Save orangutans, video

This video says about itself:

9 November 2015

Help spread awareness about the plight of the Orangutan and the difference each of us can make to saving them and their rainforest home.

Gibbon discovery in Hainan, China

This video says about itself:

30 October 2014

On today’s China View, we’ll go to a rainforest reserve in south China’s Hainan Province to meet endangered Hainan gibbons. As one of seven extant gibbon species, they are endemic to Hainan and are found nowhere else. It is recorded that about 23 of the animals remain in the world, making them extremely rare.

From Wildlife Extra:

World’s rarest ape: new family group found

The future of the world’s rarest apes look just a little bit brighter given the recent discovery of a new family group in Bawangling National Nature Reserve in China.

Until last month, it was thought that there were just 25 Hainan Gibbons (Nomascus hainanus) living in three social groups on an island off the Chinese mainland.

The discovery of a new fourth group, by a team led by international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), has increased the known population by almost 12 per cent.

The group consisted of a mating pair with a young baby, sighted within Bawangling National Nature Reserve, Hainan Province.

The existence of this fourth breeding group increases the reproductive potential of the population, which could be vital for the long term survival of the Critically Endangered gibbons.

ZSL researcher Dr Jessica Bryant, who led the expedition that made the discovery, says: “Finding a new Hainan Gibbon group is a fantastic boost for the population.

“We had hoped to locate at least one or two solitary gibbons, but discovering a whole new family group complete with a baby is beyond our wildest dreams.”

The new social group brings the estimate of the total population of Hainan Gibbons to around 28 individuals.

The ZSL-led project team, including international gibbon experts along with staff from Bawangling National Nature Reserve Management Office, set out to try and find any surviving lone gibbons in the reserve to gain a greater understanding of the total number of Hainan Gibbons that remain.

Gibbons are typically located by the sound of their daily song. Due to the low population density of the Hainan Gibbon, they are less likely to sing as there are few other gibbons to advertise their territory to, making detection of solitary individuals or groups extremely challenging.

By utilising new acoustic techniques that prompt gibbons to investigate and call, the team were able to locate this new group.

Dr Bryant adds: “The success of our discovery is really encouraging. We now want to learn more about this new group, and also hope to extend the investigation to perhaps even find additional solitary gibbons or other groups.

“Today is a great day for Hainan Gibbon conservation.”

Kafka’s ape on stage

This video says about itself:

Kafka’s Monkey trailer

3 June 2015

This sell-out production features an extraordinarily physical performance from Olivier Award-winner Kathryn Hunter as a chimp who assimilates human behaviour to become a master of the ‘civilised world’ – a walking, talking, spitting, smoking, hard-drinking man of the stage.

Kafka‘s Monkey runs until Sat 27 June.

By Paul Foley in England:

The beast in man

Tuesday 23rd June 2015

Kafka’s Monkey has some discomfiting things to say about our attitudes to the animal world, says PAUL FOLEY

Kafka’s Monkey

HOME, Manchester


ADAPTED by Colin Teevan, this play is based on Franz Kafka’s intriguing short story A Report to an Academy, where a domesticated ape — Red Peter, so named because of the scar he received when shot by hunters — is invited to give a lecture to the esteemed members of the institution.

He describes his journey from a captive beast to a human with the “average education of a European” and how, once captured, he comes to realise he has two options — a zoo or the circus. The first is merely swapping one cage for another and, while the circus may appear to offer some kind of escape, he has no illusions that this represents liberty. “People all too often are deceived by freedom,” he says.

Professing satisfaction at what he has attained, he will not countenance regret. Yet the sorrow in his eyes tells a different story, one in which there is a real sense of loss for a culture and an identity as an ape in the wild.

This is an engrossing hour-long discourse on the meaning of captivity, freedom, migration and whether assimilating into a host culture can be an escape or merely a different type of shackle.

Kathryn Hunter is extraordinary as the ape. Her physicality and flexibility are breathtaking as she lumbers across the stage in a shabby top hat and tails, playfully interacting with her audience. Astonishment and fascination at her performance slowly give way to discomfort and sadness at the realisation that it is we, humanity, who stand accused.

Audiences across the world have reacted very differently to the play. In Australia, comparisons have been made with the plight of the Aboriginal people, while in New York a Jewish audience believed that Kafka was talking about them. That’s hardly surprising, since Kafka’s Monkey speaks to a world that turns its back on desperate people who risk their lives in overcrowded, leaky boats merely to swap poverty and war for hostility and incarceration in inhumane prison camps. In making us reflect on those parallels, Hunter’s wonderfully humane performance is a must-see.

Runs until June 27, box office:

Court rules: Kafka’s papers belong in Israel’s National Library. Judges say Eva Hoffe has been holding the papers she inherited from her mother, Max Brod’s secretary, illegally and ordered her to transfer them to the National Library: here.

Bonobo and human anatomy compared

Percentage of muscle distribution to upper and lower limbs in Pongo pygmaeus, Gorilla gorilla, P. paniscus, and H. sapiens. Credit: (c) Adrienne L. Zihlman,PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1505071112


Comparison of bonobo anatomy to humans offers evolutionary clues

June 02 2015

A pair of anthropology researchers, one with the University of California, the other Modesto College has found what they believe are clues to human evolutionary development by conducting a long term study of bonobo anatomy. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Adrienne Zihlman and Debra Bolter, describe their anatomy studies and their ideas on why what they found offers new clues on why humans developed in the ways we did.

