Monday, September 30, 2002

In fact, there was no "rigorous selection process." No true sanctuaries would agree to the revolving door provision of the CHIMP Act, which allows "retired" chimpanzees to be recalled for research should a purported need arise.


Federally Owned Chimpanzees to Start a New Life In Northwest Louisiana Forest First Chimp Haven Sanctuary Set To Open In 2004
Story Filed: Monday, September 30, 2002 9:02 AM EST

CADDO PARISH, La., Sep 30, 2002 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Today brought great news for hundreds of chimpanzees. The United States government has selected Chimp Haven, Inc., an independent, non-profit organization, to build and operate a sanctuary system for all chimpanzees retired from federal biomedical facilities. The announcement follows a rigorous selection process by the National Institutes of Health to determine what organization will best serve the retirement needs of federally owned chimpanzees.

Because of their similarities to humans, chimpanzees were once widely used in the space program and in biomedical research. In recent years, there has been a dramatic decrease in the use of chimpanzees; yet, they have remained confined in laboratory facilities because there have been no alternative living spaces....

The construction process is incremental. The first facility, designed to hold 200 chimpanzees, will cost $14 million to build administrative and support space, utilities, infrastructure, an education center, and facilities for quarantine and chimpanzee indoor and outdoor housing. Ultimately, the Caddo Parish site is slated to hold 300 chimpanzees.

As part of this private public partnership, Chimp Haven must raise $6 million to meet the government's matching funds requirement-10% of construction costs and 25% for chimpanzee care and maintenance. Additionally, Chimp Haven will create an endowment to assure the long-term financial health of its sanctuary system as well as fund an ongoing educational program.

The facility, located in Caddo Parish's Eddie B. Jones Nature Park, will include several housing facilities to accommodate various needs of the incoming chimpanzees. Many will want to stay indoors until they can acclimate to their new spacious outdoor habitats-some as large as 10 acres. All the animals will have the freedom to choose how they spend their days. Natural groundcover, trees for climbing, and edible vegetation will provide a stimulating and responsive environment necessary for chimpanzee rehabilitation and a long-awaited opportunity to live in large social groups as chimpanzees should. Unlike a zoo, the sanctuary will not be open to the public on a regular basis. However, Chimp Haven will provide educational opportunities for students of all ages to learn about chimpanzee behavior and related conservation issues.

News of Chimp Haven's selection was welcomed on Capitol Hill, especially by Louisiana Congressman Jim McCrery, one of the CHIMP Act's first co- sponsors, and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, who has led efforts in the Senate. McCrery expressed his pleasure in knowing that the retired research chimpanzees will finally be given a life they deserve in his home state. "I am pleased the National Institutes of Health has chosen Caddo Parish and Chimp Haven to locate this important sanctuary for retired chimpanzees. This will provide a cost-effective program for the humane treatment of chimpanzees that have been used by our government for beneficial research. In fact, this program will cost less to operate than the current practice of continuing to house the chimps on site at research facilities. Over time, the Chimp Haven facility will be a cost-saver for the federal government, representing a win for both the chimpanzees and the taxpayers," said Congressman McCrery....


NIH Funding Establishes a Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Bethesda, Maryland —The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today the award of a contract to Chimp Haven, Inc., a private, non-profit organization, to establish and operate a chimpanzee sanctuary. The sanctuary will provide lifetime care for Federally owned or supported chimpanzees that are no longer needed for biomedical research. The contractor will maintain high standards for quality care and ensure state-of-the-art treatment of the chimpanzees.

The ten-year, cost-sharing contract was awarded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of NIH. Over the term of the contract, NCRR will provide approximately $19 million in total costs, and Chimp Haven will contribute approximately $4 million toward direct costs. Chimp Haven was selected for the contract through a competitive, technical review process conducted by a group of outside experts in the fields of nonhuman primate management, behavioral sciences, and veterinary medical care.

“NCRR takes very seriously its responsibility for the health and welfare of research animals,” said Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis, director of NCRR....

I would argue that this is a difference in degree, not in kind.


Humans are more than mere cheeky monkeys
JAMES REYNOLDS Environment Correspondent

FOR centuries, scientists have compared the genetic development of chimpanzees to our own in an effort to gain more understanding of human origins.

However, this week, experts in evolution will question the established thinking by highlighting fundamental differences between the way the two species have developed.

Experts at the event, which is sponsored by the British Academy and the Royal Society, will argue that the development of chimpanzee culture, while complex, is not comparable to the immense strides the human race has taken. Kenan Malik, a writer and broadcaster, said: "Humans do not simply acquire habits from others.

"We also constantly innovate, transforming ourselves, individually and collectively, in the process.

"There is a fundamental difference between chimpanzees cracking open palm-nuts using stones and humans creating the industrial revolution, unravelling the secrets of the genome and developing the concept of universal rights."

However, as many as 39 cultural variants in chimpanzees have been discovered, and others at the event will argue that the richness of chimpanzee culture undermines the argument that our own human culture is unique.


