Posts tagged ‘news’
Researchers from USA, Ethiopia and Norway (including CSUF’s own Dr. Peter Fashing) have helped to shed light on a relatively unknown monkey in Ethiopia known as the Bale monkey, named for the forests of the Bale massif and Hagere Selam regions of southeastern Ethiopia. The bale monkey had been considered to difficult to study due to environmental conditions such as fog and mountainous terrain. The big discovery was that the bale monkey relies on bamboo for its main sustenance. Only one other primate is known for this, the bamboo lemur of Madagascar. Check out the article for more info and look into the paper in The International Journal of Primatology if you are more interested!
A new study using DNA techniques found traces of monkeys and duikers in the feces of gorillas in Loango National Park in Gabon. While the news sounds exciting more research is necessary to confirm if the gorillas may actually be consuming meat as opposed to eating insects that feed on mammals or one of the animals contaminating the feces samples before they were collected. Interesting area for future research nonetheless!
Primatologist Betsy Herrelkobegan a project using video technology to try and discover what sorts of things chimpanzees prefer to view. A portion of the project was the give her study chimpazees a “chimp-proof” video camera and see what the result was. The movie will be aired on the BBC but you can see a portion below.
Check out this link for a short video of the Cross-River Gorilla! This is the first time these rare apes have been caught by a professional camera as they are very hard to track and have not been habituated to human presence.
Kuni and Baby Bonobo – photo credit to Marian Brickner
November 12, 2009 – Jacksonville, Florida — Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announced its fourth bonobo born at the Zoo—the first in five and one-half years. The female infant was born on the 6th of November to Kuni, a 24 –year-old female bonobo who came to the Jacksonville Zoo from the San Diego Zoo in 2003. The sire of the baby is unknown, but could be either Akili or Mabruki, resident males that are both recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) to breed with Kuni. DNA tests will be done when the infant is older to determine paternity.
Kuni, born at the Wilhelma Zoo in Germany on February 24, 1985, is important to the Bonobo SSP population because she is unrelated to all other U.S. bonobos, except her daughter Johari. Johari is non-reproductive, making Kuni and this new infant that much more valuable to the population for increasing genetic diversity. Both Kuni and her infant will be monitored closely to make sure that they are healthy.
“The mother has wonderful paternal skills,” said the Zoo’s Director of Animal Programs, Delfi Messinger. “She seems so proud, and shows her baby to the ‘aunties’ in the group, as well as to her human caretakers. The pair will be on exhibit intermittently beginning this weekend depending on social grouping and the weather.”
By Eric Broude
Daily Titan Staff Writer
Cal State Fullerton’s
The Primatology Student Association, a club on campus, is asking for donations of old cell phones and ink cartridges.
The profits from this fundraiser will go toward the preservation of orangutans, said Julie Cash, the club president.
The phones and ink cartridges the club collects will be given to the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, which recycles the collections with ECO-CELL, a cell phone recycling program.
The zoo then donates all of the funds generated from the program to the Orangutan Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the “conservation of orangutans and their habitat,” according to its Web site.
The Conservancy channels this money into a general fund to be used by conservation groups centered on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, the only places on Earth where orangutans still live in the wild, said Raffaella Commitante, a Cal State Fullerton lecturer and one of the vice presidents of the Orangutan Conservancy.
ECO-CELL does not simply recycle all of the phones.
Phones that are still in working condition are donated to developing countries, many of them in Africa, where people can purchase them inexpensively, said Peter Fashing, faculty advisor for the PSA.
“The drive is a multi-tiered project,” Cash said. “It helps the environment and (people in) developing countries, as well as primates.”
Orangutans are the most at risk of the great apes.
“Studies believe that if the destruction to their habitat continues at the same rate, then they could be extinct in as little as 20 years,” Cash said.
The orangutans are in danger from logging, hunting, forest fires and the destruction of forests for the purposes of collecting palm oil, Fashing said.
