday....

Hollywood heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio has agreed to pack his Gucci sunglasses and a smart suit and head for the south to help save the apes. A guest of the Great Ape Survival Project (Grasp), he will attend a press briefing as an "enthusiastic champion of the great apes".

Grasp is also bringing Jane Goodall, a renowned researcher who in her youth spent years studying chimpanzees in their natural habitat in Tanzania....


...Scatter was the ideal frat-house mascot. A forty-pound, three-foot-tall chimpanzee, he had been trained by his first owner, a Memphis cartoonist who used him on his local TV show, to wear clothes, drink whiskey and raise hell with women. When Elvis first brought the beast out to Hollywood, he was enthralled with his antics. Elvis would treat him like a baby, carrying him around on his shoulders, showing him off for company and even changing his diapers. What tickled the Guys must about Scatter was the fact that he was so damn horny. Just let a girl step in the house and old Scatter would be hot on her tail. He would lift up her skirt and stick his head up toward her crotch. He would follow women to the bathroom or try to get inside while they were on the toilet. He would also chug-a-lug a few drinks at the bar and then turn around on his stool and start whacking off in some girl's face.

Elvis was always thinking of fresh ways to use Scatter as a device for driving people crazy. He would have the chimp dressed up in his cute little middy suit and tennis sneakers. Then Scatter would be enthroned in the back seat of the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and driven about by one of the Guys wearing a chauffeur's cap. That night Elvis would scream with laughter as the chauffeur, generally Alan Fortas (who has a somewhat simian build), would recount the stories of how this motorist almost ran off the road staring at the chimp or how that old lady looked shocked or a cop on a corner did a triple take as the car went by. What really bugged Elvis was that they could never find one of those trick cars, like they have in the circus, that can be driven from the rear by a hidden operator while the ape sits up front turning the driving wheel. To roll down Hollywood Boulevard on an afternoon with Scatter at the wheel of a big costly Cad, casting looks to right and left with a driver's cap on his head and his long funky fingers wrapped around the wheel -- oh, God! Wouldn't that be heaven!

Short of the ultimate thrill, however, there were lots of other tricks you could play with the chimp. One of his most celebrated exploits was the time he got loose at the Goldwyn Studio and climbed up the drainpipe to the second-floor office of the boss, Sam Goldwyn. When Scatter came swinging through the window, Goldwyn's secretary screamed in horror and fled from the room. Scatter kept on going until he was in the Big Man's private office. Before the astonished movie mogul could utter a word, the ape had leaped on his desk and was cavorting among his contracts, pub shots and pictures of his grandchildren. Fortunately, the animal was well diapered, so he couldn't do anything totally outrageous.

The best fun Elvis had with Scatter was always some stunt involving sex. It was as if Elvis were using the beast as his proxy, as the perpetrator of all those crazy sex pranks he would have liked to have played but didn't dare. There was a little stripper, for example, who was a regular at the Presley parties. Elvis would entice this girl to come up to the house; then he would persuade her to get down on the floor and wrestle with Scatter. She wasn't much bigger than the chimp. If you didn't look too carefully, you would swear that the horny ape and the hot little chick were getting it on. That killed Elvis.

Another time, when one of the Guys went upstairs with a young woman who was an aspiring songwriter, Elvis got Alan and Sonny to slip Scatter into the bedroom after the couple had started balling. Scatter outdid himself on this occasion, eliciting from the girl some of the loudest and most piercing screams of his entire career. Sad to say, the guy was so outraged that he picked up the beast and hurled it about ten feet down the hall.

Poor Scatter! He soon suffered the fate of all Master Elvis' other toys. He lost his charm and was shipped back to Graceland, where he was installed at the back of the house in an air-conditioned cage. Neglected after all the attention he had received for years, he pined and drooped and turned vicious. Late in the Sixties, he bit a maid who was feeding him. Two days later, he was found dead in his cage....


Unmistakably hot
Randy Cordova
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 15, 2002 12:00:00

... Hip music mag Blender featured the dark-eyed [singer-songwriter John] Mayer in a bizarre photo session with a chimpanzee.

"I thought it was something I could do without looking like a schmuck," he says. "I thought, 'Cool, let's hang out with a monkey for a day. I'm not an image machine.' "

And, of course, who doesn't love monkeys?

"If you had Jennifer Lopez walking down the street with a chimpanzee, everyone would say, 'Oh my God, look at the (rear-end) on that chimpanzee.' "...


American Beauty of a Fund-raiser
Soroptimists display national pride and raise money for SCV charities
Diana Sevanian Vitality Editor

[Photo] Don Fleming escorts Bella the Chimp to annual Soroptimist Auction

The spirit of patriotism and philanthropy filled the Valencia Hyatt on Aug. 10 when Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita held their 27th Annual Charity Auction, “Spirit of America.” Approximately $75,000 was raised, funds that will have a positive impact on many citizens of this community....

