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Welcome! Monkey Love has now merged with the Great Ape Conservation group. We aim to promote awareness of critically endangered monkeys and apes on the brink of extinction. Please join the discussion here and check out my website:
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Welcome everyone. I want to thank Emily for agreeing to merge groups and co-host this important topic. Now we have twice the passion in one. She is a young American and I am a 'not-as-young' Canadian... My personal mission is to generate awareness for the little known langur called the Tonkin snub-nosed Monkey of Vietnam, aka rhinopithecus avunculus. There are less than 200 left in the wild, and I will not rest until they have better protection. My website ( offers information on the used bookstores that I run with my stepfather in Victoria, BC, as well as information on endangered primates. I sell monkey-themed merchandise online to generate awareness and funds to donate to the Endangered Primate Rescue Center ( *Emily has been actively involved with the Jane Goodall Institute and I'll be happy to add any other info that she would like to post here.
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Blog: Half of all primates threatened with extinction  

Nearly half the primate species are in danger of becoming extinct from destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bush-meat hunting, conservationists said today.

"Mankind's closest living relatives--the world's apes, monkeys, lemurs and other primates--are on the brink of extinction and in need of urgent conservation measures," the conservationists said in a news statement about the release of the report Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2008-2010.

Scroll to the bottom of this blog entry to see illustrations of all 25 of the world's most endangered primates.

Siau Island tarsier (Tarsius tumpara), Indonesia (Siau Island). This newly described species is Critically Endangered and faces an imminent threat of extinction, the Primates in Peril report notes. Specific threats include a very small geographic range, an even smaller area of occupancy, a high density of humans that habitually hunt and eat tarsiers for snack food, and no protected areas within its range.Photo © Geoff Deehan

The latest assessment that one in two of the world's primates is threatened with extinction reflects a sharp deterioration since National Geographic News reported in 2002 that one in every three of the world's apes, monkeys, lemurs, and other primates was endangered with extinction. Read the 2002 story Extinction Risk for 1 in 3 Primates, Study Says. View a 2007 photo gallery of the  25 Most Endangered Primates Named

The 2008-2010 report lists five primate species from Madagascar, six from continental Africa, 11 from Asia, and three from Central and South America, "all of which are the most in need of urgent conservation action."

Compiled by 85 experts from across the world--from the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS), in collaboration with Conservation International (CI)--the report was made public today at an event at Bristol Zoo Gardens in the United Kingdom.

"From the Atlantic Forest of Brazil to the monsoon slopes of Madagascar, from the mountains of southwest China to the islands of Mentawai, these primates are caught between fading hope and hard oblivion," says the IUCN's Primate Specialist Group on its Web site. "And if through our failure of action they should cease to exist, we will have lost our nearest companions--and a part of ourselves--from what wilderness remains in the world."

"Conservationists want to highlight the plight of species such as the golden headed langur (Trachypithecus p. poliocephalus), which is found only on the island of Cat Ba in the Gulf of Tonkin, northeastern Vietnam, where just 60 to 70 individuals remain," the organizers of the event said in today's news statement.

"Similarly, there are thought to be less than 100 individual northern sportive lemurs (Lepilemur septentrionalis) left in Madagascar, and around just 110 eastern black crested gibbons (Nomascus nasutus) in northeastern Vietnam."

Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), Madagascar. The largest of Madagascar's bamboo-eating lemurs and the most critically endangered lemur, Prolemur simus was once widespread throughout the island. Today, the total wild population is estimated not to exceed 100-160 individuals. The greater bamboo lemur is threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture, mining, illegal logging, the cutting of bamboo, and hunting with slingshots, according to the Primates in Peril report.© CI\photo by Haroldo Castro

The list of the 25 most endangered primates was drawn up by primatologists working in the field who have first-hand knowledge of the causes of threats to primates, according to the report.

One of the editors of the report is Christoph Schwitzer, head of research at the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF), a sister organisation of Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Schwitzer, who is also an adviser on Madagascan primates for the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, contributed the chapter on the Endangered Sclater's lemur (also called the blue-eyed black lemur).

"This report makes for very alarming reading and it underlines the extent of the danger facing many of the world's primates. We hope it will be effective in drawing attention to the plight of each of the 25 species included. Support and action to help save these species is vital if we are to avoid losing these wonderful animals forever," Schwitzer said.

Variegated spider monkey (Ateles hybridus), Colombia and Venezuela. The large size, slow reproductive rate (single offspring at 3-4 year intervals) and generally low population densities of spider monkeys make them especially vulnerable to hunting, the Primates in Peril report states.Photo © Andres Link

Almost half (48 percent) of the world's 634 primate species are classified as threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, according to the report.

