Spider monkeys rescued from Peruvian circus, restaurant


This video says about itself:

11 February 2015

Watch the moment when Pepe met Valerie.

Pepe, an intelligent, playful monkey had been kept alone and chained by the neck for eight years. The circus had snapped off Pepe’s canine teeth so that he could not defend himself. Now, in the most moving chapter of his story so far, Pepe has finally been reunited with his own kind as part of Operation Spirit of Freedom.

From Wildlife Extra:

Two spider monkeys come out of solitary confinement for the first time

A spider monkey that was rescued from a Peruvian circus in the Andean town of Cusco by Animal Defenders International (ADI) has been introduced to another spider monkey for the first time.

Pepe had been kept alone and chained by the neck for eight years, and his canine teeth had been snapped off so that there was no danger of him biting anyone.

ADI has been assisting the Peruvian authorities to enforce their ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, as well as with the relocation of animals seized from the illegal pet trade – a mission called Operation Spirit of Freedom.

Pepe was brought up to full health and his teeth were repaired by a veterinary dentist. The next step was to socialise him with others of his kind.

In January, the ADI rescue centre outside Lima received Valerie, a young female spider monkey who had been illegally trafficked and was being kept for entertainment in a restaurant.

At first the two monkeys were encouraged to get to know each other through the bars of their cages but then, to both animals’ great excitement, they were put together and immediately began playing and chattering to each together.

Jan Creamer, President of London-based ADI says: “Pepe is a gentle soul with a big heart and we are absolutely thrilled to see him and Valerie together, knowing they both spent so many years alone – it was a very emotional moment.”

ADI has a temporary rescue centre just outside Lima, with a full-time veterinary team acting as a hub for Operation Spirit of Freedom in Peru. It is caring for 21 lions and over 20 other native wild animals there – mainly monkeys.

As part of the rehabilitation programme, ADI experts assess the individual animals and form family groups so they can be relocated to suitable habitat and rehomed together.

You can see Pepe and Valerie’s first moments together in the video above.

For more information and to support the work of ADI and Operation Spirit of Freedom click here.

African golden cat hunting monkeys, video


This video says about itself:

First known footage of elusive African golden cat in daylight

28 January 2015

Extremely elusive African golden cat shown hunting red colobus monkeys.

Wildlife Extra writes about this:

Film footage of the very rare and elusive African golden cat has been captured in Uganda by scientists from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

A camera trap recorded the wild cat hunting red colobus monkeys gathered around and feeding on the dead wood of a tree stump during daylight in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

The African golden cat is found only in the forests of Central and West Africa, and grows to the size of a bobcat, weighing between 5-16 kilograms. Very few western scientists have observed the living animal in the wild and almost all records of the African golden cat consist of photographs taken by remote camera traps, or of dead animals.

Rhesus monkeys recognize themselves in mirrors


This video says about itself:

Monkeys May Be Able To Recognize Themselves In A Mirror With Training

8 January 2015

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences may have taught rhesus monkeys to recognize themselves in a mirror for the first time.

The team trained the monkeys to pass the “mark test”, considered to be the primary method of determining self-recognition.

For several weeks, training involved shining a laser light on seven monkeys in front of a mirror.

At the end of this period, they could touch the virtual mark by seeing it on a mirror image of themselves which was considered a passing of the mark test.

The monkeys also displayed self-directed behavior in the mirror to examine parts they couldn’t normally see like their mouths and genitals.

Previously, elephants, pigeons, dolphins, and apes were among the other animals which passed the test for self-recognition but not monkeys.

The monkeys that successfully passed the test retained the ability for one year.

However, they could not pass on the skill to their untrained peers.

Those that did not get trained by researchers failed to self-recognize.

Self-recognition is considered an important indicator of the brain’s capacity to empathize with others.

Despite the study’s success, Gordon Gallup Jr., developer of the mark test, blasts the results as “fundamentally flawed,” since they focus on training and do not prove an inherent understanding of behavior.

From Current Biology:

Mirror-Induced Self-Directed Behaviors in Rhesus Monkeys after Visual-Somatosensory Training

Liangtang Chang, Qin Fang, Shikun Zhang, Mu-ming Poo, Neng Gong

Highlights

•We developed a novel training strategy to study mirror self-recognition in monkeys
•Trained rhesus monkeys passed the conventional mark test in front of a mirror
•Trained rhesus monkeys exhibited spontaneous mirror-induced self-directed behaviors
•Rhesus monkeys may be useful for studying the origin of mirror self-recognition

Summary

Mirror self-recognition is a hallmark of higher intelligence in humans. Most children recognize themselves in the mirror by 2 years of age [ 1 ]. In contrast to human[s] and some great apes, monkeys have consistently failed the standard mark test for mirror self-recognition in all previous studies [ 2–10 ]. Here, we show that rhesus monkeys could acquire mirror-induced self-directed behaviors resembling mirror self-recognition following training with visual-somatosensory association. Monkeys were trained on a monkey chair in front of a mirror to touch a light spot on their faces produced by a laser light that elicited an irritant sensation.