Chartered in 1974, Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita is part of Soroptimist International, a world-wide organization comprised of professional businesswomen from a variety of vocations, all united through service projects designed to advance human rights and the status of women....

To assuage the audience for [Astronaut Buzz] Aldrin’s absence, another “astronaut” was sent in his place — an aluminum cloth-suited chimpanzee named Bella. Escorted into the ballroom by Don Fleming and playfully touted as the first chimp in space, the friendly, affectionate primate is actually a trained gal who works in the entertainment field and has never been to the outer limits. Celebrated space traveler or not, the chimp was a hit with the crowd and even shared a few kisses with Soroptimist Monika Bucknall and attendee Charlotte Kleeman.
“I have always wanted to kiss a monkey!” shouted an exuberant Kleeman. “This is wonderful! I kissed a camel in Israel and now this!”...

It was puppy love at first sight when Joel and Judy Cox saw the eight-week-old lab go up for bid (donated by veterinarian Dr. Lisa Pope, a Friend of Soroptimist). When their tidy bid of $1,350 bought the adorable pooch, they swiftly named her “Liberty.” (How appropriate for having adopted her at “Spirit of America!)

... Members of Soroptimist adhere to the conviction that by joining other women and engaging in awareness, advocacy and action in the service of their community and society, they can make the world a better place for humankind. Soroptimist clubs promote health, education, environmental consciousness, economic and social development, and international goodwill and understanding....


Monkey business
Kibale, Uganda
Mark Cocker
Monday August 19, 2002
The Guardian

Kibale, Uganda: This 760 square kilometre block of rainforest is one of the best places in Africa to see chimpanzees. The huge increase in chimp numbers during the last decade is a measure of this desperately poor country's extraordinary conservation achievements. If population estimates prove correct during the next census, then Kibale holds the highest density of chimpanzees found anywhere in the world.

A single troop of around 90 individuals has been slowly habituated to human company, which means that tourists can trek to watch them. Our visit was fortunate to coincide with the fruiting of a huge fig tree, ficus mucuso, and this was the background to a wonderful spectacle. As we watched eight chimps of varying ages, from small infants to full-grown males, I realised we were witnessing the world's original affluent society. Reclining in a manner reminiscent of banqueting Romans, the chimps merely had to reach out to obtain handfuls of the super-abundant fruit. After extracting the juice, each chimp would spit out great gobbets of fig pulp that sprayed down upon the neck-craning observers below. In turn this drew in a host of exquisitely beautiful butterflies to the forest floor.

Slightly more disconcerting was the inevitable consequence of the chimps consuming such copious volumes of fluid. If we were not careful, these regular warm showers would come cascading down upon our heads. One wag noted that the last ape to urinate on him from a great height was his work boss and that this occasion was a decidedly more fulfilling moment.

Sunday, August 18, 2002


You may be only 1 in 6 billion, but every person can make a big difference
Posted Sunday, August 18, 2002; 7:31 a.m. EST

The greatest danger to our future is apathy. We cannot expect those living in poverty and ignorance to worry about saving the world. For those of us able to read this magazine, it is different. We can do something to preserve our planet.

You may be overcome, however, by feelings of helplessness. You are just one person in a world of 6 billion. How can your actions make a difference? Best, you say, to leave it to decision makers. And so you do nothing.

Can we overcome apathy? Yes, but only if we have hope....

Even companies once known only for profits and pollution are having a change of heart. Conoco, the energy company, worked with the Jane Goodall Institute (J.G.I.) in Congo to build a sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees....

We have huge power, we of the affluent societies, we who are causing the most environmental damage. For we are the consumers. We do not have to buy products from companies with bad environmental policies. To help us, the Internet is linking small grassroots movements so that people who once felt they were on their own can contact others with the same concerns.

I feel deep shame when I look into the eyes of my grandchildren and think how much damage has been done to Planet Earth since I was their age. Each of us must work as hard as we can now to heal the hurts and save what is left.

Saturday, August 17, 2002


Strange bedfellows attend congress
Scientists, activists review study results
By Sandra Barbier
West Bank bureau/The Times-Picayune

The 500 scientists, researchers who conduct tests on animals and humane activists who attended a large, scientific conference this week in New Orleans may seem like strange bedfellows, but organizers of the event say times are slowly changing when it comes to using animals in research.

Participants at the Fourth World Congress on Alternatives to Animal Use in the Life Sciences shared the latest developments in the use of computers, tissues and other means, instead of living animals, in drug testing, medical research and product safety. They also discussed ethical issues, such as testing on highly intelligent nonhuman primates.

The five-day conference covered issues from the highly technical to ethical concerns.

Speakers included Dr. Ray Greek, an author of books on animal testing and an opponent of testing any human drugs on animals. Animals and humans are too different for the results of animal tests to be applied to humans, Greek said.

"Today, we are studying disease and drug interaction on the genetic and molecular level. It is at this level that evolution produces a dog versus a human," he said.