"The main threats are habitat destruction, particularly from the burning and clearing of tropical forests (which results in the release of around 16 percent of the global greenhouse gases causing climate change), the hunting of primates for food, and the illegal wildlife trade." 

Gray-headed lemur (Eulemur cinereiceps), Madagascar. Deforestation and hunting present the greatest threats to the survival of this species, says the Primates in Peril assessment.© CI/photo by Russell A. Mittermeier

Russell Mittermeier, chair of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and president of Conservation International, said: "The results from the most recent IUCN assessment of the world's mammals indicate that the primates are among the most endangered vertebrate groups.

"The purpose of our Top 25 list is to highlight those that are most at risk, to attract the attention of the public, to stimulate national governments to do more, and especially to find the resources to implement desperately needed conservation measures.

"In particular, we want to encourage governments to commit to desperately needed biodiversity conservation measures when they gather in Japan in October. We have the resources to address this crisis, but so far, we have failed to act. We have chosen Bristol Zoo Gardens to launch this year's list, the fifth since 2001, because of the great leadership that this institution has taken in primate conservation in some of the world's highest priority regions," Mittermeier said.

Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), Madagascar. This is one of the rarest and most critically endangered lemurs, Primates in Peril says. Global population size is between 100 and 1,000. Silky sifakas are hunted throughout their range as there is no local taboo against eating them. Habitat disturbance, such as slash-and-burn agriculture, logging of precious woods (for example, rosewood) and fuel wood, also occurs in and adjacent to the protected areas where they are found, the report says.© CI/photo by Russell A. Mittermeier

"This research is a good example of the growing importance of collaboration between the international conservation, research and zoo communities in the protection of species and habitats," said BCSF's Christoph Schwitzer. "At Bristol Zoo Gardens, we will continue our conservation and research with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of the conservation activities, as well as increasing our understanding of these, and other, critically endangered species."

Some species have recovered

It's not all gloomy news for the world's primates. The conservationists point to the success in helping targeted species recover.

"In Brazil, the black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) was down listed to Endangered from

Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, as was the golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) in 2003, as a result of three decades of conservation efforts involving numerous institutions, many of which were zoos, the conservationsts said.

"Populations of both animals are now well-protected but remain very small, indicating an urgent need for reforestation to provide new habitat for their long-term survival."

The 25 Most Endangered Primates

Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), found in Cameroon and Nigeria. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Rodon dwarf galago (Galagoides rondoensis), Tanzania. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), Indonesia (Sumatra). © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Variegated spider monkey (Ateles hybridus), Colombia and Venezuela. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Siau Island tarsier (Tarsius tumpara), Indonesia (Siau Island). © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Tana River red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus). Kenya © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Western purple-faced langur (Semnopithecus vetulus nestor), Sri Lanka. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Grey-shanked douc (Pygathrix cinerea), Vietnam. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji) Tanzania. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Roloway monkey (Cercopithecus diana roloway), Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Sclater's lemur (Eulemur flavifrons), Madagascar. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Cao Vit or eastern black crested gibbon (Nomascus nasutus), China and Vietnam. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Phinopithecus avunculus), Vietnam. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus), Indonesia (Java). © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Niger Delta red colobus (Procolobus epieni), Nigeria. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus), Colombia. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Pig-tailed langur (Simias concolor), Indonesia (Mentawai Island). © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Peruvian yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda), Peru. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Northern sportive lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis), Madagascar. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock), Bangladesh. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), Madagascar. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash

Golden-headed or Cat Ba Langur (Trachypithecus p. poliocephalus), Vietnam. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash



Delacour's langur (Trachypithecus delacouri), Vietnam. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash




Gray-headed lemur (Eulemur cinereiceps), Madagascar. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash




Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus), Madagascar. © CI/Illustration by Stephen D. Nash

Posted: Feb 22, 2010 2:00am | (0) | (0) |  
Blog: Monkey Rivals Human at Nut-Cracking  

Wild bearded capuchins in Brazil have been observed cracking tough palm nuts using hammer stones, with one particularly skillful monkey surpassing all others, according to a new study.

(Illustration of (a) an adult female and (b) an adult male bearded capuchin striking a piaçava nut with a hammer stone on the log anvil. A piaçava nut is clearly visible on the anvil in (a). Photos: Elisabetta Visalberghi.)

