The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chimpanzees Share 98.4 Per Cent of Our DNA

Outsmarted: humans and apes share many genes, but the way we use them is 'like swapping a rifle for a machine gun'

About 50 years ago, something happened that radically changed our ideas about what it meant to be human. A young secretary who had ventured into the African jungle witnessed a chimpanzee fashioning a tool out of a blade of grass, and using it to fish for termites. Jane Goodall had been sent to Tanzania by Dr Louis Leakey, who, on hearing her startling news, came up with an equally startling statement: "Now we must redefine 'tool', redefine 'man', or accept chimpanzees as humans."

During the Sixties, the then Dr Goodall, later founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, discovered more similarities between ourselves and chimpanzees: they can use stone tools; they have a rudimentary culture; their mothers teach their infants; they feel similar emotions to us, such as fear, sadness, happiness; and they grieve over lost loved ones.

Subsequently, genetic research started to shore up her theory that "the line between humans and other non-human beings, once thought so sharp, has become blurred". Movements sprang up such as the Great Ape Project, founded in 1993 by the bioethicist Peter Singer, which argued that apes should be awarded certain basic rights. And as genome mapping was developed, the genetic difference observed between humans and chimpanzees, our closest living ancestors, continued to shrink: it turned out that only 1.6 per cent of our genes were different.

This activity led to two basic conclusions: that humans and apes were not that different after all, and that if 98.4 per cent of our genes were shared with chimps, the remaining 1.6 per cent should explain why our development has differed so dramatically from that of our cousins.

Yet a new book, published last week, is attacking both assumptions. "Because we are virtually genetically identical, primatologists argue that in a logical sense, chimpanzees are very close to us cognitively," says Jeremy Taylor, author of Not a Chimp: The Hunt to Find the Genes that Make Us Human. "The way this idea has bled into popular culture enrages me."

Taylor is particularly scathing on the subject of primate rights. "I don't understand why conservation of the great apes has become synonymous with human rights and their similarity to us, whereas conservation of wetlands or a million other species doesn't carry any such conflations," he says. In this he echoes the Telegraph columnist Steve Jones, who has argued that it is a mistake to apply a human concept, such as rights, to an animal: "Chimpanzees share about 98 per cent of our DNA, but bananas share about 50 per cent, and we are not 98 per cent chimp or 50 per cent banana. We are entirely human and unique."

Goodall's work was followed by a spate of studies demonstrating how close chimps' mental capacities seem to be to ours. They can, it is thought, show self-awareness, as demonstrated by what has become a classic test. Researchers put a blob of paint on a chimp's face without the animal noticing or being able to see the spot, and then give it a mirror. Macaques and other monkeys will react aggressively to their mirror image, as if they are seeing another creature, whereas chimpanzees will calmly sit down and rub the paint off.

Thirty-one years ago, two scientists, David Premack and Guy Woodruff, published a seminal paper asking whether chimpanzees had what they termed "Theory of Mind": the ability to understand that another being has thoughts and beliefs, desires and feelings. Because we have this ability, we think about what other people are thinking: we don't treat our fellows as if they were objects or automatons following a set of rules.

The majority of scientists working in this field would argue that chimps do not have the same capacity as humans for thinking about how others think, but that, nevertheless, chimps still have some understanding of mental states. "It is time for humans to quit thinking that their nearest primate relatives only react to behaviour," says Dr Josep Call, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who has been studying chimpanzees for many years. "All the evidence suggests that chimpanzees understand both the goals and intentions of others as well as the perception and knowledge of others."

Yet there are sceptics, chief among them Prof Daniel Povinelli of the University of Louisiana. In one of his experiments, chimps were made to beg for food from two researchers. One wore a bucket on his head, which prevented him from seeing the chimps, and the other did not. The chimps begged indiscriminately from both researchers, indicating that they could not understand what the researchers could see.

It was such problems that led Taylor to turn to genetics to understand the mental and genetic differences between ourselves and chimpanzees. For his new book, the television producer trawled through the latest research papers, and discovered that these differences could be far greater than previously thought.

Over the past five years, he points out, our understanding of genetics has become much more sophisticated. While there might only be a 1.6 per cent difference in the genome itself, the way it shapes our minds and bodies is radically different. "The key thing for me," says Taylor, "is that when you compare chimps and great apes with humans you notice how much more gene expression there is in humans."