Re: "How similar are chimps and humans?": There are two things to note about the recent news on chimpanzees (closure of notorious Coulston Foundation laboratory, and increased genetic difference between chimpanzees and humans).
First, the fact that chimpanzees differ from us genetically and physiologically is the very reason why they make poor models for our diseases. Chimpanzees were hailed as the perfect model for HIV-induced AIDS, but now most researchers admit that this approach has been a complete failure. Like all viruses, HIV is species-specific, adapted to its human host. Only humans get AIDS. Similarly, while chimpanzees infected with hepatitis experience no symptoms, humans die from this disease. Most knowledge of this virus has come through in vitro research, as chimpanzees are not predictive of human immunological response. Still, many of our closest kin are being used in a misguided attempt to develop a vaccine for HCV. As with AIDS vaccines that showed promise in chimpanzees but were ineffective for humans, this research is unlikely to advance human health. Because we differ from chimpanzees biologically, it is fraudulent science to use them as hairy test tubes for our illnesses.
Second, chimpanzees remain similar to us psychologically. They are sentient, self-aware, empathetic, intelligent and social beings, just like us. Chimpanzees form loving bonds with family and friends, and they make war on their enemies. They make and use tools. Wild chimpanzees communicate through vocalizations and gestures, and some captives have been taught to communicate with American Sign Language. Each free-living chimpanzee group has its own culture, which is passed down from one generation to the next. Also like us, they suffer greatly when imprisoned and tortured. An adult chimpanzee, raised in a normal environment, operates on the cognitive level of a small human child. Just as it would be wrong to experiment on a human child, it is wrong to experiment on a chimpanzee.
It is a happy new day for the fewer than 300 chimpanzees who have been retired from the Coulston Foundation to the caring hands of a sanctuary. Let us not forget that more than 1300 chimpanzees remain in the taxpayer-supported biomedical research system, some alone in tiny cages, imprisoned for the crime of having slightly different genes.
Cyn Krueger
Mercer Island, WA
SEEC - Stop Experimentation on & Exploitation of Chimpanzees

Thursday, September 26, 2002


Diet composition of chimpanzees inhabiting the Montane forest of Kahuzi, Democratic Republic of Congo
A. Kanyunyi Basabose

The diet of chimpanzees was investigated by direct observations, feeding remains, and fecal analysis from January 1994 to December 2000 in the montane forest of Kahuzi-Biega National Park. A total of 171 food items were identified, among which 156 items were plant materials belonging to 114 species from 57 taxonomic families. Chimpanzees consumed 66 species of fruits (62 species of pulps and four species of seeds). Results of fecal analysis showed that fig fruits were the most frequently eaten. Their seeds occurred in 92% of a total of 7,212 chimpanzee fecal samples. The chimpanzees changed their diet according to seasonal and annual variations in both abundance and diversity of fruit species. However, they are very selective frugivores. Only a few pulp-fruit species are regularly identified in their fecal samples. During the rainy season, when ripe fruit was scarce, chimpanzees relied heavily on piths and leaves. They swallowed leaves of two species of Commelinaceae without chewing, probably for medical purposes. Animal foods were eaten infrequently....


Survey of Savanna Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in Southeastern Sénégal
J.D. Pruetz, L.F. Marchant, J. Arno, W.C. McGrew

A survey of the western subspecies of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) was conducted from 1 February to 9 April 2000 in Sénégal, West Africa, by the Miami Assirik Pan Project (MAPP). In addition to the Assirik area of the Parc National du Niokolo Koba (PNNK), areas south and east of the park were surveyed. Nests made by chimpanzees were used to estimate chimpanzee distribution and densities. Within the PNNK, chimpanzees were estimated to occur at an average of 0.13 individuals/km....

Wednesday, September 25, 2002


Story Filed: Tuesday, September 24, 2002 10:29 AM EST

...It is the intent of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for the National Institute of Health (NIH) Office of Research Services (ORS) to negotiate on a non-competitive basis with the New Iberia Research Center, University of Louisiana at Lafayette to continue NIH sponsored research using mature chimpanzees infected with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). The New Iberia Research Center is the only know source with the capabilities and facilities to house human hepatitis C infected chimpanzees....


Researchers finding more ways chimps resemble humans
BY ROBERT S. BOYD Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - Thanks to new observations and experiments, researchers are finding ever more ways in which chimpanzees resemble human beings - and vice versa.

Chimps for example, crack nuts using stone hammers quite like the crude tools our human ancestors employed until about 5,000 years ago. Mother apes teach their children, by demonstration and imitation, much as human mothers do.

Some primatologists - people who study apes and monkeys - even go so far as to use the distinctly human word "friendship" to describe the buddy-buddy relationship between male chimps who spend a lot of time hanging out together....

Here are some of the ways in which chimpanzee behavior resembles human behavior.

_ Learning: A growing field of study is how young chimps learn from adults, and how that compares with the way human children learn....

_ Culture: Primatologists report that chimpanzees have developed a multitude of different "cultures," which the scientists define as distinct patterns of behavior, habits and knowledge that are handed down from generation to generation....

_ Reconciliation: Like warring nations, quarreling spouses and squabbling children, chimpanzees have ways of patching things up after a fight....

Tuesday, September 24, 2002


Goodall's chimps today
Tue Sep 24, 7:58 AM ET Tim Friend USA TODAY

Jane Goodall, the real-life Queen of the Jungle for children and young adults in the 1960s, is being introduced to a new generation....

Beginning next week, Goodall likely will capture the hearts and minds of young people once again with the opening of the new IMAX documentary Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees....

The IMAX film will travel to science museums around the country. Some museums also will display a traveling 6,000-square-foot interactive exhibit that includes a mock-up of Goodall's base camp in the Gombe Stream region of Tanzania....

Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees spans 40 years of Goodall's missionary-like efforts to save Africa's chimpanzees from extinction....

