Sunday, December 29, 2002

APE SMUGGLING RING UNCOVERED IN NIGERIA

Nigeria Responsible for 25% Ozone Layer Depletion-Minister

...The minister also spoke on the discovery of an animal snuggling syndicate in Kano which specialises in exporting gorillas, chimpanzees and tortoise. He stated that two of the suspects in the syndicate, Paul and Lizza, will be arrested for the illegal trading.

He alleged that the animal smugglers who are both foreigners, operates at a warehouse in Kano from where they export the animals to Europe and Asia. He said that most of the animals were either brought from Cameroon or other West African neighbouring countries because the species found at the warehouse were alien to Nigeria.

SANTA REMEMBERS ZOO INMATES

Santa visits chimps first
By Ron Hayes, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

LOXAHATCHEE -- You've probably wondered how Santa Claus is able to deliver all those presents to all those children all over the world in just one cold winter's night.

Simple.

He gives all the chimps their presents in advance.

Monday morning for example, Claus was at Lion Country Safari, ferrying four boatloads of gaily wrapped gifts to the 35 chimpanzees who live on the wildlife park's five chimp islands.

Christmas was saddened this year by the absence of Nolan, the park's alpha male, who succumbed to a stroke in November....

TOTO CHIMPANZEE'S OWNER DEAD

Former Miami-Dade judge famed for toughness dies
She was a tireless pioneer in county justice
BY ANDREA ELLIOTT

Ellen Morphonios, a nationally renowned Miami-Dade County circuit judge whose tough sentences and blunt charm earned high acclaim among criminals and colleagues, died Sunday. She was 73....

Morphonios leaves a legacy of idiosyncrasies, the stuff of courthouse legend: She decorated her chambers and signed documents in her favorite color -- lavender. An avid animal lover, she sometimes brought her diaper-clad pet chimpanzee, Toto, to work....

Chimpanzees don't get AIDS from HIV. It is human immunodeficiency virus, after all. Others are skeptical as well.

WILL AIDS VACCINE WORK FOR HUMAN PRIMATES?

Anticipation grows for AIDS vaccine
Human trial ends; findings awaited
By Raja Mishra, Globe Staff, 12/23/2002

Scientists have finished the first human trial of an AIDS vaccine, a mammoth $200 million, 5,400-patient effort more than a decade in the making.

Within three months, the vaccine's maker, California-based VaxGen Inc., will reveal whether simple injections can protect against the world's most feared viral killer. Already, the Food and Drug Administration has granted the vaccine fast-track status that would speed it through the approval process, if it proves effective, for public availability....

''You don't know the outcome until nature gives you the message,'' he said, adding, ''I don't think that there's any doubt, from the chimp data, that the vaccine is effective.''

The vaccine first proved itself in primates. Chimps acquired complete immunity against a version of the virus that the vaccine was precisely tailored for. A second test found similar immunity against a mutated form of the virus; HIV has various genetic strains....

Saturday, December 28, 2002

CHIMPANZEE PARENTING

Protective parenting
By Laura Sessions Stepp

Parental anxiety weighs on children

...Neurologist Richard Restak, author of the book accompanying the PBS series "The Secret Life of the Brain," says children raised by anxious adults become anxious themselves. Psychologist Frans deWaal, who works at Emory University's Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta, has observed this in chimpanzees.

When juvenile chimps play together and start quarreling, some of the youngsters inevitably squeal, he says. Some mothers, sitting several yards away, simply watch, but others go over right away to comfort their particular chimp.

The babies whose mothers get involved become crybabies, deWaal says, and over time the other young chimps won't play with them....

Friday, December 27, 2002

NOT SO DIFFERENT FROM US

Do animals think?
When a fox hears the hounds baying and starts to run, is it obeying some ancient instinct, or does it 'know' to be afraid?
Tim Radford, Wednesday December 18, 2002

Mammals have brains. So they can feel pain, experience fear and react in disgust....

Apes, as humanity's closest relatives, show unexpected abilities. Researchers from St Andrews in 1999 counted 39 different ways in which chimpanzees deal with food: since these differ according to group and geography, they have used the word "culture" to describe these differing methods. One female chimpanzee in Kyoto two years ago convinced researchers that she can place Arabic numerals in ascending order one to nine. Two rhesus moneys called Rosencrantz and Macduff astonished a team at Columbia University in New York in 1998 by distinguishing groups of objects numbering one to four. Chimpanzees in large captive colonies forge alliances, switch sides and doublecross each other. They have also been seen in the wild systematically searching for leaves that have a medicinal effect: from such observations, a new branch of research has been born. It is called zoopharmacognosy.