Gene expression is when certain genes damp down or speed up chemical processes. A team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology showed that in human brains, there is a five-fold increase in the rate of gene expression. Other research has shown that more than 90 per cent of the genes in human brains have been "up-regulated" – that is, they have higher levels of gene expression. Most of these genes are associated with the speed of transmission of nerve impulses or energy production to fuel the brain. As Taylor says, "Bigger, faster, greedier, longer-living – that's the evolutionary story of the human brain."

Another genetic difference between us and chimps is "copy number variation". This is where a gene becomes copied, inserted into another part of the genome and yet still works. For instance, GLUD2 is a gene that governs an enzyme involved in nerve signalling in the brain. It is common to all the great apes, including humans – but with us, the gene has been copied, which makes the enzyme work faster. The resulting neurological intensity, says Taylor, "is like swapping a Lee-Enfield rifle for a machine gun".

Along with other genetic innovations, such as inversions, where whole chromosomes are flipped over, and gene splicing (in which one gene controls up to 50 proteins), the gulf between human and chimpanzee brains starts to widen dramatically. "If you add all this up," says Taylor, "the genetic similarity between humans and chimps drops to 87 per cent."

The differences between ourselves and chimpanzees are concentrated in our brains, our immune systems and our metabolisms, suggesting a level of uniqueness that marks us out from other creatures. Yet some do not agree. Professor Frans de Waal, a primatologist from Emory University in Atlanta, has written a number of books, such as Our Inner Ape, in which he argues for a continuum between us and chimpanzees.

"Evolutionary theory shows that there is a continuity between all life forms, including humans and other animals," says Prof de Waal. "Darwin was very clear on this, and modern neuroscience has yet to find any area in the human brain that is not also present in a chimpanzee's. If there is a qualitative jump between ape and human mental capacities, the challenge for Taylor will be to explain how we got there without major changes in the brain, apart from size.

"Certainly, the trend over the past few decades has been the opposite: those who have bet on similarities between humans and other animals have been proven right time after time. Claiming human uniqueness has been a losing battle."

Taylor agrees that chimpanzees "show many fundamentally human skills – to a degree that they have the ability to do maths, think abstractly, demonstrate altruism, make tools and imitate each other. There is nothing humans can do that apes can't do, however simplistically."

But, he adds, "we are talking about the difference between using a twig as a tool and using the internet. It is humans that have speech and language, humans that have culture, art, music, science and technology, humans who remember the past, plan for the future, fear death and pay taxes.

"Sometimes, amid all this scientific talk of genetic and cognitive similarity, we can lose sight of the most important facts." "

'Not a Chimp' by Jeremy Taylor is available from Telegraph Books for £14.99 plus £1.25 p&p


Michael Jacksons Chimpanzee, Bubbles

By Johnny Dodd
With all the discussion surrounding the shocking death of Michael Jackson, people have wondered whatever happened to his beloved chimpanzee Bubbles. It turns out, the chimp is alive and well and monkeying around in a Florida primate sanctuary, PEOPLE has learned.

The 26-year old chimp, who lived with Jackson in the late 1980s, has spent the past four years at the Center For Great Apes, home to forty-two chimpanzees and orangutans.

"He's a very sweet and nice chimp, he really is," says sanctuary director Patti Ragan. "I've seen him go to the drinking fountain, start to take a sip of water and then, when he hears one of the younger ones coming, he'll step back and let them have a sip."

A Jackson Visit?

Bubbles was born at a facility in Texas that breeds primates for medical testing before Jackson adopted him in the '80s. The chimp arrived at Ragan's sanctuary – which is not open to the public – in 2005 after the singer's former animal trainer stopped working with primates. Not long after, a rep for Jackson contacted the facility, saying that Michael wanted to come and visit his former buddy. But the singer never made the trip.

Over the years, Bubbles has grown into a good-sized adult, and now weighs 160 lbs. His facial features have also changed since his days when he often romped around with Jackson in matching Western outfits. "That pink baby face of his has disappeared," Ragan says. "He still has a lot of fleshy color in his face. But he's a huge guy now and that probably is going to surprise a lot of people."

These days, he spends his time hanging out with a group of six other chimps. Among his favorite things to do: eating sweet potatoes, listening to flute-and-guitar music, painting and kicking back with longtime buddy Sam, 40. "The two of them like to climb up to the top of a cupola [located on the sanctuary grounds] and just sit there, staring out over the orange groves, watching the traffic in the distance," says Ragan. "He loves being up there."