Psychologically we're still much alike, in all the ways that matter.


Human-chimp DNA difference trebled
22:00 23 September 02 news service

We are more unique than previously thought, according to new comparisons of human and chimpanzee DNA.

It has long been held that we share 98.5 per cent of our genetic material with our closest relatives. That now appears to be wrong. In fact, we share less than 95 per cent of our genetic material, a three-fold increase in the variation between us and chimps....

Monday, September 23, 2002

"Forty-eight chimps, highly social animals, are now housed individually in undersized cages."


Move Ends Long Battle with Animal-Rights Groups over Treatment of the Primates
by Rene Romo, Southern Bureau Copyright 2002 Albuquerque Journal (September 22)

The Coulston Foundation, an Alamogordo biomedical research facility, got out of chimpanzee-related research last week and turned over its remaining 288 chimps to one of its harshest critics.

The handover by the facility's leader, Frederick Coulston, was a victory for animal-rights activists who have long sought the retirement of the primates -- close relatives of humans -- from use in biomedical research.

"He (Coulston) is out of the chimp business," said Carole Noon, a primatologist who heads the Florida-based Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care (CCCC), which acquired 288 chimpanzees and 61 monkeys from the research facility.

Noon's group used a $3.7 million grant from the Michigan-based Arcus Foundation to buy the Coulston Foundation's land and buildings on LaVelle Road in Alamogordo. In addition, Coulston agreed to give CCCC the chimps and monkeys.

Noon's long-term plans call for moving as many chimps as possible -- perhaps half -- to the group's 200-acre sanctuary near Fort Pierce, Florida.

But first, Noon's group will have to evaluate the cost of potential renovations to the Alamogordo site, improvements to the Florida site and the ongoing costs of care as well as finding sources of funding.

The Arcus Foundation's founder, Jon Stryker, said the organization committed to a dollar-for-dollar matching grant for operational support through 2003.

"She (Noon) has taken on a humongous responsibility, and I hope she can follow through on it," said Carol Asvestas, director of the private National Sanctuary for Retired Research Primates, which houses 22 chimps at a roughly 100-acre site near San Antonio, Texas. "I can't imagine attempting to do what she's doing. She's a very gutsy lady."

With the acquisition of Coulston's animals, the CCCC now operates the nation's largest sanctuary for retired chimps, several primatologists said.

Coulston did not grant the Journal an interview. But in an interview with the Associated Press, the 87-year-old Coulston said he released his chimp colonies to give himself a "chance to go back and do some of the things I'd like to do before I retire."

Foundation spokesman Don McKinney said Coulston would move into new research areas.

But animal-rights activists had another take on the development.

California-based In Defense of Animals, Coulston's most-persistent critic, said its eight-year-long campaign had spurred unprecedented regulatory action by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and had pushed the Coulston Foundation to the brink of financial ruin.

The USDA, often spurred by the group's complaints, charged the Coulston Foundation with violations of the Animal Welfare Act four times, with some charges stemming from the allegedly negligent deaths of ten chimps.

In May 2000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) took title to 288 of Coulston's roughly 650 chimps, then the world's largest captive chimp population. A year later, the Charles River Corp. was given management responsibility for those apes that are housed at Holloman Air Force Base.

Last year, the FDA warned Coulston that it would not accept study results while violations of Good Laboratory Practice standards continued at the Alamogordo facility. Around the same time, the NIH -- which had provided much of the agency's annual income -- discontinued all financial support.

Last December, the First National Bank of Alamogordo filed foreclosure papers against Coulston for more than $1.1 million in outstanding loans.

Noon's group had battled against Coulston in the past. The group, whose board included world-renowned primate researcher Jane Goodall, sued the U.S. Air Force in 1998 over 141 chimps given to the Coulston Foundation. The chimps were descendants of those used in the United States' early space efforts.

After a yearlong battle in federal court, Coulston gave the CCCC 21 chimps. Instead of living in cages, the chimps spend most of their days outdoors at the Florida sanctuary, in natural family units.

In the past year, Coulston has sold several chimps to a New Hampshire wildlife park and an animal entertainment outfit.

Over the summer, the Rio Grande Zoo acquired ten chimps from the Coulston Foundation for $100,000, said Ray Darnell, director of the Albuquerque Biological Park. The zoo, which has not had chimps since the early 1970s, will display the family after completion of a new $2.5 million chimpanzee exhibit.

Unlike the chimps at Holloman Air Force Base, who were exposed to or infected with HIV or hepatitis, none of the chimps acquired by Noon have been infected or subjected to medical experiments, Noon said.

Noon said that there will be no public access to the hundreds of Alamogordo chimps, most of whom are caged in groups of four to six, with males separated from females. Forty-eight chimps, highly social animals, are now housed individually in undersized cages, Noon said.

"It's really dismal here," Noon said. "I'd hate for anyone here to see these magnificent beings in these conditions."

Veterinarians will perform vasectomies on the male chimps so they can be introduced into family units with females without breeding, Noon said.

"I'll try to evaluate what he have here and see if we can renovate it," Noon said.

Thursday, September 19, 2002


Florida Sanctuary Retires All Chimpanzees and Monkeys At Defunct Coulston Primate Lab

ALAMOGORDO, N.M., Sep 18, 2002 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The notorious Coulston Foundation primate-testing laboratory has shut down and each of the 266 chimpanzees and 61 monkeys will be permanently removed from research, the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care announced today.