Chimpanzees and humans share a common ancestor, and 98% of their DNA....

CANADIAN CHIMPANZEE ARTISTS

It's no monkey business
Rescued chimps at Quebec reserve paint to while away the hours and raise money for their foundation
By Nelson Wyatt / The Canadian Press

Carignan, Que. - Tom ponders his canvas, then dips his paint brush and begins to work over the surface in broad, deliberate strokes.

He's obviously not Tom Thomson, the legendary member of Canada's painting Group of Seven. This Tom is one of the Fauna Foundation's group of six. And he's a chimp.

His monkeying around - and that of his furry friends - has created a ripple in the art world, with one exhibit of their work held in Toronto last November and another tentatively scheduled for Montreal early in the new year....

While the chimps have a happy story now, their past is more heart-rending. All except one come from labs where they were used as test animals, sent there after they grew too big to continue as cute performers in the entertainment industry or as exotic pets. The other came from a Quebec zoo.

The lab chimps have fragile immune systems and a wary nature. Tom was injected with 10,000 times the quantity of HIV it would take to give AIDS to a human but never got the virus. Pepper had 36 liver biopsies.

The animals were rescued from being warehoused by their testers when a U.S. lab closed in 1997. They were deemed to be too badly damaged to be used for further medical research....

ZOO INMATE NEVER WAKES UP

Toledo Zoo chimp's death leaves pal bereft

Toledo - A 45-year-old chimpanzee at the Toledo Zoo has died in her sleep, leaving keepers worried about the zoo's last chimp, now living without companionship.

Keepers thought Elie was asleep, nestled in her blankets, when they arrived for work on Friday. But then they watched 42-year-old Fifi tapping on Elie and pulling on her hand.

"She wouldn't get up," said Jim Ravas, zoo marketing director....

Chimps can live up to 60 years in captivity, but they are considered elderly by age 40. An exam was scheduled for yesterday to determine the cause of death.

It is not clear what will happen to Fifi.

Zoo Executive Director Bill Dennler has said that the zoo would not acquire any more chimps, which are highly social animals that live in tight-knit groups in the wild.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

ZOO INMATES DRAWN TO ART

Russian Chimpanzee Learning To Draw

Animals suffer from continuous stress when they are in cages. Anthropoid apes suffer from the strongest stress in winter when there are practically no visitors in the zoo. A special pastime was invented especially for the chimpanzee in the zoo of the Russian city of Rostov. It was decided to teach chimpanzee to draw. By the way, scientists say that human presence distracts and entertains the animal.

Deputy director of the zoo, Alexander Lipkovich told a RIA Novosti correspondent that when chimpanzee is plunged into intellectual work, it gets rid of the psychological stress. Only two chimpanzees in the Rostov zoo are inclined to drawing. When the drawing lessons are over, the chimpanzees inevitably eat up all pencils and practically all of their drawings. However, the chimpanzee tutors managed to save some of the drawings. When there are many drawings, staffers of the Rostov zoo will probably open a gallery of monkey arts.

BONOBO BAND

After years away from studio, Gabriel 'Up' for it again
By Richard Harrington
WASHINGTON POST

...Gabriel's next album could be with the bonobo apes. That's not a band, but a breed of notoriously intelligent chimps from the Congo. Gabriel, whose 1982 hit "Shock the Monkey" attacked animal research, has made a half-dozen trips to Georgia State University's Language Research Center, where scientists are studying how apes react to symbols and sign language. Working with a male and female bonobo, Gabriel tested their musical intelligence, convinced that music could be a bridge between humans and apes, just as it was for humans and aliens in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Echoing one of that film's most famous sequences, Gabriel played an electric keyboard, searching for a direct response.

"The male was much better at the rhythmic stuff -- he was playing these great triplets," Gabriel reports. "I asked the female to play with one finger, mainly in the white notes, which she did; she was searching around for notes that would harmonize and there was very simple melody."...