Bubbles's Future

And the chimpanzee hasn't been told of his former owner's recent death. "We haven't said anything to him yet," she says, adding that his mood over the past few days has been typically chimp-like: "He's been his usual self, interacting with friends, eating well, taking cover when it rains."

Ragan says it's not yet known if Jackson stipulated that any money from his estate would be used to support Bubbles, who could easily live to the age of 60. To this date, his care has come from solely from public donations. To learn more about Bubbles's new home, go to


Monday, June 29, 2009

Orangutans Fight for Survival as Palm Oil Producer Clears Jungle

Scots firm accused of destroying endangered apes’ rainforest home
Orangutans fight for survival as palm oil producer clears jungleBy Kathy Marks in Sumatra

THE ANCIENT peat swamp forests of Tripa, on Indonesia's Sumatra island, were once home to 1500 orangutans. Now just 280 remain. The rainforest is being torn down to plant the latest wonder crop, palm oil - and a Scottish company that made its fortune from the Chinese opium trade is helping to destroy the critically endangered ape's habitat.

Jardine Matheson, an internationally renowned trading group with a long and colourful history, owns one of Indonesia's biggest palm oil producers, Astra Agro Lestari. AAL, part of a Jakarta-based conglomerate, is one of the leading operators in the Tripa area, where it is burning and clear-felling large tracts of the coastal jungle.

Global demand for palm oil - a cheap and versatile oil used in scores of food and household products, including Mars bars, Hovis, Persil, Special K and Flora margarine - is regarded as the main threat to the orangutan's future. The Sumatran species is particularly vulnerable - with only 6600 left in the wild, it is likely to become the first great ape to disappear.

In Sumatra, locals call oil palm the "golden plant", thanks to the income that the rapidly growing industry is bringing. But conservation groups say the economic benefits come at a high price, and they deplore Jardine Matheson's role in hastening the orangutan's extinction.

Jardines, founded in 1832 by two Scottish traders, William Jardine and James Matheson, is still controlled by a Dumfriesshire family, the Keswicks. The company's chairman, Henry Keswick, was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours this month for "services to British business interests overseas".

But not all Sir Henry's fellow Britons appreciate his work. Every year dozens of orphaned and injured orangutans, many from Tripa, end up at a rescue centre run by Ian Singleton, a zoo keeper from Hull. Singleton says: "There's a lot of concern about illegal logging in Indonesia, but legal conversion for palm oil is far more serious. Once a forest has been converted to plantation, it's gone forever."

At his centre, set on four jungle-clad hectares near the city of Medan, young orangutans clamber around a cage, gorging on bananas and swinging on ropes. Sold as illegal pets after their mothers were killed by farmers or plantation workers, they will eventually be released back into the wild.

Singleton - who teaches the apes how to find forest fruit, build a nest and even how to climb trees - says human-orangutan conflicts are increasingly common as the latter's territory shrinks. Many arrive with air rifle or machete wounds. "For every 10 babies we get, probably another 10 have been killed, plus 20 adult females," he says.

Asia has always been Jardine Matheson's focus. After the British East India Company lost its monopoly on trade with China, Jardines sent the first private shipments of tea to London, Liverpool and Glasgow. It also trafficked opium into China from India, helping to spark the so-called Opium Wars, which led to Hong Kong being ceded to Britain.

The Keswicks, descendants of William Jardine's sister, dominated the group as it expanded into shipping, property and insurance, acquiring enormous influence in the region. The Jardines chairman became known as the "taipan", or big boss. The novelist James Clavell based a series of racy historical dramas on the family.

Nowadays the company's wide-ranging interests include the Mandarin Oriental hotels and Asian branches of Ikea and Starbucks. AAL is a small but lucrative part of the empire, increasing net profits last year by 33% following record plantation earnings.

With Indonesia now the world's largest palm oil producer, Sumatra - a lush, mountainous island where monkeys scamper in the bushes and water buffalo wander by the roadside - appears to be at risk of turning into one vast plantation. The short, stumpy oil trees are now beginning to blanket the landscape, with the monotony relieved only by occasional scarred brown hillsides.

As you fly over Tripa, designated a priority conservation site under a United Nations plan to save the great apes, the scale of devastation becomes clear. The green tangle of forest abruptly gives way to gigantic rectangles studded with thousands of palms. Numerous illegal fires are visible, including on AAL's estate.

