Released gibbons have baby in Cambodia


This video says about itself:

Released Gibbons Have Baby

21 October 2014

We are very excited to announce that our released gibbons, Baray and Saranik, gave birth to their first baby earlier this month! At the end of last year, a pair of endangered pileated gibbons that were raised at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC), were successfully rehabilitated and reintroduced into the protected forest of Angkor Archaeological Park. Since their release, the gibbons have been closely monitored, and it has been quite remarkable how quickly they have adapted to their new life in the forest. They remain a closely bonded pair, are completely self-reliant and now the latest addition to their family is another sign that they have settled into their new home!

The reintroduction of gibbons and the birth of this baby gibbon in particular is an exciting and vital step towards the conservation of this endangered species! Learn more here.

Chimpanzees’ special tools for hunting ants


This video is called Chimpanzees’ sophisticated use of tools – BBC wildlife.

From Wildlife Extra:

Chimpanzees found to have favoured tools for hunting ants

In order to successfully hunt aggressive army ants West African chimpanzees will search far and wide to find the perfect tools.

The Alchornea hirtella plant is what they are looking for as this provides the two tools required for the job; a thicker shoot for ‘digging’ and a more slender tool for ‘dipping’. If Alchornea hirtella is nowhere to be found, chimps will fashion tools from other plants — but seemingly only after an exhaustive search for their preferred tool provider.

Once the chimps have located an army ant colony, they will dig into the nest with the first tool to aggravate the insects. They then dip the second tool into the nest, causing the angry ants to swarm up it. Once the slender shoot is covered in ants, the chimpanzees pull scoop up a substantial handful from the shoot to eat.

A diet of army ants was believed to be a last resort for hungry chimps, only exploited when the animal’s preferred food of fruit couldn’t be found. But the latest study, based on over ten years of data, shows that, in fact, army ants are a staple in the chimpanzee diet — eaten all year round regardless of available sources of fruit.

“Ant dipping is a remarkable feat of problem-solving on the part of chimpanzees,” said lead author Dr Kathelijne Koops from the University of Cambridge.

“If they tried to gather ants from the ground with their hands, they would end up horribly bitten with very little to show for it. But by using a tool set, preying on these social insects may prove as nutritionally lucrative as hunting a small mammal – a solid chunk of protein.

“Scientists have been working on ruling out simple environmental and genetic explanations for group differences in behaviours, such as tool use, and the evidence is pointing strongly towards it being cultural,” said Koops. “They probably learn tool use behaviours from their mother and others in the group when they are young.

“By studying our closest living relatives we gain a window into the evolutionary past which allows us to shed light on the origins of human technology and material culture.”

Gorilla conservation in Cameroon


This video says about itself:

16 December 2009

This clip is the first professional video of the elusive and highly endangered Cross River gorilla. It is the world’s rarest great ape, numbering fewer than 300 individuals along the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.

From Wildlife Extra:

Gorillas benefit from new protection in Cameroon

Critically endangered Cross River Gorillas will be receiving much-needed additional protection in Cameroon with the creation of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the southwest of the country.

The decree to officially create the sanctuary was signed by the Prime Minister of Cameroon, and will be the third such reserve in the country to protect the dwindling habitat of the Cross River Gorilla.

The gorillas in this region were only discovered relatively recently in the early 20th century, but following the Nigerian conflict during the 1960s it was feared that they had become a casualty of war and had become extinct. It was only during the 1980s that small groups of the Cross River Gorilla were rediscovered.

But their numbers in the wild have remained low in spite of conservation efforts. Living in the region of the Cross River, which flows from Cameroon to Nigeria and passes through rainforest, their habitat has become restricted to rugged highland areas where hunting pressure is lower.

Furthermore, the great apes’ habitat is surrounded by some of Africa’s most densely populated human settlements, and is become increasingly fragmented.

In order to tackle these threats to the gorilla, two reserves were set up by the Cameroon Government: the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary and Takamanda National Park. The addition of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary marks a further move in the right direction for the protection of the Cross River Gorilla.

Prior to the decree to create the sanctuary, the forest was under communal forest laws, which allowed land to be converted for use for anything other than forestry. Organisation Flora and Fauna International have been working toward the protection of the gorillas in the forest since 2004, and understand that the creation of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary will impact upon local communities, so will be involving them in the sanctuary design and helping them to find sustainable ways to earn a living.

… read more about the plight of the Cross River Gorilla here.

Gorilla film wins award


This video says about itself:

“Hope”, a film by Craghoppers featuring Sir David Attenborough

8 April 2014

Hope is a powerful film, which revisits the plight of the critically endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the team of people who are responsible for their survival.

Produced by Craghoppers and voiced by Sir David Attenborough, Hope was filmed in the Volcanoes National Park 47 years after Dian Fossey began her life’s work in mountain gorilla conservation. Only ruins of Fossey’s original Karisoke Research Centre remain — but we meet the research team in their new home, where 120 people continue Dian’s work.

Never before seen footage goes behind the scenes of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International as they intensely monitor the gorillas, with the help of a dedicated team of trackers and anti poaching patrols — whose job it is to follow the great apes every day, 365 days per year, through difficult and sometimes dangerous terrain.

The documentary also shows the very human side to the Fossey Fund’s approach to conservation as we follow the local people who live next to the gorilla’s habitat and the work that is being done to change attitudes. The children growing up in these communities today have grown to love and the respect the gorillas that their people once killed for their own survival.

More than 40 years of extreme conservation, which was pioneered by Dian Fossey, has resulted in the Virunga mountain gorilla population nearly doubling in size. However, the mountain gorillas remain critically endangered. Providing much hope for the future, yet highlighting the need for continued support, the film has one very clear message: we must support the people protecting the mountain gorillas — they are their only hope of survival.