The Center, a non-profit organization that currently cares for 25 chimpanzees at its innovative sanctuary in Florida, took over the Coulston facilities on September 16. The primates range in age from 2 to 40 years old.

"We are thrilled to offer these long-suffering chimpanzees and monkeys the best possible outcome in the nearly decade-long controversy over this laboratory," said Dr. Carole Noon, founder and director of the Center. "After endless rhetoric nothing had been accomplished on the chimps' behalf. They had run out of options. The Coulston Foundation had been reduced to selling baby chimps just to make payroll. Now we begin the process of rehabilitation and restitution for the terrible wrongs inflicted on these individuals in the name of science."....

The Center's purchase was made possible by an unprecedented grant of $3.7 million from the Arcus Foundation of Kalamazoo, Michigan, a long-time supporter of the Florida sanctuary....


300 Research Chimps, Monkeys Retire

...During the weekend, Noon took over Coulston's facilities, including offices, animal housing and a laboratory, on the southwestern edge of Alamogordo. Noon said her organization paid $3.7 million for the land and facilities.

"Our main objective now is just to improve their lives as best we can,'' she said.

That includes feeding the animals fruits, vegetables and grains instead of "monkey chow,'' Noon said.

"They had no nest materials, no blankets ... no toys, no little tasks to occupy their minds,'' she said.

The animals will stay in the Alamogordo facility until Noon's group can build new facilities. "That may be a five- or 10-year period. But maybe we can provide them with what they need here,'' she said....

and (with a few factual errors and an obvious bias)

After years of being poked, hundreds of research chimps may relax in Florida

[Photo] New home.

Some are descendants of the chimps who went where no man had gone before, and now they have a chance to do what so many Americans dream of doing: retire to Florida....


New fieldwork reveals chimps teach young
Seiji Osumi Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

It has been generally believed that not even chimpanzees, the anthropoids closest to humans, are capable of teaching their young, and that their offspring learn by watching and "aping" their parents.

However, Michio Nakamura, a 31-year-old researcher at the Japan Monkey Center in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, has found evidence to the contrary.

"I saw a mother chimpanzee take her baby's hands and try to teach it how to groom itself," Nakamura said....

Wednesday, September 18, 2002


Baby talk more than nonsense
One anthropologist says, it is the foundation for language as we know it.
By Ryan Meehan Editor in Chief September 18, 2002

For those who believe the way mothers talk to their newborns is gibberish, Dean Falk has some news for you:

Baby talk is serious business.

It represents, she says, a microcosm of seven million years of linguistic evolution and further proves that man and chimpanzee are offspring of a common ancestor....

There are too many similarities in the way mother chimps interact with their infants and human mothers interact with theirs, she says.

For instance, one way humans establish emotional communication with a baby is by tickling.

The baby typically responds by laughing. The mother again tickles the baby and achieves the same result.

This, Falk says, teaches the infant the idea of “taking turns” in a conversation.

And chimps, Falk says, are no different.

Mother chimps have been observed tickling their babies and bringing about the same responses.

Baby chimps, like humans, are helpless at birth, become distressed when separated from the mother and have a fear of strangers.

However, the difference with chimps is that communication is more gestural.

“We are the only species in the world that chock up little bits of air and spew it forth,” Falk said....

If "very little [primate research] is done in the chimp," why are more than 1300 still imprisoned in biomedical research labs?


Macaque advocates seek higher status
NIH genome priorities misplaced, say miffed monkey researchers. By Tabitha M Powledge

Stung by a second-place finish last May in the race to be officially declared a high-priority genome project, partisans of the rhesus macaque plan to try again....

Rhesus monkey researchers have complained long and loud about finishing behind the chimpanzee in the first high-priority group selected. Funding was, after all, coming from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and one of NHGRI's main criteria for genome selection was supposed to be medical relevance, they argued.

"I would like to hold NIH's feet to the fire," said Roger Bumgarner, of the Washington Regional Primate Research Center in Seattle, a participant in the monkey genome project. "Nearly all primate research in the US is done in the macaque; very little is done in the chimp for a variety of reasons" he noted....

Tuesday, September 17, 2002


Ape alarm in West Africa
By Paul Welsh BBC, Abidjan

The chimpanzees of West Africa are under threat.

Hunting for bushmeat, logging and human encroachment are all reducing their numbers to dangerously low levels.

One of mankind's closest living relatives is in danger of being wiped out by its evolutionary cousin.

When you see a mother chimp with its offspring it looks for all the world like a woman with her spoilt little child. But it is actually becoming an increasingly rare sight - western chimpanzees in the West African forest.

The mother peels fruit for an impatient youngster sitting on the floor beside her. The youngster beats its hands on the ground and wails at its mother, pleading with her to go faster....

Nearly 300 safe, over 1300 still imprisoned by the biomedical research industry. Read more.


Elderly researcher turns chimps over to preserve
Last Update: 09/16/2002 15:12:59

[Photo: Caged Coulston chimpanzee accepts a banana.]

(Alamogordo-AP) -- Researcher Frederick Coulston, who helped develop or test treatments for malaria, hepatitis and AIDS, is letting go of all his chimps.

The 87-year-old Coulston says he turned over his remaining chimpanzees at the Coulston Foundation's animal research facility in Alamogordo to a Florida-based center.

The Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care is run by Carole Noon, an animal protection advocate. Coulston says he believes Noon will take good care of the 288 chimpanzees and 90 monkeys.

Coulston says once the transfer is complete he will head to Europe to establish a small company that will study drugs to treat infection and tissue irritation.

At its peak in the 1990s, the Coulston Foundation oversaw 650 chimps and had about 100 employees.


Your Wedding Reception At Entebbe Zoo?
Story Filed: Monday, September 16, 2002 1:43 PM EST

Kampala, Sep 14, 2002 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- From Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, word reaches us that they are planning to offer a unique and wild out-door wedding experience.

Apparently, for a small sum, rather than take pictures of you and your bride in the Sheraton Gardens or a studio after the wedding, they are offering couples and their guests a chance to pose with some of the animals at the zoo which include rhinos monkeys, lions and chimps....

Monday, September 16, 2002


[Photo] Jeremy John Mayar watches one of the chimpanzees eating a banana on an island near the town of Grand Lahou, on Tuesday, September 10, 2002. The chimps, originally from Liberia, seem to have slipped through the conservation net but Mayar feeds them twice a day. Chimpanzees across West Africa are classified among the most endangered species because of man-made threats like logging and hunting. (AP Photo/Boris Heger)

[Photo] One chimpanzee looks out over the river Bandama, as another eats a coconut watched by a baby near the town of Grand Lahou, on Tuesday, September 10, 2002. The chimps, originally from Liberia, seem to have slipped through the conservation net but Mayar feeds them twice a day. Chimpanzees across West Africa are classified among the most endangered species because of man-made threats like logging and hunting. (AP Photo/Boris Heger)

Sunday, September 15, 2002


Chimp expert turns to conservation
By JAY TOKASZ News Staff Reporter 9/14/2002

Jane Goodall became famous living in isolation in the Tanzania forest, with chimpanzees as her primary neighbors.
Now she's traveling around the world, hoping to spark a passion in children so that future generations will save the chimps and preserve the environment.

The renowned primatologist, whose landmark studies of chimps in the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve made her a household name, spent most of Friday at Clarence High School - one of hundreds of stops in her global conservation efforts.

Goodall said she could not in good conscience continue to spend most of her life researching, while chimpanzees and other animals are slaughtered for meat, forests are chopped down for lumber, and the ozone layer is depleted....

After opening her remarks with a rousing chimpanzee call, Goodall told students that she became interested in animals and rain forests by reading Tarzan books and was jealous of the vine-swinging adventurer's wife, who is also named Jane.

Goodall, who had no college degree, saved her tips from a waitress job to pay for her trip to Tanzania in 1960. The British government allowed her to go only if she brought along a companion. So Goodall chose her mother.

For months, the agile Gombe chimps fled whenever they saw Goodall, but she persisted, eventually earning their trust. Observation of the chimps has been ongoing for nearly 43 years.

Goodall's research led her to write several books, including "In the Shadow of Man" and "Reason for Hope."...

Saturday, September 14, 2002


Abandoned chimps highlight conservation challenges in West Africa
By CLAR NI CHONGHAILE The Associated Press 9/14/02 1:55 AM

GRAND LAHOU, Ivory Coast (AP) -- Jeremy John Mayar steps into his wooden pirogue and pushes off into the Bandama River. From a tiny island across the water, four waiting chimpanzees begin to holler.

The chimps are hungry -- their deep "ooh-oohs" echoing toward the thick green shroud of Azagny National Park behind Mayar. He pulls up, and eager arms snatch bananas and bread. A male named Ponkso tucks half a baguette under his arm and shakes Mayar's hand.

The four animals are tame chimps that have been abandoned, and their plight highlights the challenges facing conservationists in the tropical Guinean Forests.

Despite dwindling numbers of chimps and efforts to save what one expert called "man's closest cousins," abandoned chimps fall into a category all their own, unable to survive without human help and largely neglected by the conservation community.

There are only 39,000 western chimpanzees left in this region of an original 600,000. The western chimpanzee, one of four subspecies of the common chimpanzee, is already extinct in the wild in Benin, Gambia and Togo. It is almost extinct in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Ghana.....

Removed from the wild, chimpanzees like Ponkso, Crecia, Mimi and Papu lack the skills to survive in their habitat, and their plight is often overlooked as conservationists focus on preserving endangered communities in the wild.

The national park is just across the water, but reintroducing Ponkso and his family there is not an option.

Because they lived with humans, they may carry diseases that could cause havoc among a wild population, Kormos said. Chimpanzees are territorial, and can attack newcomers. Ponkso and his family are also used to humans, and might not be wary enough in the wild.

Ponkso and Crecia were among an original 20 brought to the island, near the colonial town of Grand Lahou in West Africa's Ivory Coast, from a viral research center in neighboring Liberia over two decades ago.

They have two children -- a daughter, Mimi, and an 18-month-old son, Papu....

"When we have money, we buy them food. We don't want the chimpanzees to die," he said.

Friday, September 13, 2002


Still on a roll: After a career on skates co-starring with a chimp, and a lifetime of memories, Kathleen Parry needs a wheelchair these days, but she's zipping along as gracefully as ever.
By Jan Jonas Tribune Reporter

...As one-third of the Quinlans, a roller and ice skating group in the Õ50s, Parry and her husband, Ralph, and Zippy, their chimp, toured Korea, Russia and Europe for 2 1/2 years sponsored by Camel cigarettes.