The peat swamps not only harbour exceptional biodiversity, they also acted as a protective buffer when the 2004 tsunami struck Sumatra's Aceh province. They also hold massive carbon stores, which are now being released, exacerbating climate change.

Helen Buckland, UK director of the Sumatran Orangatan Society, said this week: "It is frankly shocking that the chairman of Jardine Matheson has been knighted while his company is actively contributing to the demise of the Sumatran orangutan. British businesses must be held accountable for their part in the destruction of this globally important area of forest."

In a statement, Jardines said: "Both AAL and Astra International take environmental stewardship seriously. AAL believes in and supports the preservation and conservation of the natural environment in Indonesia, and this is fully reflected in its sustainable palm oil growing programmes."

The firm added it was confident AAL's plantations function "in full compliance" with local laws, including environmental studies covering the potential impact on endangered species.

AAL denied destroying orangutan habitats and said it planned to develop only half its 13,000 hectares in Tripa because of conservation concerns. It denied setting fires and said it operated according to sustainable principles and practices, taking "careful account of the economic, social and environmental impact of all our plantations".


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Celebration of Life for a Hero Dr. Carole Noon

Photo Here
Celebrating the Life of a Remarkable Hero
Dr. Carole Noon

Please join us as we celebrate the life of a visionary and hero,
Dr. Carole Noon, on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at the
Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Dr. Carole Noon - Founder and President

Carole Noon, Founder and Director of Save the Chimps,
passed away on May 2, 2009

Save the Chimps will honor and remember her passion, devotion and incredible achievements on behalf of chimpanzees in a public celebration on July 18, 2009.

We invite you to join us as her family and friends come together to remember Carole Noon - her journey from childhood to her final days overlooking the 'chimp city' that will remain her lasting legacy.

Using her words and our own, Save the Chimps will pay tribute to a remarkable woman who poured her heart and soul into saving chimpanzees. Whether you were a friend of Dr. Noon's or merely admired her from afar, we invite you to join us as we celebrate her life.

One of the highlights of the evening will be the presentation of the GFAS Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence.

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence has been created to honor visionary contributions to the animal sanctuary field.

The honor memorializes Carole Noon, Ph. D., a courageous and innovative sanctuary pioneer and champion of chimpanzees. The first award, given in 2009, will be awarded posthumously to
Dr. Carole Noon.

Carole Noon, Ph.D. exemplified these traits with an innovative spirit, creating solutions to overwhelming challenges; a deep knowledge of those entrusted to the care of the sanctuary, and a dedication to animals and a determination to succeed that manifested in a commitment to ensure humane and responsible care for the lifetime of each of the sanctuary residents.

Event Details:

July 18, 2009
Doors open at 5:00 PM.
The ceremony will begin at 5:30 PM and conclude at 9:00PM.
Hor's d'oeuvres will be served.

The Havert L. Fenn Center is located at
2000 Virginia Avenue, Fort Pierce, FL
(772) 462-1521

For directions to the Havert L. Fenn Center, please click here.

For those of you travelling from out of town,
we suggest the following hotels:

Vero Beach Hotel & Spa - Vero Beach
3500 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach

Hampton Inn - Fort Pierce
1985 Reynolds Drive, Fort Pierce

Dockside Inn - Fort Pierce
1160 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce

Read more about Dr. Carole Noon
PO Box 12220
Fort Pierce, Florida 34979
Save the Chimps

Let friends and family know how they can help provide the chimps with permanent sanctuary and quality care by forwarding this email!

Click on the "Forward email" link below and add your contacts.
Save the Chimps is the World's Largest Permanent Sanctuary for Rescued Chimpanzees.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Exotic Animal Sanctuary Scheduled for Hearing on Two Chimpanzees

By Lou Elliott Jones

The owners of a controversial exotic animal sanctuary in the Small Farms subdivision has filed a request for a special exception to zoning regulations to allow them to keep the lion, tiger, bear, two chimpanzees they have on the property.

That comes on the heels of Levy County Commissioner Lilly Rooks, County Attorney Anne Bast Brown and a number of residents in the area of the exotic animal operation attending a state Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Crystal River to protest the licensing of such operations in residential areas of the county in violation of a zoning ordinance.