Thursday, December 12, 2002

MORAL CONSIDERATIONS

Non-human rights
Dec 13 Michael Pollan

`The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.' (Gandhi)

The first time I opened Peter Singer's Animal Liberation, I was dining alone, trying to enjoy a rib-eye steak cooked medium-rare. If this sounds like a good recipe for cognitive dissonance (if not indigestion), that was sort of the idea. Singer and the swelling ranks of his followers ask us to imagine a future in which people will look back on my meal, and the steakhouse, as relics of a backward age. Eating animals, wearing animals, experimenting on animals, killing animals for sport: all these practices, so resolutely normal to us, will be seen as the barbarities they are, and we will come to view "speciesism" - a neologism I had encountered before only in jokes - as a form of discrimination as indefensible as racism or anti-Semitism....

..."The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"

Bentham here is playing a powerful card philosophers call the "argument from marginal cases", or AMC for short. It goes like this: there are humans - infants, the severely retarded, the demented - whose mental function cannot match that of a chimpanzee. Even though these people cannot reciprocate our moral attentions, we nevertheless include them in the circle of our moral consideration. So on what basis do we exclude the chimpanzee?

Because he's a chimp, I furiously scribbled in the margin, and they're human! For Singer that's not good enough. To exclude the chimp from moral consideration simply because he's not human is no different from excluding the slave simply because he's not white. In the same way we'd call that exclusion racist, the animal rightist contends that it is speciesist to discriminate against the chimpanzee solely because he's not human.

But the differences between blacks and whites are trivial compared with the differences between my son and a chimp. Singer counters by asking us to imagine a hypothetical society that discriminates against people on the basis of something non-trivial - say, intelligence. If that scheme offends our sense of equality, then why is the fact that animals lack certain human characteristics any more just as a basis for discrimination? Either we do not owe any justice to the severely retarded, he concludes, or we do owe it to animals with higher capabilities....

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

CHIMPANZEE HABITUATION HELPS UGANDA

Roundup: Uganda protects wildlife for promotion of tourism

KAMPALA, Dec. 10 (Xinhuanet,by Chen Cailin) -- The Ugandan government has benefitted from its conservation of wildlife resource for development of its tourism....

To attract more tourists to visit national parks in the country,UWA has introduced an exclusive new product, the Chimpanzee Habituation Program in Kibale National Park in western Uganda. The program involves a team of trackers that follow chimpanzees in order to get them accustomed to human presence, so that visitors can enjoy viewing these fascinating creatures in their natural habitant....

YOUNG CHIMPANZEE SERVES AS PROP AT MOVIE PREMIERE

[Photo 1, Photo 2] Actor Tom Kane, the voice of Darwin in the animated motion picture comedy 'The Wild Thornberrys Movie,' holds hands with Jake, a 2 1/2 year-old chimp during the premiere of the film at the Cinerama Dome December 8, 2002 in the Hollywood.

[Photo 1, Photo 2] Actress Lacey Chabert, the voice of Eliza Thornberry in the animated motion picture comedy 'The Wild Thornberrys Movie,' poses with Jake, a 2 1/2 year-old chimp, during the premiere of the film at the Cinerama Dome December 8, 2002 in Hollywood.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

CJ and another young chimpanzee were not rescued, but purchased. And real shelters don't dress nonhuman primates in children's clothes and rent them out for photos.

EXOTIC PETS

[Photo] A CHIMPANZEE named "C.J." (short for Calamity Jane) "grooms" a two-week-old leopard cub during a fundraiser for Animal Antics, a shelter for rescued exotic animals, outside the Exotic Pets store at 2105 N. Decatur Blvd. The rummage sale and photo shoot with exotic animals raised money to improve the living conditions for rescued exotic animals and to help pay for their medical treatment, said Animal Antics owner Nikki Riddell.

Monday, December 09, 2002

ROADSIDE ZOO ATTEMPTS REBIRTH

The home stretch for haven?
The former roadside attraction, which must reopen to the public by summer, appeals for donations.

[Times photo: Scott Keeler] Debbie Cobb of the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor visits with Cheetah, a chimpanzee that wound up in a research lab after a stint in Hollywood.

PALM HARBOR -- Cheetah the aging chimpanzee savored his midday snack of grapefruit like a child munching a handful of candy. Later, a handsome 550-pound gorilla named Otto daintily sucked on a Tang slushy.

For them, this might be the highlight of their day.

Cheetah and Otto are some of the menagerie of animals at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, which is the new and improved version of the storied Noell's Ark Chimp Farm on Alt. U.S. 19.