After 2–5 weeks of training, monkeys had learned to touch a face area marked by a non-irritant light spot or odorless dye in front of a mirror and by a virtual face mark on the mirroring video image on a video screen. Furthermore, in the home cage, five out of seven trained monkeys showed typical mirror-induced self-directed behaviors, such as touching the mark on the face or ear and then looking at and/or smelling their fingers, as well as spontaneously using the mirror to explore normally unseen body parts. Four control monkeys of a similar age that went through mirror habituation but had no training of visual-somatosensory association did not pass any mark tests and did not exhibit mirror-induced self-directed behaviors.

These results shed light on the origin of mirror self-recognition and suggest a new approach to studying its neural mechanism.

Indonesian monkeys and trees, new study


This video is called Long Nosed Monkey : Documentary on Borneo‘s Proboscis Monkey.

By Leigh Cooper, special to mongabay.com:

Monkey sleep, monkey do: how primates choose their trees

December 31, 2014

Primates don’t monkey around when deciding where to spend the night, but primatologists have had a poor grasp on what drives certain monkeys toward specific trees. Now, two extensive studies of Indonesian primates suggest that factors in selecting trees each evening are site-specific and different for each species—and that some overnight spots result in conflicts between monkeys and humans.

“We have to understand what monkeys need [in order] to sleep to know what we have to protect,” said primate scientist Fany Brotcorne of the University of Liège in Belgium, leader of one of the research teams, in an interview with mongabay.com.

When monkeys choose their evening perch, they weigh more than just comfort. The main factors scientists suspect are safety from predators, distance to feeding grounds, human interactions, insect avoidance, and competition with other primates.

“Primates may be spending up to 12 hours at their sleeping sites, and yet we really don’t know much about them,” said Adrian Barnett of the University of Roehampton, in London, U.K., a primatologist not involved in the new work, in an email to mongabay.com.

The two unaffiliated studies occurred on neighboring Indonesian islands. Brotcorne’s team spent 56 nights in the Bali Barat National Park in Bali studying long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), a thriving primate species. In West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, primatologist Katie Feilen of the University of California at Davis followed the sleeping behaviors of endangered proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) for 132 nights.

Both groups noted the sizes and shapes of trees favored by the monkeys. Brotcorne’s group also measured the distance between sleeping sites and human outposts such as temples, tourist areas, or roads.

The proboscis monkeys returned each night to tall, isolated trees near rivers. The monkeys gather in trees that jut above the canopy to avoid predators and insects, believes Feilen. Predators can’t crawl from tree to tree toward the monkeys if the trees’ branches don’t touch. At the same time, the monkeys’ lofty—and windy—perches help them avoid malaria-ridden mosquitoes that tend to remain within the canopy.

“I think insect and disease ecology plays a bigger role in all these questions of primatology than we are all thinking,” said Feilen.

The long-tailed macaques snoozed away in trees near human-modified areas. Brotcorne suspects food availability was the main factor driving the macaques’ bunk choice. The monkeys scooted closer to a Hindu temple and tourist area where fruit, rice, and crackers abounded during the peak tourist season. The timing of their move also coincided with the start of the dry season and a decline in natural fruit production. The two teams reported their findings side-by-side this month in the American Journal of Primatology.

There is not just one evolutionary force influencing sleeping tree preference for primates, pointed out both lead authors.

“Both papers are significant in that they are showing the importance of sleeping sites in primate ecology,” said Barnett. “What is needed is a collation of data that is sufficiently broad to allow general theories to be put up [about sleeping tree selection].”

The distinct sleeping site chosen by the two species also influences the primates’ interactions with humans. Loggers preferentially remove the tall riverside trees favored by the endangered proboscis monkeys, threatening the species’ habitat, said Feilen. The proboscis monkeys she studied had to contend with deforestation by mining and palm oil companies. Also, local hunters knew where to find the predictable primates.

On the other hand, macaques and humans have competed for space and food in human-modified areas for centuries. But their close contact worries Brotcorne because diseases can cross from monkeys to humans and vice versa. Human food is not the healthiest diet for monkeys, she added.

“If you go to the tourist monkey forests, you will see obese monkeys,” said Brotcorne.

Citations:

Feilen, K., and A. Marshall. 2014. Sleeping site selection by proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. American Journal of Primatology 76: 1127-1139.
Brotcorne, F., C. Maslarov, N. Wandia, A. Fuentes, R. Beudels-Jamar, and M. Huynen. 2014. The role of anthropic, ecological, and social factors in sleeping site choice by long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis). American Journal of Primatology 76: 1140-1150.

Leigh Cooper is a graduate student in the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Indian monkey saves electrocuted friend’s life


This video from India says about itself:

20 December 2014

Kanpur Central Railway Station. Monkey saves friend’s life without any human help.