Differences even exist among humans, he said. Drugs have been approved after being tested on men, then found to have other effects on women.

"The big answer here is to increase your (human) trials," Greek said.

Dr. Andrew Rowan of the Humane Society of the United States, who was co-chairman of the congress, said animal testing generally provides some useful information. "It is not a black-and-white situation," he said. "The question is how much and is the cost in animal suffering worth it."...

..."We find that animal tests are being used as a ‘default mechanism' even though they are not validated" because of lack of a better method, he said.

Friday, August 16, 2002


Activists Oppose Killing of Primates
Story Filed: Friday, August 16, 2002 11:40 AM EST

Aug 16, 2002 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- ANIMAL rights and welfare activists have clashed with Masindi district wildlife control unit over the killing of primates, writes Gerald Tenywa.

The head of Masindi Wildlife Control Unit, Christopher Byarugaba, recently said they had killed over 100 baboons in the last three years and that 1,000 baboons would be hunted and killed.

Uganda Wildlife Authority recently declared baboons and vervet monkeys as vermin after it was overwhelmed by complaints that increased animal populations were destroying crops.

Primates are becoming a problem because of the increasing human population, which clears their habitats to grow crops.

Dr. Peter Apell of the Jane Goodall Institute said killing animals was not a solution.

He decried the use of deadly traps and snares by farmers and hunters that accidentally caused harm to chimpanzees, which are endangered by extinction.

Byarugaba said they are promoting unique selective live traps that do not cause harm to endangered animals.


Elvis' truest fans at Graceland resent the kitsch, revere the King
Their message to the heathens: Don't be cruel.
By Dick Polman
Inquirer Staff Writer

...To the uninitiated, Elvis might sound like a reckless guy for blasting his TV with a gun, karate-chopping hotel furniture, threatening to kill two ex-bodyguards who wrote a kiss-and-tell book, owning a chimpanzee that drank his booze and peeked up women's skirts....

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Our tax dollars at work, using more innocents as furry test tubes for human diseases, despite the scientific invalidity. Read "Hepatitis C and Chimpanzees" by Ray & Jean Greek of Americans for Medical Advancement.


Story Filed: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 1:47 PM EST
Aug 14, 2002 (FedBizOpps via COMTEX) -- NOTICE TYPE: Sources Sought Notice

AGENCY: Department of Health and Human Services
OFFICE ADDRESS: Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Division of Construction and Agency Support Contracting, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 2129, Rockville, MD, 20857-0001
SUBJECT: Use of Chimpanzees for HCV Vaccine Studies
CLASSIFICATION CODE: 88 - Live animals
CONTACT: Paul Scarborough, Contract Specialist, Phone (301) 827-7168, Fax (301) 827-7103, Email
NOTICE TEXT: Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Division of Construction and Agency Support Contracting; The Food and Drug Administration intends to award a contract to the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR). The requirement will allow the FDA access to chimpanzees not exposed to hepatitis C virus. Studies to be conducted by SFBR staff. Interested parities shall submit a capability statement on or before 8/27/02.

Where are the zookeepers while the inmates are being molested?



Mankind is not at its best in theme parks....

The Parents: Someone has to raise these wretches and apparently those at Parc Safari Sunday live by the principle "Rules? Not for me." How else to explain the father and two children chasing deer far from the trail just inches from one of several signs that read "Please do not leave the trail"? Later, the children chased around a terrified peacock as dad looked on, a contented grin on his face. I wanted to yell, "Leave the damn peacock alone!" or optionally, "Peacock! Take a toe!"

Then there were the families in the cars on the safari trail feeding big honking carrots to the gagging animals. Or worse, the adult who kept dropping chunks of carrot down on top of the chimpanzee. This, however, had nothing on the boy he was accompanying who took the chunks and drilled them at the lounging macaques. When he hit one, he'd go "Yes!" What thoughts of revenge go through those monkeys' minds?...

Wednesday, August 14, 2002


Gene explains dumb apes
Great apes lack nuts and bolts of language gene.
15 August 2002

Chimpanzees lack key parts of a language gene that is critical for human speech, say researchers. The finding may begin to explain why only humans use spoken language.

Last year scientists identified the first gene, called FOXP2, linked to human language. People with mistakes in this gene have severe difficulties with speech and grammar.

Now Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and his colleagues have compared human FOXP2 with the versions of the gene found in the chimpanzee, gorilla, orang-utan, rhesus macaque and mouse....

Language is unique to humans: chimpanzees can be trained to communicate using a complex set of symbols [or sign language], but they can pronounce only a handful of words because they cannot make the required facial movements....


Brains sniff out scam artists
Evolution might have programmed us to compute fairness.
13 August 2002

The human brain contains dedicated circuits to detect cheaters, say researchers. The same team has found that people from different cultures are equally good at spotting unfair behaviour....