Before Zippy, Parry was beginning to tire easily from each performance. The tricks were taking a toll on her physically.

One day her husband suggested they get a trained chimpanzee to add to the act. It could do lots of tricks, he said, so Parry wouldn't have to do them.

"It's either this or kill ourselves," Parry said her husband told her in 1952.

So they scraped together every penny they could, gathering $10,000 to buy a small chimp from a trainer in Africa through some stateside show business connections.

Shipped from Africa to New York in a cargo plane during the winter, the tiny chimp - not technically a pygmy but small for a chimp - was left on the runway overnight.

By the time Parry and Quinlan got to him, the chimp's nose and ears were filled with mucous. A friend who was a pediatrician took a look at the animal and said it had a severe ear infection.

After treatment and some children's vitamins, Zippy's health improved and Parry began to train him.

She says she had no idea how to go about it, but she did what she thought was right.

Zippy lived 20 years. Parry and Quinlan had no children because Zippy was "like a baby."...


Outrage at chimp Aids experiments

An alleged plan to capture wild chimpanzees in Northern Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the purpose of Aids experiments by a Dr Victor Toma has been met with outrage by anti-vivisectionists as well as scientists in South Africa and abroad.

South Africans for the Abolition of Vivisection (SAAV) has been in contact with Sheila Siddle who runs the Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Orphanage in Zambia.

While chimps do not occur naturally in the wild in Zambia, Siddle reported that she had been assured by the Zambian Wildlife Authority that no import permits would ever be issued to Dr Toma and that no permission would ever be given to him for his experiments on chimps in Zambia....

Said SAAV representative Michele Pickover: "Leaving aside for the moment the fact that chimpanzees are a protected species of whom there are very few left in the world, this research would be seriously flawed as, on Toma's own admission, HIV is not deadly to chimps and would therefore serve as a poor model."

SAAV's views have been supported by Medical Research Modernisation Committee MD Dr Stephen Kaufman, who said that different viruses have different effects on different species.

"Human clinical investigation is the only way to study Aids in humans," he said.

Thursday, September 12, 2002


Pigs 'share brain skills' with humans and primates

Pigs use their brains to outwit each other in much the same way as humans and chimpanzees, scientists claim.

Although pigs often fight aggressively, researchers found they also adopt more subtle ploys to keep in front of rivals.

Dr Mike Mendl and colleagues at the University of Bristol observed social competitive behaviour among pigs of a kind normally seen in apes....

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Another bad joke? I'm not laughing.


Charlie Huisking — Sep 10, 2002
Asolo welcomes company members

The Asolo Theatre Company's first performance is nearly two months away. But an enthusiastic audience turned out Monday to welcome back some familiar actors and meet a few new ones....

By the way, the Asolo is still looking for a key cast member for "Inherit the Wind" -- a monkey. The show, of course, is based on the famous Scopes "monkey trial." Contact the theater if you know of a chimp with acting chops....


HIV-chimp doctor in dog box
Andre Jurgens

The government doctor with plans to illegally capture an endangered species of chimpanzee for use in HIV vaccine tests did not have permission to conduct the experiment.

This was confirmed by Department of Health officials, who acted swiftly to reprimand 65-year-old Dr Victor Toma this week.

Toma was identified by the Sunday Times as the man behind an anonymous newspaper advertisement for an HIV "pilot study in chimpanzees".

Toma is employed by the state at the Kimberley Hospital complex as a consultant specialising in blood diseases.

Monday, September 09, 2002


Urgent Focus on Endangered Western African Chimps
Mon Sep 9, 6:52 AM ET
ENS Correspondents,Environment News Service

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 6, 2002 (ENS) - Africa's endangered western chimpanzee is the object of an urgent action plan to be announced September 13 by an international group of scientists and government officials meeting in Abidjan.

The plan will be finalized during a conference September 12 and 13 at the Golf Hotel, with chimp conservation experts from Africa, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal.

Côte d'Ivoire's Prime Minister Affi N'Guessan is scheduled to speak during the opening session.

The goal is to reach a consensus among government officials, researchers, protected area managers and private conservation groups to take specific steps to halt or reverse the decline in chimpanzee numbers in West Africa....

The show says this was just "a joke". If so, it was decidedly unfunny.


Dayton has an edge on morning television
New ‘Daily Buzz’ to be shot in city
By Leigh Allan
e-mail address:
Dayton Daily News

I’m in need of a chimp. Not for me. For The Daily Buzz....

...the last time a TV morning concept swept the country, the real star was J. Fred Muggs, who was of the chimpanzee persuasion. Peggy, whose show turf includes pets, said she’d love to have a chimp — said so even after I called for regular billing, not just a guest spot.

So if you’ve got a chimp with show biz flair, please let me know. I’ll try to set things up with The Daily Buzz. For the usual agent’s commission, of course.

Friday, September 06, 2002


This young chimp's not just monkeying around
Tony Lee Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

Looking at the young chimpanzee struggling to put the right peg in the right hole, I'm struck by how human he appears. The quizzical but determined look on his face could be seen in any kindergarten, and even his lips seem pursed in concentration.

It's almost ridiculously easy to believe what Claudia Sousa, a graduate student here at Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute (PRI), tells me, that studying Ayumu can help us understand human evolution. Just weeks before my visit, the toddler caused quite a flurry at PRI when he earned a 100 yen coin and used it to buy food--a complex task that suggests he may not only be able to use tools, but also understand the basic concept of money.