Nut-cracking monkeys

The study, accepted for publication in the journal Animal Behavior, which is distributed by the Animal Behavior Society, also looked at how well a human could crack the same type of nuts. While we did OK, pound for pound the monkeys were more impressive.

Dorothy Fragaszy, director of the Primate Behavior Laboratory at the University of Georgia, and her team analyzed all aspects of the nut-cracking process:

  • the weight of the individual cracking the nuts

  • the nut-cracker's technique

  • the size of the nuts

  • the type of surface on which the nuts were cracked

Fragaszy and her colleagues next provided the monkeys with local palm nuts, a single hammer stone and an anvil.

"The most efficient capuchin opened 15 nuts per 100 strikes (6.6 strikes per nut)," according to the researchers. "The least efficient capuchin that succeeded in opening a nut opened 1.32 nuts per 100 strikes (more than 75 strikes per nut)."

The less skillful monkeys turned out to be the tiniest ones. A 1.3-pound infant monkey named "Catu," for example, had a hard time whacking the nuts open. The most efficient monkey, by a palm nut landslide, was a fellow named "Mansinho." In addition to his 15 nuts per 100 strikes stats, he showed incredible persistence, hammering away at least 225 times. Partial and complete nuts went flying from his surface.

Mansinho weighs nearly 8 pounds, so he had greater body weight and power to wield, especially when compared to little Catu and the other more diminutive monkeys.

The surface upon which the nuts were cracked was also an important determining factor that even the human cracker struggled with.

Using the same tools and the same type of nuts, "The human displaced (each) nut on proportionally fewer strikes when he placed it into a pit rather than on a flat surface."

Overall, the male adult human cracked 81 whole nuts and 28 partial nuts in 563 strikes. His efficiency was 16.1 for whole nuts and 42.4 for partial nuts.

The pit helped to hold the palm nut in place, allowing all of the hammer stone's force to concentrate on the nut's shell. This was a piece of cake for most of the adult monkeys, since they seemed to know the pit trick.

"Thus the capuchins placed the nut in a more effective location on the anvil to crack it," according to the researchers who concluded, "Nut cracking as practiced by bearded capuchins is a striking example of a plastic behavior where costs and benefits vary enormously across individuals, and where efficiency requires years to attain."

Posted: Feb 19, 2010 5:19am | (0) | (0) |  
{ else }   Blog: Developmental Delay May Explain Behavior of Easygoing Bonobo Apes  

ScienceDaily (Jan. 29, 2010) — New research suggests that evolutionary changes in cognitive development underlie the extensive social and behavioral differences that exist between two closely related species of great apes. The study, published online on January 28th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, enhances our understanding of our two closest living relatives, chimpanzees and the lesser-known bonobos, and may provide key insight into human evolution.

Although chimpanzees and bonobos have a very close genetic relationship with each other, the two species display major differences in their physical appearance, behavior, and cognition. For example, when compared to chimpanzees, bonobos seem to be much more peaceful and easygoing, retaining juvenile levels of play as adults, exhibiting low levels of aggression towards one another, and being much more likely than adult chimpanzees to share resources. It has been suggested that these differences might be a result of species-specific shifts in the developmental pathways that link infancy with adulthood.

"Thus far, there has been no direct test of the hypothesis that certain aspects of behavior or cognition in adult bonobos represent developmentally delayed forms of the traits found in chimpanzees," explains the lead study author, Victoria Wobber of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. "We tested this hypothesis by comparing skills of semi-free-ranging infant, juvenile, and adult bonobos and chimpanzees in three feeding competition tasks, given the prediction that this area in particular differs between the two species."

Wobber and colleagues observed that as chimpanzees reached adulthood, they became more and more intolerant of sharing food, whereas bonobos retained juvenile levels of food-related tolerance. Furthermore, chimpanzees consistently outperformed bonobos of the same age in tests where the subjects had to out which experimenters held a food reward. "Bonobos took longer to develop the same skill level shown even among the youngest of the chimpanzees that were tested," says Wobber. "It seemed as if adult chimpanzees were able to exhibit more social restraint than adult bonobos."

The findings support the hypothesis that developmental delays play a role in shaping differences in the social psychology and behavior of chimpanzees and bonobos. "Taken together, our results indicate that these social and cognitive differences between these two closely related species result from evolutionary changes in brain development," says Wobber. "Intriguingly, it has been suggested that the crucial cognitive adaptation of humans relative to other apes may be the accelerated development of social skills in infants. If we can understand the evolutionary processes by which developmental changes occurred in bonobos, perhaps inferences can be made about our own species' evolution."