Scientists looking to understand how humans evolved have studied a lot of fossils, but such samples are of bones, which means there is little to no evidence of what organs, muscle or fat looked like in our ancestors which means there are still questions regarding things such as what percentage or proportion of fat or muscle was there, where were they located on the body, and what the organs were like. In this new study, the research pair sought to uncover clues by studying bonobos, apes that look a lot like chimpanzees and are considered to be our closest relative.

To learn more about bonobo , the researchers performed autopsies on thirteen of the apes that had died naturally over the course of three decades, carefully jotting down seldom noted information such as fat and muscle percentages. In so doing, they came to see that bonobos have considerably less fat on their bodies than do humans, even those that lived a similar sedentary life due to living in captivity. They also found that the apes had more upper body mass than humans as a rule and less leg muscle—bonobos also have a lot more skin.

In analyzing their results, the researchers suggest that the differences likely came about as began walking around upright, causing the need for more leg muscle and more fat—because a nomadic lifestyle would necessitate a store to prevent starvation during lean times, especially for females if they were to successfully bear offspring. They also believe that we humans have less skin because as we moved around and moved faster on two legs—our skin developed an ability to sweat as a means to keep cool and that led to thinner skin.

More information: Body composition in Pan paniscus compared with Homo sapiens has implications for changes during human evolution, Adrienne L. Zihlman,PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1505071112


The human body has been shaped by natural selection during the past 4–5 million years. Fossils preserve bones and teeth but lack muscle, skin, fat, and organs. To understand the evolution of the human form, information about both soft and hard tissues of our ancestors is needed. Our closest living relatives of the genus Pan provide the best comparative model to those ancestors. Here, we present data on the body composition of 13 bonobos (Pan paniscus) measured during anatomical dissections and compare the data with Homo sapiens. These comparative data suggest that both females and males (i) increased body fat, (ii) decreased relative muscle mass, (iii) redistributed muscle mass to lower limbs, and (iv) decreased relative mass of skin during human evolution. Comparison of soft tissues between Pan and Homo provides new insights into the function and evolution of body composition.

Orangutan shares food with chimpanzees

From The Dodo about this video:

Captive Orangutan Sneaks Food To His Friends In Never-Before-Seen Act Of Kindness

By Stephen Messenger

April 10, 2015

Humans are commonly believed to be the most intelligent and advanced of all the great ape species, a position that’s led us to routinely subject the others to lives in confinement. But the most potent lesson on what it is to be humane just might have come from one of these non-human captives.

In a remarkable show of interspecies solidarity between primates imprisoned at the Phoenix Zoo in Miyazaki, Japan, an orangutan has been observed sharing meals with a group of chimpanzees in a cage just out of reach. Keepers say that 21-year-old orangutan Happy has made a habit of offering food given to him so that the nine chimps have a little more to fill their bellies.

Experts say this sort of seemingly selfless behavior could be unprecedented.

“We have never heard of an orangutan that bothers to offer their food to other animals living separately from the animal,” Tomoyuki Tajima, a primate specialist, told Japanese news outlet Asahi.

In the wild, orangutans are notoriously solitary creatures but they also possess a “high social intelligence,” another expert told the newspaper. Despite the differences between the apes, and the fact that Happy would never encounter a chimpanzee outside the wholly artificial setting of the zoo, he seems keenly aware that they could benefit from an act of kindness.

None of those animals have a choice about their captivity, but with the small freedom of movement this orangutan could afford, he’s decided to use it to show kindness to creatures unlike himself — usurping the cage his “loftier-minded” captors constructed to keep them apart.

CHIMP COOKS! “Inside every chimp might be a budding chef, just waiting for the right opportunity to show off his culinary skills. While it’s long been known that chimps prefer cooked food when given the option, a new study goes even further, showing how chimps may have the patience, planning ability and understanding needed to do the cooking themselves if given the opportunity.” [Ed Mazza, HuffPost]

Chimpanzees may have a similar sense of right and wrong to humans: here.

Abused chimpanzee Iris finds new home, new love

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rescue of Iris the Chimpanzee

27 March 2015

A 32-year-old chimpanzee named Iris was being held all alone in a tiny, barren, and dark cell at a roadside zoo called Chestatee Wildlife Preserve & Zoo in Georgia. Iris often smeared her own feces on the walls of the cell and spent almost all her time huddled under a dirty blanket.

But in March 2015, a generous PETA member helped us free Iris from this hellhole. Following negotiations, Iris was quickly sent on her way to the beautiful Save the Chimps sanctuary in Florida!

Iris is thriving at Save the Chimps and was introduced to her next-door neighbor, Abdul, within days of arriving at the sanctuary. Soon, Iris will be introduced to more chimpanzees and have the opportunity to live on a lush green island with palm trees and a chimpanzee family. Best of all, Iris will never be alone again—all because people cared!

From One Green Planet:

Within minutes, she kissed Abdul and he diligently took to grooming her – in chimp terms this means they’re going steady.

Now that Iris has a faithful companion at her side, her transition into the larger chimp enclosure will certainly be a breeze. We are so pleased to see a happy ending for this lonely chimp. We guess it’s true, you can find love in a hopeless place!

Indonesian silvery gibbons’ love story

This video from Java, Indonesia says about itself:

When Two Silvery Gibbons Meet, It’s Love at First Touch | Conservation International (CI)

13 February 2015

Since gibbons can only survive in the wild as bonded pairs, rehabilitation efforts at the Java Gibbon Center depend on successful matchmaking. Supported by Conservation International and located on the edge of Indonesia’s Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park, the center brought together two rescued gibbons, Jowo (male) and Bombom (female) — creating one of nature’s cutest love stories.
To learn more about this gibbon love story and Conservation International’s work to protect their habitiat, see here.

After the story of the two Peruvian spider monkeys