From Wildlife Extra:

Mountain gorilla film wins award

A film highlighting the plight of mountain gorillas in Rwanda has won the Best Short Film award at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, which runs from 13-19 October in New York.

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough and produced by Craghoppers, Hope revisits the mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, nearly 47 years after Dian Fossey began her work in the region.

“Our motivation behind making Hope was to highlight the extreme efforts adopted by the Dian Fossey Fund to protect the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the sometimes dangerous challenges the team face every day,” said Managing Director for Craghoppers, Jim McNamara.

“It’s therefore a great feeling to know that a film that was designed to inspire and remind people about the plight of the gorillas has done just that in wider industry.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved with this documentary. Winning this award is a not only a great achievement for Craghoppers and the team who produced ‘Hope’, but also for the Dian Fossey Fund, as the film will get in front of an even greater audience and will hopefully urge people to support the charity and donate to a very worthy cause.”

Read a field guide to mountain gorillas HERE.

Borneo orangutans saved by wildlife corridors?


This video is called 16×9 – Jungle Survivors: Saving Orangutans in Borneo.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wildlife corridors could offer new hope for orangutans

Researchers from Cardiff University, University of Adelaide, NGO HUTAN, and Sabah Wildlife Department have been looking at ways to improve wildlife corridors in Borneo as a new method of protecting the endangered orangutan.

According to the researchers, more than 80 per cent of the primate’s habitat has been destroyed in the past 20 years due to demand for agricultural land, leaving the remaining forest fragmented, isolating orangutans from one another and resulting in a major threat to their survival.

The study highlights that establishing wildlife corridors that connect fragmented protected areas will allow animals to move freely from one territory to another. This will be beneficial to gene diversity, as it will minimise the negative impact of inbreeding caused by animals being forced to live in small, isolated territories.

Dr Benoît Goossens from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences stresses that the study should not be limited to orangutans, but can apply to other wildlife species affected by climate change and decreasing, fragmented territories. “In this study we used the orang-utan as a model, but the knowledge gleaned will be useful for other mammal species,” he explains. “The next phase of our research will focus on corridor establishment and enhancement by recovering riparian reserves from oil palm plantations, to inform land managers about best corridor scenarios.”

The research team included Dr Benoît Goossens from Cardiff University, Stephen Gregory, Damien Fordham and Barry Brook from Australia, and Marc Ancrenaz, Raymond Alfred, and Laurentius Ambu from Sabah Wildlife Department.

You can read the full paper, [in] Diversity and Distributions, here.

Conservation of orang-utans in Malaysia


This video says about itself:

8 May 2014

Whitley Award for Conservation in Ape Habitats, donated by the Arcus Foundation, Melvin Gumal – Protecting Borneo‘s iconic great apes: Conservation of orang-utans in Sarawak, Malaysia.

See also here.

Chimpanzees prefer African, Indian music to other music


This music video is called African Traditional Music.

From Wildlife Extra:

Chimps shun music of West and Japan in favour of African, Indian… or peace and quiet

Chimpanzees prefer silence to listening to Western-style music, but they do like a bit of African or Indian rhythm, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Not that the researchers want to be divisive.

“Our objective was not to find a preference for different cultures’ music,” said study co-author Frans de Waal of Emory University. “We used cultural music from Africa, India and Japan to pinpoint specific acoustic properties.

“Past research has focused only on Western music and has not addressed the very different acoustic features of non-Western music.

“While non-human primates have previously indicated a preference of music choices, they have consistently chosen silence over the types of music previously tested.”

Previous research has also found that some non-human primates prefer slower tempos, but the current findings may be the first to show that they display a preference for particular rhythmic patterns, according to the study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition.

“Although Western music, such as pop, blues and classical, sound different to the casual listener, they all follow the same musical and acoustic patterns. Therefore, by testing only different Western music, previous research has essentially replicated itself,” the authors wrote.

Sixteen adult chimps in two groups participated in the experiment at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University.

Over 12 consecutive days for 40 minutes each morning, the groups were given the opportunity to listen to African, Indian or Japanese music playing on a portable stereo near their outdoor enclosure.

Another portable stereo not playing any music was located at a different spot near the enclosure to rule out behaviour that might be associated with an object rather than the music.

The different types of music were at the same volume but played in random order.

Each day, researchers observed the chimps and recorded their location every two minutes with handwritten notes. They also videotaped the activity in the enclosure.

The researchers found that when African and Indian music was played near their large outdoor enclosures, the chimps spent significantly more time in areas where they could best hear the music.

When Japanese music was played, they were more likely to be found in spots where it was more difficult or impossible to hear the music.

The African and Indian music in the experiment had extreme ratios of strong to weak beats, whereas the Japanese music had regular strong beats, which is also typical of Western music.

“Chimpanzees may perceive the strong, predictable rhythmic patterns as threatening, as chimpanzee dominance displays commonly incorporate repeated rhythmic sounds such as stomping, clapping and banging objects,” said de Waal.

“Displaying a preference for music over silence is compelling evidence that our shared evolutionary histories may include favouring sounds outside of both humans’ and chimpanzees’ immediate survival cues,” said lead author Morgan Mingle of Emory and Southwestern University in Austin.

“Our study highlights the importance of sampling across the gamut of human music to potentially identify features that could have a shared evolutionary root.”

See also here.

Nature and nurture seem to contribute equally to chimpanzee intelligence, @Sara_Reardon reports: here.

A long-term study of chimpanzees living in the Budongo Forest of Uganda has revealed two instances of the social transmission of new tool-making skills between members of the same community – the first time this has been observed in non-captive chimps: here.