The decades-old roadside attraction was closed to the public about four years ago after state and federal officials found that it kept animals in undersized and outdated cages....

Federal officials charged the Chimp Farm with using cages that were rusty, small, dirty and had jagged edges; keeping incomplete records about the animals; improperly storing food and bedding; and housing animals in uncomfortable conditions.

Supporters say they are doing what they can with meager resources and they hope that the public understands that the facility is no longer a tacky roadside attraction.

"We really hope that people understand we are a sanctuary now," Stiteler said. "What we are doing is God's work."

Not everyone believes that the facility can change.

The Chimp Farm was castigated by an animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The facility "was easily one of the worst roadside zoos in the country when it was in operation," said Amy Rhodes, a PETA animals-in-entertainment specialist in Norfolk, Va.

"They have a long and sordid history of neglecting animals," Rhodes said. "I cannot believe that all of a sudden they have decided to turn things around when all these years they have just been in it for profit."...

CHIMERA CONCERNS

Stanford scientists produce hybrid mouse with human cells
BY LISA M. KRIEGER Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - In a cross-species experiment that raises provocative ethical questions - but offers potential therapeutic advances - scientists at Stanford University have created a pint-sized hybrid, a healthy mouse with paws, whiskers and millions of human cells in its brain....

Assuming that Weissman's experiment is highly unlikely to boost the mental capabilities of the mouse, what might occur if brain tissue were transplanted into a higher creature - say, a primate much more closely related to humans?

"If human cells can be implanted into mice, they could also be put in chimpanzees? Is it possible to develop animals that are of a cognition and sentience that rival our own?" asked Larry Shapiro, a lawyer and bioethicist with the University of Southern California. "What actual properties of a `mind' does an animal have to have before it is considered a person? It's not precise.

"If you create a mentally augmented chimp, does it become a person? Can you keep it in a zoo? Can it apply for admission into law school? These are legitimate questions," he said....

Friday, December 06, 2002

I wonder if the company informed its human research subjects that chimpanzees respond to HCV differently than humans.

CHIMPANZEE-TESTED HEPATITIS DRUG DESIGNATED

Nabi Biopharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for Civacir(TM), Investigational Hepatitis C Antibody Product in Clinical Trial

BOCA RATON, Fla., Dec 5, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Nabi Biopharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: NABI) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted its investigational product, Civacir(TM) [Hepatitis C Immune Globulin (Human)], Orphan Drug Designation for prevention of hepatitis C infection in liver transplant recipients. Civacir is an antibody-based therapy currently in its first clinical trial....

...Results of a previously reported study in chimpanzees showed that multiple infusions of Civacir effectively eliminated circulating HCV and protected animals against HCV-induced liver disease for as long as antibody levels were maintained.

This Civacir clinical trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health, and is being conducted by the NIAID Collaborative Anti-Viral Study Group at five study sites in the United States....

Thursday, December 05, 2002

EX-RESEARCH CHIMPANZEE DIES YOUNG OF STROKE

Lion Country chimp Nolan dies at 32
By Scott McCabe, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Nolan, the king of Chimp Island at Lion Country Safari, the chimpanzee who loved to play toss each Christmas with Santa, died Wednesday after a suffering a stroke. He was 32.

Nolan was born in Africa in 1970. African primate dealers that same year shot Nolan's mother and sold him to a laboratory in New York, according to officials at the drive-through zoo off Southern Boulevard in western Palm Beach County.

Nolan spent his first years without seeing the sun, a tree or a full human face....

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

USING A CHIMPANZEE TO STIMULATE IDEAS

Be an innovative creator
A sense of fun is key to the success of a Santa Ana firm.
By JAN NORMAN The Orange County Register

Jim McCafferty has a dream company. He and his 28 employees sit around all day playing with toys. Sometimes the Lakers cheerleaders drop by. Other times, it's a chimpanzee....

McCafferty, who was a professional magician, helps ad agencies, toy companies and movie studios develop creative ideas and products....

JMP staff develops custom tools and exercises for the session. These activities must keep the momentum going, keep the work entertaining and fun. That's where the Laker girls and chimpanzee come in....