All social primates, such as Rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees, recognize social exchange and cheaters, so the adaptation may be evolutionarily quite old.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Let's hope our successor species doesn't make the same mistakes.


Your Presence Is Requested
By Sallie Baliunas 08/12/2002

...What a silly sentiment - that without Homo sapiens, the biosphere would flourish. It contradicts the scientific facts of biology. It suggests that the existence of Homo sapiens is a fluke, separate from nature. But Homo sapiens is as much a part of nature as amoebae or trees. To deny that fact is to deny biology....

Upright-walking, two-legged creatures with increasing thinking capacity blossomed in the last few million years, with Homo sapiens as the latest and brainiest in the group....

The common traits of intelligence, toolmaking and upright, two-legged walking allowed those species to survive better the hazards of nature.

The rich hominid past says two things. First, Homo sapiens, who appeared around 250,000 years ago, will become extinct. Judging from the hominid record, Homo sapiens will give way to something brainier, perhaps in 500,000 years. That is a fact of biology.

Second, should Homo sapiens go extinct before our successor species arrives, within a few million years another very brainy creature would arise to fill the empty environmental niche. The new species' forebear may be the modern chimps. Far from being unneeded, Homo sapiens or an equivalently intelligent species is deemed necessary by nature. That, too, is a fact of biology.


Drug Smugglers Jump Into Endangered Species Trade
Mon Aug 12,12:26 PM ET

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - Global drug dealers are earning billions of dollars from a lucrative trade in endangered species and toxic waste, environmental law experts said on Monday....

Currently, the illicit "bushmeat" trade and illegal logging activities in central and west Africa are pushing many primates to the brink of extinction, including gorillas and chimpanzees....

Monday, August 12, 2002


Swiss time 16:02, Monday 12.08.2002
Polar bear feels the heat in Cairo
By Heba Kandil

CAIRO (Reuters) - A heatwave has sent Egypt's temperatures soaring and 15-year-old Hassouna has been struggling more than most to keep cool.

Huge ice blocks are dumped in his swimming pool throughout the day and he takes regular showers, but who could blame him for still finding the scorching 45-degree Celsius [113-degree Fahrenheit] heat unbearable?

Hassouna, with his thick, grimy white fur to protect him in the Arctic snow fields, is a polar bear and rather out of his element in his open-air iron cage.

Giza Zoo says it is making every effort to improve the surroundings of its 13,500-plus inmates, but animal welfare groups say conditions at the 111-year-old site near central Cairo remain poor....

The authorities have been working to clean up the site, which years of negligence and overcrowding left in a pitiful state, with unwashed and under-fed animals, garbage-strewn paths, and a run-down museum and laboratory....

"In this zoo, a number of the animals are still kept in totally unacceptable conditions, the polar bear being a case in point, but unfortunately not the only one," the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) said in a statement sent to Reuters from its Kenya office.

But the WSPA, which has been helping Giza Zoo's team provide better conditions, said the zoo was cleaning up its act....

Cool showers were not enough to tempt Gigi the chimpanzee, a gift to the zoo from the late president Anwar Sadat, into the sun or to encourage a family of African baboons, once worshipped by the ancient Egyptians, to perform....


The Wife Beaters of Kibale
The author of a new book offers a glimpse of evolution in action, as chimps in Uganda take up arms
Sunday, Aug. 11, 2002

You reach Harvard University's biological anthropology department by climbing five flights of fusty wooden stairs in the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Mass. It's an old building, haunted by the remnants of long lost tribes and the ghosts of an era when anthropologists thought nothing of collecting the paraphernalia of ancestor worship, not to mention the bones of the ancestors themselves. But it's not bones that have brought me to the Peabody today. I've made the climb to meet Carole Hooven, a young graduate student in biological anthropology, and Richard Wrangham, one of the world's leading experts on chimpanzee behavior. They want to show me a collection of what look like sturdy but quite ordinary sticks.

[Photo] Dr. Richard Wrangham and Carol Hooven study weapons used by chimps

These lengths of wood have a special meaning for Hooven and for science, especially the stick that's shaped like a divining rod with a crook at the end. The last time she saw it, in January 1999 in Uganda's Kibale forest, it was in the hands of a big male chimp called Imoso who was using it to beat mercilessly a female named Outamba. As a woman, Hooven felt sick at heart at the violence directed at the smaller chimp. But as a scientist, it exhilarated her. She had never read about anything like this. Trembling, she rushed back to camp to report to Wrangham. He listened in silence and then shook her hand. This was a historic moment. While there are a few scattered accounts of chimps wielding sticks against prey or predators, no one before had ever seen a wild animal repeatedly, unambiguously—and with malice and forethought—use a tool as a weapon against its own kind....

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Another reason why chimpanzees are not good models for our diseases....


CWRU scientists help identify DNA 'hot spots'
Michaela Saunders
Plain Dealer Reporter

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University and Celera Genomics have identified 169 "unstable" regions of the body's genetic blueprint that may cause inherited diseases....