Posted: Jan 28, 2010 10:55pm | (0) | (0) |  
{ else }   Blog: CSI Cameroon: Genetic Detective Work Helps Stop Chimp Smuggling in Africa  

Chimpanzees in western Africa have decreased by 75% in the last three decades, a surge in chimp hunting has been partly to blame. It's being recognized as a full fledged chimp smuggling crisis in Cameroon. A chimpanzee sold on the US black market can garner up to $20,000, and $100 when first sold in Cameroon. So, to help determine where the smuggling was taking place, researchers from set out to compare genetic sequences of chimps rescued in the US with their wild counterparts.

Scientists from the University of Albany teamed up with the Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon to determine the precise locations of the abducted chimps--to see if they could tell whether there were hunting 'hot spots', or if the smuggling was a widespread problem. To accomplish this, they used high tech computer programs to analyze the genetic sequences, and to create maps of where chimps recovered from the black market in the US originated.

Science Daily reports that

Lead scientist Mary Katherine Gonder said, "The data that we collected were put into a sophisticated computer program that mapped out the origins of the rescued chimpanzees. We found that all the rescued chimps were from Cameroon, implying that international smuggling is less of a problem than local trade. Worryingly though, the problem seems to occur throughout Cameroon, with some rescued chimps even coming from protected areas."

Bring a certain TV suspense/drama to mind for anyone else? No?


Anyhow, this modeling has been particularly useful, and not only in locating chimps. The chimpanzees are often captured while hunters are poaching other animals--many of which are endangered and off limits as well. So locating the chimps successfully could help put an end to systematic, devastating poaching operations.

And any improvement would be more than welcome--right now, 10 chimps are killed for every one that's rescued. If this operation is met with success, it could help restore chimpanzee populations in a meaningful way.

Posted: Jan 28, 2010 8:15pm | (0) | (0) |  
{ else }   Blog: Movie made by chimpanzees to be broadcast on television  

A chimp's view of the world

The world's first film shot entirely by chimpanzees is to be broadcast by the BBC as part of a natural history documentary.

The apes created the movie using a specially designed chimp-proof camera given to them by primatologists.

The film-making exercise is part of a scientific study into how chimpanzees perceive the world and each other.

It will be screened within the Natural World programme "Chimpcam" shown on BBC Two at 2000GMT on Wednesday 27 January.

Making the movie was the brainchild of primatologist Ms Betsy Herrelko, who is studying for a PhD in primate behaviour at the University of Stirling, UK.

Chimpazee with Chimpcam
Point and shoot with Chimpcam

Over 18 months, she introduced video technology to a group of 11 chimpanzees living in a newly built enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo, UK.

The enclosure, which contains three large interlinked outdoor arenas, as well as a series of smaller rooms in which the apes can be studied by researchers, is the largest of its kind in the world.

Despite the fact that the chimps had never taken part in a research project before, they soon displayed an interest in film-making.

Ms Herrelko set the chimps two challenges.

The first was to teach the chimps how to use a touchscreen to select different videos.

By doing so, Ms Herrelko could investigate which types of images chimps prefer to watch.

The second challenge was to give the apes a "Chimpcam", a recording camera housed in a chimp-proof box.


Chimpazee looking into Chimpcam

On top of the box was a video screen that showed live images of whatever the camera was pointing at.

Initially, the chimps were more interested in each other than the video technology, as two male chimps within the study group vied to become the alpha male, disrupting the experiment.

But over time, some of the chimps learned how to select different videos to watch.

For example, the chimps could use a touchscreen to decide whether to watch footage of their outside enclosure, or the food preparation room, where zoo staff prepare the chimps' meals.

The results still have to be analysed in detail, but it seems the chimps did not prefer to watch any of these images over the others.

Ms Herrelko is not sure why, but it could be that the images shown were too familiar to the chimps or because they have no way of asking to see something different.

Then in the final the final stage of her work, she investigated what happened when she gave the Chimpcam to the whole group.

A captive chimpanzee watching a video of a wild chimp
Watching wild relatives

Gradually, the chimps started playing with the Chimpcam, carrying it around the enclosure.

The chimps soon became interested in the camera view screen on the Chimpcam box, watching what happened as they moved the Chimpcam around filming new images.

Overall, they were more interested in the Chipcam viewfinder than they were the touchscreen in the research room.

The apes are unlikely to have actively tried to film any particular subject, or understand that by carrying Chimpcam around, they were making a film.

However, the result, as well as providing new information on how chimps like to see the world, may yet go down in television history.


Watch The Video:

Posted: Jan 28, 2010 8:12pm | (0) | (0) |  
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