Dr. Susan Billiar, a veterinarian, and her husband Brian Davis, moved the animals to their home on about 7 acres in March, touching off protests from neighbors, including a mother with a 3-year-old child and another on the way whose bedroom is about 250 feet from the big cats’ exercise cage.

The county’s zoning ordinance requires exotic animals be located at least a quarter mile from residential areas. The requirement was approved after the commission received complaints about two years ago regarding the licensing of an exotic animal operation in a residential area of Otter Creek.

No date has been set for the County Planning Commission to consider the application, but it will likely be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 3 at the County Courthouse in Bronson.

The county commission has been in a verbal standoff over the issue of exotic animal licensing with the FWC. The state agency derives its power to regulate wildlife from the Florida Constitution, which also gives counties power over zoning and development.

“I thnk we made some headway there,” Commissioner Rooks said after the meeting a week ago with the state agency’s board.

“They (FWC Commission) told Col. Julie Jones to have some of their people get with us and bring back a resolution.” Jones is head of the FWC law enforcement division.

Rooks said the group trying to schedule a meeting for us in July so the county and state officials can start talking this out

She commended Brown’s presentation to the board. “They listened to us and Anne gave them some ideas of how this could be handled for Levy County because we’re interested in the zoning aspect of it and I think they’re going to try to work this out with us”

Rooks said, “She told them that the way she interprets the constitution is that we have self-governing powers and zoning falls under the powers the counties and municipalities have.”

The commissioner said she feels it’s a positive sign that the FWC is willing to look at things

Rooks said Morriston resident Mika Vuto, whose home is closest to the animals, also addressed the commission. “She got a lot of applause from all around the room…she did a good job and kept it brief and to the point explaining what her situation was.”

Vuto brought the exotic animal sanctuary to the county commission’s attention at a May 19 meeting. She said the bear and the big cats were moved to Southeast 192nd Court in March and were housed in cages on the property. She said she contacted state officials because there was no fence around the facility.

The owners have since installed a 12-foot chain link fence around the lion, tiger and bear cages. They are also installing an enclosed cage for the chimpanzees which are being housed in a trailer cage.

“Same thing you’d have on a prison,” said owner Brian Davis, of the lion and tiger fence.

Billiar, a vet with an office in Marion County, said, “It’s a sanctuary for retired animals and we want to open it up for Levy County school children to visit.

She was upset that the discussion was held at the May 19 county commission meeting without being notified. “It was kind of one-sided. We have all the proper permits and such. The big thing is that we did not do this in an intention to draw attention to ourselves, to upset people.”

Billiar said she was just trying to provide a home for the highly endangered species that recently arrived at the farm. They had previously resided at an educational facility, but the owners had health and financial problems rendering them incapable of maintaining them. The FWC had ordered the facility closed and the animals transferred elsewhere in 30 days.

“These animals are all ambassadors for the animals in the wild. This lady really needed someone who could come in and take them. It was meant to be a good thing.”

“These animals will never be taken out of the cages and walked around,” Billiar said. She also said that under the regulations they are to have as little human physical contact as possible."


Why are Chimps stronger then Humans?


Gary B. Gillis

Mount Holyoke College

It was in high school that I first learned of the remarkable genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees: we share around 98–99% of our DNA with our nearest great-ape relatives. With the recent sequencing of the chimpanzee genome, it is exciting to think that we might soon understand how these relatively small differences between human and chimp DNA translate into rather notable differences in our respective phenotypes. Melanie Scholz of Vrije University and colleages from Amsterdam and Antwerp recently focussed on one currently underappreciated phenotypic difference between chimpanzees and humans: the incredible strength of chimps.

Anecdotal and scientific evidence indicate that humans have inferior strength to chimps, and most would be hard-pressed to win a rope-tugging contest against a chimp half their size. Since chimps aren't overly endowed with muscle mass, Scholz and her colleagues wondered if there might be something special about the intrinsic properties of chimpanzee muscle that sets them apart from humans. To investigate, they compared squat jumping performance between bonobos (Pan paniscus), close relatives of the common chimpanzee, and humans.

During squat jumps, the amount of work generated by the limb muscles closely parallels the potential energy gain of the body. Since a body's potential energy gain is directly related to the height of a jump, estimates of muscle energy output can be made by keeping a close track of a body's vertical movement during a jump, without using any invasive procedures.