From the Deccan Herald in India:

Monkey saves ‘dying’ friend at Kanpur Railway station (Video)

New Delhi, Dec 21, 2014, Agencies:

A friend in need is a friend indeed: A hair-raising video that has surfaced on YouTube illustrates this proverb very well. In the video, a monkey could be seen trying to save another monkey lying unconscious on a railway track.

The monkey in the video is surely impressive for its presence of mind and efforts to help its injured friend. One of the monkeys in the video fell unconscious after experiencing electric shock while walking on the high-tension wires in Kanpur’s railway station. The other monkey comes to the rescue.

The conscious monkey licks, bites, hits and puts the unconscious monkey into the stagnant water at the railway track. After 20 minutes of tireless effort, the ‘hero’ monkey brings its friend back to consciousness.

See also here.

These monkeys were rhesus macaques.

This video says about itself:

25 November 2014

Hello! We are from Taiwan. My daughter and I were very lucky to see an upside-down tortoise, but it’s luckier to see his friend trying to help him turn back in Taipei Zoo.

Today (25, November) is the field trip day of my daughter’s school and I also went to Taipei Zoo with her. We were all very lucky to see such kind of scene – one tortoise saves the other one’s life! Also, it’s a great opportunity to give my daughter a lesson – Helping others is the origin of happiness.

Five new saki monkey species discovered in Amazon


This video is called Amazon Brasil: Macaco parauacu (Guianan Saki Monkey).

From Wildlife Extra:

Five new Amazonian saki monkey species discovered

A 10 year study of the saki monkey has revealed the existence of five new monkeys, bringing the total number of different saki species to 16.

“I began to suspect there might be more species of saki monkeys when I was doing field research in Ecuador,” said lead author Dr Laura K. Marsh, primate ecologist and director of the Global Conservation Institute.

“The more I saw, the more I realised that scientists had been confused in their evaluation of the diversity of sakis for over two centuries.”

Saki monkeys are a secretive group of primates native to the tropical forests of South America. They are often hunted for food, even though their elusive behaviour makes them difficult to find. The five new species are found in Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia – three of them are endemic to Brazil and one to Peru.

This revision increases the number of primates in Brazil to 145; the highest diversity for any single nation.

Primates are major components of tropical rain forest systems, and are of great importance as seed dispersers, predators, and sometimes even as prey.

“Besides being vital for their conservation and survival, the revised scientific description of these sakis is a major step in our understanding of primate diversity in Amazonia and worldwide,” said Dr Anthony B. Rylands, Senior Researcher at Conservation International and Deputy-Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Primate Specialist Group, after whom one of the new species, Rylands’ bald-faced saki (Pithecia rylandsi), was named.

The others include Cazuza’s saki (Pithecia cazuzai), Mittermeier’s Tapajós saki (Pithecia mittermeieri), Pissinatti’s bald-faced saki (Pithecia pissinattii) and Isabel’s saki (Pithecia isabela).

“Saki monkeys, like many rain forest primates, are excellent indicators for the health of tropical forest systems,” said Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier, President of Conservation International and Chair of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group.

“This revision of the genus shows clearly how little we still know about the diversity of the natural world that surrounds us and upon which we ourselves depend so much.”

See also here.

The scientific description of these new speciew is here.

Animals closer to human speech than thought


This video from North America says about itself:

Black-Capped Chickadee Vocalizations – Did You Know?

19 April 2014

The “Chickadee dee dee” call by Black-capped chickadees is one of the most complex vocalizations in the animal kingdom and is said to be language -like. This call is used in many social interactions such as, contacting members of the flock, or giving information about an individual’s identity, other slight changes in the phrase of this call can relay other specific messages.

Who’s who?: How chickadees figure out dominance hierarchies through song: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Animal noises ‘more closely linked’ with human speech

Tuesday 19th August 2014

ANIMAL vocalisations have more in common with human speech than previously thought, scientists claimed today.

Research published by the Royal Society in its Proceedings B biological science journal suggests there may be a missing link between sounds animals use to communicate and the more complex linguistic abilities of humans.

“Language is the biggest difference that separates humans from animals evolutionarily, but multiple studies are finding more and more stepping stones that seem to bridge the gap,” said lead scientist Dr Arik Kershenbaum of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis in Tennessee, US.

“Uncovering the process underlying vocal sequence generation in animals may be critical to our understanding of the origin of language.”

It has long been recognised that some species of animals possess distinct vocabularies.

Some monkeys have a range of cries distinguishing between threats, which is useful since the evasive action appropriate for a snake attack is different from that for a bird of prey.

But linguists have so far held that animals lack the ability to use grammar to change or extend the meanings of individual sounds by reordering them.

Their vocalisations were believed to follow a structural system known as the Markov process, where sound sequences could easily be predicted by listening to a finite number of preceding elements.

The new study sought evidence of Markovian dynamics in seven species — chickadees, finches, bats, orang-utans, killer whales, pilot whales and hyraxes — yet failed to find it.

The sounds produced fitted statistical models for human language instead, the scientists concluded.