The research centers on repetitions of the genes that determine how cells carry out billions of tasks necessary for life. Some duplications are believed to have spurred human evolution, but others are responsible for deadly diseases.

The human genome consists of about 3 billion base pairs of DNA. The identified "hot spots" make up about 5 percent, Eichler said. Our genetic map is similar to the chimpanzee's, except for these "hot spots," where the genome has the potential to change rapidly. That ability to change is good for evolution, but bad for disease....

Friday, August 09, 2002


There's some serious monkey business
Thu, Aug 8, 2002

A lot of monkey business begins Saturday at the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend.

Actually, it's chimpanzee business, as the zoo kicks off its chimps project with the Sammy Palooza Festival.

Sammy is the zoo's artistic chimp and his work will be for sale during the festival....

Thursday, August 08, 2002

In our arrogance, we once believed only humans made tools. What else are we wrong about?


Thursday, 8 August, 2002, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Amazing powers of birds

The crow is putting our closest cousins to shame.
Experiments show the humble bird is better than the chimp at toolmaking.
British zoologists were astonished when a captive crow - Betty - fashioned a hook out of wire to reach food.
It is the first time any animal has been found to make a new tool for a specific task, say Oxford University researchers.
They believe the bird shows some understanding of cause and effect.
"It is not only cleverer than we think in this particular direction but probably, at least in relation to tools, has a higher level of understanding than chimpanzees," says Alex Kacelnik, Professor of Behavioural Ecology....

Full details of the Oxford University research are published in the journal Science.

Ham, the first American in space, was born free in Africa in 1956. Stolen from his mother, he was trained using electric shocks and launched on a rocket when he was only 4 years old. Two years later, when he had outgrown his usefulness to NASA, Ham was sent to the National Zoo. After living for many years alone in a cage, he died in 1983. As in life, in death he has become an object of human curiosity and amusement.


Museum of the Medical Macabre Edges Into the Mainstream

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 — Over its 140 years, the National Museum of Health and Medicine has been a destination for amateur Civil War historians, medical researchers and tourists with a penchant for the macabre....

Some specimens — like President Dwight D. Eisenhower's gallstones and the skeleton of Ham, the first chimpanzee in space — are in back offices....

[Photo] Paul Sledzik, curator of the anatomical collections, shows the bones of Ham, the first chimpanzee in space.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002


Education Supplement - Summer 2002
by Jessica Winter
Chimp Change
August 7 - 13, 2002

When Marc Jurnove first visited the Long Island Game Farm Park and Zoo in the spring of 1995, he found Barney, a chimpanzee, living in bleak isolation, with only a swing to distract him and no other chimps in sight. Concerned, Jurnove sought legal action. However, the case that followed, Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Glickman (1998), did not focus on Barney's psychological well-being, oddly enough, but that of his human observer. As one of the deciding judges wrote, "Mr. Jurnove's affidavit is an uncontested statement of the injuries that he has suffered to his aesthetic interest in observing animals living under humane conditions."

Of course, none of the interested parties in this case were actually convinced that animal welfare is merely a matter of taste. But the notion of "aesthetic injury" is just one means of circumventing a hard legal fact: Property can't sue, thus neither can animals, nor can a guardian ad litem bring criminal or civil action on their behalf. Some animal rights advocates are hoping that will soon change. In Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals (2000) and the recently published Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights (both Perseus), attorney Steven M. Wise proposes "legal personhood" for certain highly intelligent nonhuman species, beginning with our evolutionary next-door neighbors: chimpanzees and bonobos...

...they push the envelope even further by drawing an analogy between great apes subjected to biomedical research and the ordeal of slaves in the United States. The chimpanzee Jerom died at age 13 after he was repeatedly infected with strains of HIV at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center at Emory; in a 2000 speech, Laurence Tribe declared that Jerom had been "enslaved." The Animal Law casebook, co-edited by Pamela Frasch (the second edition was just published by Carolina Academic Press), includes a section on slave disputes. Wise's next book will chronicle the life of James Somerset, a slave in England who made a successful legal journey to freedom. "It's the story of how a thing became a person under the law," Wise says. "The thing in 1772 was an African human being; I would argue the thing in 2002 is certain species of nonhuman animals. I'm hoping that even if you don't care about animal rights you'll find the story interesting, but it's also one large metaphor for what I'm trying to accomplish."...

But a cognitive scale to measure animal minds could provide a basis for the most divisive and wrenching of issues: deciding which species, if any, can be ethically used in invasive experimentation. (No fewer than 10 scientists who work with animal models—ranging from cardiovascular disease in lab rats to AIDS in primates—either declined or did not acknowledge interview requests for this article.) A practical-autonomy rubric could potentially separate those animals who feel pain from those who feel pain intelligently—that is, those who suffer.

