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.

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.
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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

Ebola killing humans, gorillas, chimpanzees


This video is called Deadly Ebola Virus Wiping out Gorillas in Africa.

From Discovery News:

Ebola Has Crushed Gorilla and Chimp Populations

JAN 22, 2015 03:05 PM ET

Writing at theconversation.com, Meera Inglis, a PhD. in conservation policy at the University of Sheffield, calls attention to a perhaps little known, or not often considered, fact: The Ebola virus has put a sizable dent in Africa’s great ape populations.

In her piece Inglis calls Ebola “the single greatest threat to the survival of gorillas and chimpanzees” and cites mortality rates of about 95% for gorillas and 77% for chimpanzees.

She also notes that by some estimates 33% of gorilla and chimpanzee populations worldwide have died from Ebola since the 1990s.

Ebola’s Deadly Jump From Animal to Animal

“We need both short-term solutions to halting the spread of Ebola and long-term ones to prevent future outbreaks,” Inglis writes. She suggests vaccination programs in the short run, and in the long run a restoration and enlargement of great ape habitats as well as better protection for them from hunters.

With respect to vaccination, Inglis cites trials on chimpanzees of an encouraging new vaccine that trains the immune system to identify and defend against Ebola and does not appear to harm the animals.

Habitat restoration and greater protection from hunters, meanwhile, have their own obstacles. “Unfortunately,” says Inglis, “there appears to be a lack of political will to implement policies which would bring viable solutions into effect.”

“If we do not act fast,” she adds, “these may prove to be the last decades in which apes can continue to live in their natural habitat.”

Wild gorilla using tools, new discovery


This video from Uganda is called Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla (HD Version).

From the BBC:

Wild gorilla creates a food tool in ‘eureka’ moment

For the first time, a wild gorilla is seen using a tool to eat food

It’s a scene that would grace the opening of any Planet of the Apes movie.

But rather than being fiction, this is fact, and one that is new to science.

For the first time, a gorilla in the wild has been seen using a tool to acquire and eat food.

The young female gorilla watched another older male attempt to collect ants from a hole in the ground, only to see the ants bite his arm, scaring him away.

The female gorilla tried to put her own arm in the hole, and she too was bitten.

But instead of giving up, the young ape then had her very own ‘eureka’ moment.

She looked around for a suitable implement, and selected a piece of wood approximately 20 cm long, tapering from 2 cm wide at one end to 1 cm long at the other.

She then inserted the stick into the hole, withdrew it, and licked off ants clambering over it, avoiding being stung.

Other great apes have been seen to use tools in the wild, and captive gorillas have been known to fashion and use a range of tools in their enclosures.

But the incident is surprising because wild gorillas were, until now, rarely known to have created and used tools.

The only known examples are when a western lowland gorilla was documented using a stick to gauge the depth of water before crossing a waterway. Another was been seen using bamboo as a ladder for her young infant to climb up.

But until now wild gorillas have never been seen using implements to eat with.

Lisanga, a very clever ape

The use of the stick was witnessed by Dr Jean-Felix Kinani, the head veterinarian with Gorilla Doctors, an organisation of vets that works with wildlife authorities to monitor the health of wild gorillas.

He and colleagues were observing one of eight mountain gorilla groups habituated to humans in the Volcanoes National Park, in Rwanda.

Within the group live 23 gorillas, including three silverback males, a younger male, and seven adult females, as well as juvenile gorillas and infants.

The veterinarians saw a gorilla named Kigoma, the second ranking silverback in the group, insert his left hand in to a hole in the ground, attempting to catch driver ants to eat.

He quickly withdrew it, and ran from the hole, shaking his arm, presumably remove the biting ants, report Dr Felix and colleague Dr Dawn Zimmerman, who are both affiliated to the University of California, US.

All the time, a younger female, Lisanga, watched his actions, they report in the American Journal of Primatology.

She approached the hole and for approximately two minutes watched the ants enter and leave it.

She then put her own hand in the whole, suffering Kigoma’s fate.

Undeterred however, she found her tool, a broken branch lying some 2 m from the hole, and preceded to use it to dine on the ants.

Chimpanzees are well known to use tools in the wild, with different groups using different implements; some use sticks to dig out termites or to fish or dip for ants. They have even been seen using spears to hunt monkeys.

Wild orang-utans in Asia have spontaneously created hammers, probes and scrapers made of sticks.

And in captivity, gorillas have been seen using sticks as weapons, using coconut fibres as sponges, and logs as ladders.

Which begs the question, why don’t they in the wild?

One answer is that they do, but it goes unnoticed.

Another is that gorillas are observed more in captivity, making it more likely that scientists spot novel behaviours.

But it could also be that captive gorillas have less to do than their wild counterparts, so are more inclined to experiment to fill the time, Mike Cranfield, Director of Gorilla Doctors told BBC Earth.

Captive gorillas often have new objects placed in their enclosures to enrich their environments, providing more opportunity for them to be turned into tools.

“Lisanga is a curious gorilla,” explained Dr Kinani. “She is known to have an investigative personality.”

For example, one anecdotal report details her showing more than casual interest in a researcher’s bag, quietly approaching behind the researcher and attempting to take the bag away.

“This looks to be an idiosyncratic behaviour,” he adds, referring to her use of the stick to catch and eat ants.

No other gorillas witnessed Lisanga’s actions, so it is unlikely that they too will learn the same trick, developing a culture of stick use.

This time, at least.

Saving gorillas in 2014, video


This video says about itself:

Year-End Thank You 2014

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

17 December 2014

47 years later, we are still committed to saving gorillas. Featuring Fossey Fund staff from Atlanta, Musanze and Nkuba-Biruwe, we thank our supporters for making our work possible!