But then Ayumu scampers off to his mother, Ai, knuckles treading the floor, and I realize there's more than just a clear plastic wall dividing us--there's also 5 to 10 million years, depending on how you base your estimate....

If Sousa and Matsuzawa succeed in showing that chimps can understand that money serves multiple functions and that different objects can be given different values, this would add ammunition to the prevailing but controversial view among primatologists that the differences between chimps and humans are of degree rather than kind. And that would be one in the eye to Chomsky.

The center of all this attention, though, couldn't care less. All he wants to do right now is get the peg through the hole.


The captivity controversy
Tony Lee Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

It's like a looney-tunes game of snakes and ladders, or the crash site of an alien spaceship--three 15-meter-high metal climbing frames with platforms, ladders and ropes strung every which way.

For the 14 chimpanzees at Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute (PRI) in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, it's home sweet home....

However, despite its size and enriched environment, the facility is not ideal. Roger Fouts, a U.S. researcher who has worked extensively with Washoe, the first chimp to learn sign language, says that both the Inuyama enclosure and his own similarly scaled facility at Central Washington University's primate center are "like prisons" compared with the best conditions for chimps in the wild. "Free-living" chimps, he says, can range up to 10 kilometers in a day and build nests 50 meters high.

He goes even further. "We treat them like prisoners--sometimes well-cared-for prisoners, but prisoners nonetheless."...

For Matsuzawa, the real prisoners are caged in poorly administered zoos under horrifying conditions that can lead to aberrant behavior like eating feces. More than half of all chimp mothers in zoos refuse to rear their infants, he says.

To the extent that studying chimps is a necessity, PRI's enclosure is the best available, Matsuzawa says.

Fouts says his center will not breed its subjects. Matsuzawa, however, envisions further generations of chimps at PRI, allowing better study of family relations....

Thursday, September 05, 2002


U.S. Government Commits $36 Million to Protect Congo's Forests; Three International NGOs Match Government Commitment

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Sep 4, 2002 (U.S. Newswire via COMTEX) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced today that the United States will commit at least $36 million in newly allocated money over the next three years to the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. The partnership will help protect the world's second largest block of intact and interconnected tropical forest.

The Congo Basin Forest Partnership is a United States government initiative to promote the conservation and responsible management of the Basin's tropical forests. U.S. government funds will be used to protect eleven priority areas in six countries -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo....

The Congo Basin hosts some of the most charismatic biodiversity in the world, ranging from forest elephants, bongos and chimpanzees to forest buffalos and western lowland gorillas. The bonobo, or pygmy chimpanzee, is also found in this region, where it is restricted to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our closest living relative, the bonobo, is considered one of the most endangered apes in the world....


TaikoBot Tests Critical To Safety Of Shenzhou Yuhangyuans
by Wei Long
Beijing - Sep 04, 2002

When the two test dummies blast off into space on Shenzhou-4 (SZ-4) later this year or early next year, they will continue the role of their predecessors in the testing of the critical life protection and related subsystems on the manned spacecraft....

Unlike the former Soviet Union and the United States that used live animals early in their programs to test their respective manned spacecraft, China has chosen to use dummies instead....

"The atmospheric pressure and oxygen pressure inside the spacecraft, and the instrument control relies on human control. Animal testing could not check whether the system would meet the manned spaceflight requirements."

Su continued, "Take breathing as an example: human consumption of oxygen is much higher than that of a monkey and a chimpanzee. Using a manikin installation and fixing its workload, the data obtained this way could prove whether the spacecraft is safe."...

Wednesday, September 04, 2002


Apes' habitat 'vanishing fast'
BY Alex Kirby BBC News Online environment correspondent in Johannesburg

[Photo: Chimps in forest] The great apes are under threat

...Unep published its report - The Great Apes - The Road Ahead - at the World Summit on Sustainable Development here. It details the findings of scientists working for Unep's Great Apes Survival Project (Grasp)....

Dr Klaus Toepfer, Unep's Executive Director, said at the report's launch: "Roads are being built in the few remaining pristine forests of Africa and south-east Asia to extract timber, minerals and oil. Uncontrolled road construction in these areas is fragmenting and destroying the great apes' last homes. This makes it easier for poachers to slaughter them for meat, and it makes their young more vulnerable to capture for the illegal pet trade...."

Dr Jane Goodall began studying chimpanzees in east Africa in 1960. "Chimpanzees resemble humans not only genetically and anatomically, but in their behaviour," she said. They have long-term affectionate and supportive relationships, they sometimes make war - although more often they're loving. "And they can be altruistic. We can see the same kind of behaviour in the three other great ape species. "All have minds that can solve simple problems, and all have feelings. So it's a moral responsibility to save them from extinction...."


Wilds of Africa's Gabon slated for vast park system
Wed Sep 4, 9:04 AM ET
Tim Friend USA TODAY

One of the last wild places on Earth, brimming with chimpanzees, lowland gorillas and forest elephants, will be preserved as a system of national parks by the government of Gabon in Central Africa, Gabonese officials announced Tuesday.

More than 10,000 square miles, about 10% of Gabon, is being designated for 13 national parks....


"Drawing the Line" by Steven M. Wise
A Harvard professor says science itself proves that such animals as parrots, apes and elephants should be considered persons with legal rights. By Kurt Kleiner

Is a parrot a person? How about a chimpanzee? Or a honeybee? Of course any kid can tell you that they're not. Only people are people. Animals are animals.