On this count, it's safe to say that even the staunchest supporters of animal use in biomedical research feel some measure of regret or ambivalence about the use of great apes. Invasive chimpanzee experimentation all but ceased in Great Britain after the early '70s, and the government formally prohibited the practice in November 1997. Japan has also called a moratorium. Stateside, chimps are still used in investigations of malaria and hepatitis C. In the '80s, hundreds were infected with HIV in clinical settings, but in 1999, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases called a halt to new infections.

"Because chimps take such a long time to progress to AIDS, they are not a practical model for developing vaccines," explains Lillian Lee Kim, chief of public relations at the Yerkes center.... Paradoxically, chimps' physiological similarities to people—which is the most compelling reason both for and against their use in biomedical research—ruled them out of conscription into the war on AIDS....

Tuesday, August 06, 2002


Chronicle of Higher Education
August 9, 2002
Pretenders in the Mist?
Scientists debate whether apes play make-believe

Viki impersonates her adoptive mother. She pushes around the vacuum cleaner, files her fingernails, and smoothes on lipstick with a finger. Though she cannot read, she opens the newspaper every morning and turns the pages one by one, examining some as though she has found an interesting article. If Viki were a child, her parents would say she was pretending. But she may just be aping what she's seen: Viki is a chimpanzee.

Scientists disagree about whether those behaviors and others observed in great apes, both in captivity and in the wild, are true examples of pretending. Does Viki imagine she's someone else, or is she merely going through the motions of behaviors she knows well or has observed in others?

Children enact elaborate fantasies, and researchers, who have been probing that pretend play for more than 100 years, still debate what mental processes are involved. But scientists have been slow even to look for examples of pretending in animals, for fear of being considered "loopy," says Robert W. Mitchell, a psychology professor at Eastern Kentucky University and the editor of Pretending and Imagination in Animals and Children (Cambridge University Press, April). Dolphins, parrots, and elephants have exhibited some behaviors that look like pretending, but Mr. Mitchell says that only researchers who work with primates were willing to contribute to the book. "People are afraid for their careers if they talk about this," he says. "If we're avoiding using certain terms that are accurate, that's a problem."

Part of the difficulty of determining whether apes pretend is that researchers define the word in various ways --depending, for example, on whether an animal seems to mimic another animal's behavior immediately after seeing it or hours later, in a different context. But scientists generally agree that pretending means imagining that something is other than it really is. It can involve behaviors like deliberately responding as if to a stimulus when none exists, acting as if doing one thing while actually doing something else, or using an object as though it were something else. A pretender must simultaneously hold two representations of the situation in mind --the actual one and the imagined one.

The most compelling examples of possible pretending come from animals [who] have been brought up by humans, like Viki. Researchers studying a gorilla named Koko, who was taught to use sign language at the Gorilla Foundation, in Woodside, Calif., cite dozens of behaviors that they interpret as make-believe. Koko plays with dolls, nursing them, talking to them, and making them interact with each other. Handed a strawberry stem, Koko puts it on the head of an alligator toy and says, "hat." In another example, Koko points to a photograph of the enormous, wide-open mouth of a hippopotamus in a calendar. She then folds the calendar and puts it in her mouth, creating her own huge "lips."

Enculturated apes like Koko and Viki seem to pretend more frequently than do apes in the wild. While Koko's handlers see behaviors they interpret as pretending practically every day, Anne E. Russon, an associate professor of psychology at York University, in Toronto, says she has found in the literature only about 20 cases of possible pretending in free-ranging orangutans, culled from thousands of hours of observation. One reason is that researchers haven't been looking for such behavior, she says in an e-mail interview from her field station in Borneo. But many researchers believe that interaction with humans --and the encouragement to pretend that comes with it --may play a major role in why enculturated apes play-act more.

Orangutan Fake-Out

Wild apes don't have lipstick and newspapers to play with, but they have exhibited behavior suggesting that they, too, pretend. Ms. Russon videotaped Unyuk, an orangutan living in a park in Indonesian Borneo for apes recovering from injuries, playing with a human friend whose backpack was often full of food. Even though she spied the backpack, Unyuk innocently continued the game without looking toward it, occasionally shifting position slightly. When she had moved enough that her friend was no longer between her and the backpack, Unyuk lunged for it, taking her playmate by surprise.

Ms. Russon also watched one young wild orangutan, Paul, intentionally deceive another in a successful effort to get at food. Paul watched Bento, whom he normally feared and avoided, eating Paul's favorite food, forest coconut palm. Suddenly, Paul darted out in front of Bento, who chased him. Paul led Bento to a stash of papaya and later crept back to eat Bento's coconut-palm leftovers. Ms. Russon argues that Paul was concealing his interest in the palm and then acting as his own decoy to get Bento away from it.

"Most of the published evidence concerns captive great apes," says Ms. Russon, but "these abilities are also obvious and have an important function in the wild. They're not simply laboratory artifacts."