A series of bad years regarding forest fires caused by small fires burning out of control, due to the fuel of underground coal has been a great concern, Commitante said.
“The fires have become a yearly problem,” she said.
Commitante also said that young orangutans are often taken from their parents for the pet trade.
In some countries, they are thought to indicate positions of power and it is seen as prestigious to own an orangutan. There are centers full of formerly captive orangutans that have grown too large to handle, Commitante said.
“They have very human faces, so they are seen as a human child substitute,” Commitante added.
She also said that orangutans are less protected than other endangered primates.
“Gorillas have a much more romanticized image,” Commitante said. “Of the great apes, orangutans always seem to come in last.”
One of the main reasons orangutans are endangered, Fashing said, is that they reproduce very slowly.
“They have the longest mother-child bond (of any primate),” Commitante said. “The mother will stay around the child anywhere from five to eight years.”
She added that female orangutans only have an average of three offspring throughout their lives and almost always one at a time.
The drive is an ongoing project.
A collection box has been set up in the anthropology office in McCarthy Hall room 426.
The club meets every other Thursday at 4 p.m. in MH room 420.
“I force myself to be hopeful (for the orangutans), even though it doesn’t always seem like things are going well,” Commitante said. “I think there’s so much to learn from them.”
An undercover operation by conservation group Endangered Species International shows the scale of poaching and the bushmeat trade in Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the investigation up to 2 gorillas are killed and sold in markets for bushmeat a week. The gorillas all come from the same area and they estimate that this is 4% of the population that is being hunted per month.
The conservation group has plans to stop the killings by offering alternative methods of income as well as developing educational programs and conservation awareness. While there are some laws to protect gorillas from poaching they are not enforced.
A glimmer of hope for Sumatran Orangutans, tigers, rhinos and other animals as much needed help comes in from the US to Indonesia to help prevent the loss of more rainforest. The U.S. will forgive $30 million dollars of debt owed by Indonesia in return for protecting their precious rain forests on the island of Sumatra.
“This is a huge boost for the people and wildlife of Sumatra, and demonstrates a forward-looking policy on the part of the US government,” Jatna Supriatna, Vice President of Conservation International Indonesia, said in a statement. “The $30 million will help protect vital habitats and will also help deliver significant social benefits for the people of the island.”
A group of 17 orphaned bonobos are being released into the wild for the first time this month. Set free by the world’s only bonobo sanctuary, Lola ya Bonobo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the bonobos will be released into a 50,000 acre (20,000 hectare) forest where the species has been absent for years.
The bonobos will be closely monitored for health and social problems as well as ecology. This is the first ever release of captive bonobos into the wild and we hope everything goes smoothly! Bonobos are not as well known as their ape cousins, chimpanzees. While similar in some respects, they have been shown to have different social dynamics and ecology. The release of these bonobos will help with scientific research which is lacking.
If you would like to help: http://www.friendsofbonobos.org/
Male and female baboons form platonic friendships, where sex is off the menu.
CSUF Assistant Professor Nga Nguyen’s latest research has been published by BBC. Nguyen and her team, Russell Van Horn of the Zoological Society of San Diego, Susan Alberts of Duke University and Jeanne Altmann of Princeton University, investigated platonic relationships among yellow baboons in Amboseli, Kenya. Using genetic testing Nguyen was able to determine paternity for 23 young infants whose mother was involved in a friendship. In half the infants the friend was the father.
That is highly surprising in one respect, because each of the females mated with multiple males around the time they conceived. “But of these potential dads, only the genetic dads became friends,” says Nguyen.
“To my knowledge, human males cannot tell their own offspring from unrelated offspring, but somehow baboon dads can tell.”
The big question though is regarding the other 50% of the male friends. What would drive a male to invest time in a female when he is not even a potential father of her infant? Nguyen suggests that perhaps they are advertising themselves as good parents to other potential mates.
Check out the article and look for primate classes taught by Dr. Nguyen this year at CSUF!