But Steven M. Wise says it's not that simple. In "Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights," he argues that science shows that some animals really are people. At least, they're legally entitled to be treated that way.

Wise is a lawyer and well-known animal rights activist who teaches a course on animal rights law at Harvard University. In his previous book, "Rattling the Cage," he argued that chimpanzees and bonobos deserve protection as legal persons. Here he extends the argument, and asks whether seven different animals -- gorillas, orangutans, parrots, dolphins, elephants, dogs and honeybees -- are entitled to legal rights.

If your high school biology classes were anything like mine, you were taught that animals are instinct-driven automatons. If we think we see intelligence, reasoning, even emotion in animals, then we're anthropomorphizing. But Wise details scientific work that shows some animals' minds really do seem to work like our own. He thinks he can use these studies, combined with the legal principle of equality, as a crowbar to pry animal rights out of existing law....

Wise's accounts of animals' mental abilities are fascinating and thought-provoking. But in the end, it wasn't their relative autonomy scores that swung my sympathies. It was the description of Koko making a joke; of a mother elephant involving her youngster in a game so she could complete a task. It was the account of Alex, the parrot, left at the vet for surgery, calling after her keeper, "Come here. I love you. I'm sorry. I want to go back."

Call me an animal lover, call me a shameless anthropomorphizer. But I'm most convinced by the animal rights movement when I'm made to consider that animals can suffer and feel emotion. I think most people are the same.

Only if and when enough people decide that it's morally -- "philosophically" -- wrong to treat animals the way we do, and then translate those beliefs into political action, will there be hope for the sort of sweeping change Wise advocates.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002


Near Total Ape-Habitat Loss Foreseen By 2030
National Geographic News
September 3, 2002

Less than ten per cent of the remaining habitat of the great apes of Africa will be left relatively undisturbed by 2030 if road building, mining camps, and other infrastructure developments continue at current levels, a new report suggests....

The findings—announced today at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg—have come from a study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which is coordinating the Great Apes Survival Project partnership (GRASP), and scientists from Norway and the United States....

It is not too late to stop uncontrolled exploitation of these forests, Toepfer said. "By doing so, we may save not only the great apes, but thousands of other species....

[Sidebar] Chimpanzee
The study estimates that around 26 percent, or some 390,840 square kilometers (150,000 square miles) of remaining chimpanzee habitat, can be classified as relatively undisturbed. If infrastructure growth continues at current levels, the area left by 2030 is estimated to be 118,618 square kilometers (46,000 square miles) or just 8 percent. It amounts to a 2.3 per cent, or 9,070 square kilometers (3,500 square miles), annual loss of low-impacted chimpanzee habitat from countries including Guinea, Cote D'Ivoire, and Gabon.

U.N. Sounds Alarm for Great Apes at Earth Summit
By Ed Stoddard

...A U.N. report launched at the Earth Summit showed that logging, mining, human settlement and the trade in ape meat were wiping out gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos in Africa and the orangutans of Asia.

U.N officials called for urgent action to save the great apes, saying their fate was crucial to the success of the Earth Summit's plans to reduce biodiversity loss by 2010....

Researchers say the great apes are highly intelligent with sophisticated social structures. Chimpanzees share 98.4 percent of human DNA, more than any other mammal.

"They are like us in more than their biological composition," primate researcher Jane Goodall told a news conference to launch the report.

The shrinking habitat has been accompanied by a sharp decline in great ape populations.

Some estimates put the current chimpanzee population at 200,000, against perhaps two million a century ago....



A United Nations campaign to help save gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) and orang-utans from extinction received a boost today following £300,000 of extra funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The FCO's donation to the Great Ape Survival Project (GrASP) will help produce educational packs on African Ape Sanctuaries, fund workshops to establish codes of conduct for the mining industry and develop sustainable tourism initiatives. Approximately £50,000 of this year's allocation will be used to fund four workshops in African and Asian states. These workshops will bring together all those with an interest in great ape conservation to implement the Great Ape Survival Plans for their country....

Monday, September 02, 2002


Illegal bid to get chimps for HIV tests
SA doctor says he plans to 'break the law for the good of humanity' by capturing wild apes for vaccine experiment. ANDRE JURGENS

A SOUTH African doctor is planning to illegally capture wild chimpanzees - which are endangered - to use in an HIV vaccine experiment.

And despite stinging criticism from environmentalists, including chimp expert Jane Goodall, Dr Victor Toma is unapologetic. "I am planning to break the law for the good of humanity," he said this week.

Toma placed a newspaper advert, on the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, seeking financial support for an HIV vaccine study on live chimps. He plans to get the six to 11 chimps from the Democratic Republic of Congo....

It could take years to get permission to conduct the experiment in South Africa via a legal process that was "cumbersome and not feasible", he explained.

But the creatures were easy to capture, for a small fee, in or near the DRC. They would be infected with HIV and injected with the vaccine "on a farm in northern Zambia" in a three- month pilot study costing about R100 000, he said.

There was a fortune to be made if the vaccine worked, claimed the 65-year-old doctor who is a consultant specialising in blood diseases at Kimberley Hospital....

Asked about their fate, he said: "They will be released in nature or, if infected, I will probably put them down. I have killed thousands of mice, rats and beautiful rabbits.

"How many cows and chickens are killed in London every day?" ...

Chimps injected with HIV do not develop Aids, Goodall said....