But some scientists remain unconvinced that apes pretend. In one chapter of Pretending and Imagination in Animals and Children, Juan Carlos Gmez, of the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, and Beatriz Martn-Andrade, of the Autonomous University of Madrid, analyze several possible examples of gorillas pretending at the Madrid Zoo. In every case, they find other explanations for the behavior, and they conclude that it is less cognitively sophisticated than true pretending.

In one example, two young female gorillas treated stones, balls, and a doll as if they were infants, carrying the objects on their backs or held against their chests with one arm. Though those actions could be pretending, Mr. Gmez and Ms. Martn-Andrade argue that a simpler and likelier explanation is that the apes were behaving instinctively with substitute objects, without thinking of those objects as babies.

In another example, a young gorilla named Muni was working with a trainer. When Muni performed correctly, the trainer would give her jam on a spoon. But several times, instead of eating her reward, Muni put another spoon in the jam and stirred it, then pointed it toward the trainer's mouth. The authors point out that gorillas often put things --not always food –in humans' mouths, and argue that Muni might have been thinking of herself as acting instead of the trainer, not as if she were the trainer.

Another scholar who contributed a chapter to the book, Ellen J. Ingmanson, an assistant professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary, says Mr. Gmez is being "overcautious." Mr. Mitchell, the editor, says that Muni may actually have been pretending, but that Mr. Gmez "wants more evidence, and so do I."

Not 'Just Like Us'

Other researchers, too, are unsatisfied with the evidence. "Anybody who says that they know what the answer is obviously hasn't confronted the deep problems in the area," says Daniel J. Povinelli, a professor of cognitive science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Not enough systematic observational data have been collected, he argues. "I don't see any compelling evidence that chimpanzees or any other great apes engage in what we would call pretend play in children."

"What it definitely shows is what humans are capable of imagining these animals are doing." Marc Bekoff, a professor of biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, agrees with the call for more research on primate behavior. Apes may have developed their own type of pretending, he says, "but surely it's not the same as human pretense." He argues that the reason researchers have so few examples of apes' pretending in the wild --apart from not having done enough observation --is that to survive, apes don't need to pretend, in the sophisticated sense of holding two conceptions of a situation in mind at once. "It would be really anthropocentric to think that other animals are just like us," he says.

Yes, says Sarah T. Boysen, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University at Columbus and a chimpanzee researcher, but great apes are pretty closely related. Are they capable of sophisticated pretending? "Absolutely," she says. "The cognitive capacities of chimpanzees are likely dramatically underestimated. It's just our limitations of finding ways to measure them."

Until researchers can produce more evidence, they will continue to debate whether apes really pretend or just monkey around.

According to documents obtained from the National Institutes of Health, PFA is working to maintain productive breeders to supply future research subjects. Several male chimpanzees have been vasectomized and are used as “teachers,” rather like senior gigolos in a government-funded chimp bordello.


Sunday, 4 August 2002

Beyond local rumors and folklore, few people know about 78 chimpanzees living just outside Mesa.

The federal government has put millions of dollars into the primates' desert home over the past two decades. Sometimes, the animals have been rented out for medical research. Mostly, experts study their behavior.

The compound is just far enough from the reaches of suburban sprawl that few wanderers happen upon it, and animal rights activists rarely bother to take the trip out.

But a new band of challengers could get past the remote location and razor-wire fences. These activists want legal rights for the country's more than 1,500 captive chimps.

Some chimps, they say, could use a good lawyer.

"People think we're a bunch of nuts talking about giving them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said Craig Stanford, a primate researcher with the University of Southern California. "We're talking about freedom from invasiveness and not being stuck in a 3-by-3-foot cage," he said.

At the Primate Foundation of Arizona, the animals live in large, vaulted cages, indoors and out, filled with toys and climbing devices. They listen to Pavarotti and Patsy Cline - they like everything but hard rock. They hang out and preen each other and dine on fresh fruit and monkey chow. This year, an Arizona State University symphony performed for them. The owner of the nonprofit organization, Jo Fritz, has published dozens of articles on how to best care for chimps. She's nationally known for resocializing chimps who are "retired" from medical labs, zoos, TV commercials, even the Ice Capades.

Fritz declined to comment for this article, saying she doesn't like to draw attention to the facility because of security reasons. Sometimes fringe activists or the curious wander into the chimps' world and lash out. Some have threatened to raid the compound to let the chimps out.

"The chimpanzee, perhaps more than any other living being, has served to blur the line that we once thought so sharp between humans on the one hand and the rest of the animal kingdom on the other." - Jane Goodall, primate researcher

One infamous tape shot in a chimpanzee breeding center says it all for Doug Cress. The first time the humans came, they shot a female chimpanzee with a dart gun. She woke up to find her baby gone. The second time they came, she saw the dart gun and she tried to hide her baby. The third time they came, she saw the dart gun and she handed her baby over.