Monday, December 02, 2002

GOOD-NATURED APES

Conflict resolution
Zoologists used to believe that violence in human society could be traced to higher primates' natural propensity for aggression. But a new theory says that apes are not antagonistic at all. Sanjida O'Connell investigates
02 December 2002

In the opening scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey, a group of hominids are gathering food and quarrelling with a rival tribe over access to a waterhole. Violence erupts, and one male beats another to death with a bone. The murder weapon is thrown in the air, and we fast-forward millions of years of human evolution by cutting from the image of the flying bone to a spaceship in flight. The switch in scene has become an icon of how human endeavour can be traced back to a violent ancestry....

...More recently, primatologists such as Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson have followed in that tradition. In their book Demonic Males, they describe the evil inherent in biology. Their fellow primatologist Alison Jolly, commenting on their work, says: "This book shows why border raids, rape and warfare are the natural inheritance of the human ape. It challenges us to shape human lives more wisely than the gang life of the chimpanzee, our heroic, demonic alter ego."

Now, two primatologists have come up with a new model of primate behaviour, which challenges the central tenet of much of primatology. They believe that apes and monkeys live co-operatively and affectionately with little antagonism....

To prove their case, the two collected data from the vast literature of primate observations published in scientific journals.... When they had collated their results, they discovered a startling fact: despite the portrayal of primates as incredibly gregarious animals, only 3 per cent of a gorilla's time is spent being social.

The figure is 4-15 per cent in gibbons, and chimpanzees spend a quarter of their time devoted to one another. A tiny fraction of that time was spent being aggressive – 0.6 antagonistic events an hour in monkeys, and only 0.09 events in apes. As the researchers point out, that includes life-threatening attacks but also any kind of aggression, from chasing to a hard stare....

...If Sussman is right, we have evolved from creatures who are not demonic at all, but peaceful and easy-going – but who mostly are surviving and not attempting to be social at all. As Sussman says, "When animals have evolved to live in a group, they live peacefully and they enjoy it. They have to."

NEW ZEALAND SPRAYS POISON ON ZOO TO PROTECT CROPS

Apes ok but springboks nervous as moth spraying continues
03 December 2002

Indra the 23-year-old orang-utan at Auckland Zoo got a little help for his asthma as an expanded aerial attack on the painted apple moth resumed early yesterday.


Indra and Janie the chimpanzee were given medication 24 hours in advance of the blitz by staff worried the spray could aggravate their breathing conditions.

Yesterday was the first time the zoo had been included in the $90 million spraying campaign over 40,400 west Auckland households to kill the painted apple moth before it can damage agricultural crops....

THIS IS ART

Simian art draws rave reviews
Last Updated Fri, 29 Nov 2002 22:00:15
MONTREAL - A small Toronto art gallery is featuring the abstract work of seven unexpected talents.

The modern paintings were created by chimpanzees that spent years travelling with the circus and acting as test subjects for medical research.

The chimps were infected with the HIV virus, used for hepatitis research and had liver biopsies.

Gloria Grow and her partner rescued one chimp named Tom and 14 others from a New York laboratory five years ago. They decided to use their hobby farm at the Fauna Foundation to give the chimps a new life....

Gallery owner Hashem Altakawy said it's getting a good reception. "I think this is the first time we've had a show like this in the gallery. They love it."

The original paintings sell for between $700 and $1,200, with all the money going toward the care of the chimps.

FEDERAL CHIMPANZEE STORAGE FACILITY GETS ASSISTANCE

3 from MU part of push for chimp home
By Katie Bunker Cox News Service

OXFORD | Two Miami University professors and a student are helping chimpanzees around the country find a new place to monkey around.

Chimp Haven was founded in 1995, driven by its goal to provide chimps no longer needed in research or entertainment with a permanent home. This dream soon will be realized in Caddo Parish near Shreveport, La., where a 200-acre sanctuary within a nature preserve will be set aside for chimpanzees selected from around the country.

After the passage of the federal Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act in 2000, Chimp Haven submitted a 675-page application in hopes of being selected to receive funding of the first chimp sanctuary of this scale. Now Chimp Haven is part of a $24 million contract from the National Institutes of Health, and still must raise $6 million to match these federal funds....

Construction of the sanctuary is scheduled for the spring or early summer of 2003. Chimp Haven President Linda Brent said that she anticipates that the first group of chimps will move into the sanctuary in the spring or summer of 2004.

Chimp Haven will select and move chimpanzees to the sanctuary in phases, with the first phase including about 75 chimpanzees. Brent said that ultimately Chimp Haven hopes to house 200 chimpanzees....