"She knew it was coming," said Cress, executive director of the Great Ape Project, an activist group formed in 1993 to protect captive great apes.

No chimp, Cress said, should live in a cage or be used in research like at the Primate Foundation of Arizona.

"I've spent a lot of time around chimps," Cress said. "They scheme, they're smart, they communicate, they think ahead, they plan, they mislead, they lie, they go out of their way to comfort you."

Chimps are so akin to humans - they share 98.4 percent of our DNA – that for decades they've been dubbed the perfect subjects for medical research. Credit the success of many vaccines to research done on chimps.

But only in the 1980s did the country develop a glut of research chimps. As the nation started to panic over the rising number of AIDS deaths, the National Institutes of Health launched an unprecedented chimpanzee breeding program, throwing millions of dollars toward chimp breeders, including the primate foundation.

But it turns out chimps rarely develop AIDS symptoms, and research on the seemingly human chimps has become somewhat socially passe. Now the government has more than 1,500 chimps on its hands. Most are rarely used in research.

They can cost at least $15 or $20 per day, per chimp, and live into their 40s or 50s.

"I do the best I know how, the very best I can. I mean to keep on doing this, down to the very end. If the end brings me out all wrong, then ten angels swearing I had been right would make no difference. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me now will not amount to anything." - Abraham Lincoln

Fritz quoted Lincoln in 1984 in a newsletter she sent to other chimp caretakers. Taking in abandoned chimps, she and her husband had found, was no small feat.

The first three chimps arrived at the downtown Phoenix apartment of her husband, Paul, in 1968. Paul, a Phoenix Zoo zookeeper, heard they were homeless and about to be euthanized. Word spread, and soon the Fritzes had seven more chimps on their hands.

Researchers were just realizing the intelligence of the animals in the 1970s. The Fritzes were realizing the number of chimps who needed a good home.

Within two years, they had 23 chimpanzees. They struggled to make it on Paul's salary and small donations.

In 1986, they were one of the first to win an award from the health institute to breed chimps. The condition: The animals were made available for research. The Fritzes put millions of dollars into a facility in the desert, a creative use of an abandoned building.

Now the foundation touts a full-time veterinarian, interns who cycle in from throughout the country and a relationship with researchers at Arizona State University. They monitor the chimps' mental and physical health. No chimp at the facility has a serious disease, but several have been used in laboratories around the nation.

It's an evolving process to keep the animals happy. Right now their care givers are developing a remote control system so the chimps can choose their own music.

But it's not enough for activists who say they want the chimps to enjoy a true retirement with lots of space, a life beyond steel cages and a guarantee they will never participate in research again.

The Chimpanzee Collaboratory, a coalition of high-ranking academics, will meet in September at Harvard University to discuss a plan to gain legal rights for the animals. Steven Wise, a lecturer of animal law at Vermont Law School and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, is drafting a declaration of rights for apes that he hopes international leaders will sign by 2010. Countries such as England and New Zealand have already sworn off most types of chimp research, and might back the cause.

In the United States, the battle for ape rights might come through lawsuits that carve out precedents to protect the animals, said Rick Bogle, founder of the Primate Freedom Project.

It's a slow road that might start with Moe, a 36-year-old chimp in California. Moe bit two people, prompting the five-year legal battle between his owners and West Covina, Calif., where they live. Moe has been directed from facility to facility, and activists such as Wise say someone should be representing him in court.

"What's likely to happen is as old ignorant judges die and new judges come in who have been exposed to some of the literature and have an idea of who these animals are, they're going to be more interested in listening to arguments," Bogle said.

Roberta Wright, a Tucson resident and founder of Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom, toured the primate foundation in 1999. She remembers chimps in the large cages, rattling the bars. She hopes for more for them.

"These animals are so huge and strong, and when we came through and saw them, they would throw themselves against the cage," she said. "That's what was so mind-boggling - it was so incredibly loud. It was, to me, very criminal to have these strong, intelligent animals behind bars in cages. This is their reaction to being imprisoned."

- Tribune writer Kirsten Searer can be reached by e-mail at or by calling (480) 898-6842.

This ad is memorable for its cruelty and lack of compassion for an exploited chimpanzee child.


August 4, 2002
Brand Most Recognized
Fidelity Comes Out On Top In TV Ads
Craig Allen

Fidelity Investments' ad of a woman sharing a taxi with a financial advisor asking him about rolling over her 401(k) is the most recognized financial services advertisement on network television, according to a study put together by ad monitoring agency, Intermedia Advertising Group, exclusively for Fund Marketing Alert. IAG monitored all financial services ads on national network television from mid-September 2001 through May of this year, and found that Fidelity's ad was recalled nearly three times as much than any other financial services ad...

E*Trade's, Chimp in green tux, also proved to be very successful. The ad, which features a gaudily clad chimp in top hat and tails dancing with showgirls, came in seventh on IAG's list. The firm spent the 16th largest amount out of all financial service companies....