To find out if chimps have a superior jumping performance, Scholz and coworkers recorded high-speed videos of squat jumps from three bonobos and four human subjects taking off from a force plate. All three bonobos performed squat jumps higher than 0.7 m. In contrast, the best human subject jumped just over 0.3 m, and the literature reports that top-level athletes jump between 0.4–0.5 m. To estimate the mechanical energy and the power output of the jumps, the team analyzed the movements of the center of mass and the limbs as well as the ground-reaction forces recorded from the force plate. These data were combined with limb anatomical data from previous studies into a mathematical model that determined limb muscle mechanical energy and power output during jumping.

In both humans and bonobos, the mechanical energy and power output required for the best jumps were similar at approximately 450 J and nearly 3000 W, respectively. However, bonobo limb extensor muscle mass is less than half that in a human, suggesting that per gram of muscle, the work and power output of bonobos' muscles are over twice those observed in humans.

The authors suspect that the observed differences in work and power generation could be related to fundamental differences in the ability of a certain mass of muscle to produce force, which could be caused by different forms of the muscle protein myosin. Properties of muscle contraction such as muscle fibre shortening distances or velocities could also be responsible. Regardless, it is possible to make two tentative generalizations. First, some of those small differences in DNA make-up between chimps and humans may well relate to muscle structure and function; and second, assuming chimp muscle properties are widespread among the great apes, King Kong just got a whole lot scarier.


Scholz, M. N., D'Aout, K., Bobbert, M. F. and Aerts, P. (2006). Vertical jumping performance of bonobo (Pan paniscus) suggests superior muscle properties. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 273,2177 -2184.[Medline]


Jaw Muscle and Brains in Human Evolution

There is a gene called MYH16 in both humans and other primates. In humans, this gene is damaged. This makes human jaw muscle fibers one third the size of chimp muscle fibers. It’s a fascinating thing, because this mutation may have made the larger brains of humans possible, as described in this wonderful video here:

It is likely that this gene, or the same kind of mutation in another gene, is affecting the strength of human muscles."

Source and Video

The Search for Moe the Chimpanzee Continues in CA, Davises

It has been a year since Moe went missing, but the search for the celebrity chimp goes on.

Granted there are no helicopters circling above the San Bernardino National Forest area he reportedly escaped into and the ground search crews, animal psychics and cranks reporting sightings are long gone.

These days, according to those in the know, the search for the primate who was raised in West Covina is more low-key in nature.

"There are still experts in finding missing animals volunteering to help out," said Michael McCasland, a friend of the chimp's owners St. James and LaDonna Davis.

Moe went missing from Jungle Exotics, a Devore company that houses animals and provides them to the entertainment industry, on June 27, 2008.

In the weeks following, there was a full-scale search for the primate, who was raised by the Davises in West Covina, by the couple, the owners of Jungle Exotics and others.

San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control was on call to assist from the start, said Brian Cronin, division chief for county animal control.

"We've been available if there were to be any sightings of Moe and we are impressed by the family's extensive efforts to find him, even using an animal psychic," he said. "It is our belief, however, that there are many predators out there, so it is most likely that he passed away."

What is known is that other than early reports of supposed sightings, the 42-year-old chimp has not

been seen since he disappeared on a Friday morning from Jungle Exotics.

There was plenty of excitment in the primate's life before he went missing and again became the subject of news stories nationwide.

According to McCasland, St. James brought Moe home from Tanzania in 1967 after the chimp's mother was killed by poachers.

He and LaDonna then raised Moe in West Covina treating the chimp, who appeared in some TV shows and movies, much like they would a son.

In 1999, Moe was taken from the home for being in violation of West Covina's wild animal ordinance. Then in 2005, while the Davises were visiting Moe at the Animal Haven Ranch near Bakersfield to celebrate his 39th birthday, two chimps in nearby cages attacked them, nearly killing St. James.

In 2007, Moe was moved into a cage at Jungle Exotics, the location he disappeared from.

McCasland said the search will continue until there is closure.

"We are not giving up, because right now we have more questions than answers," he said.

(909) 386-3879

Militants Kill Chimps in Congo

Park rangers enter the thick forest in the Virunga National Park in 2008. Dozens of animals have been killed by armed groups at Africa's oldest national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the year, park officials and environmental groups said Tuesday.

(AFP/File/Roberto Schmidt)

KINSHASA (AFP) – Dozens of animals have been killed by armed groups at Africa's oldest national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the year, park officials and environmental groups said Tuesday.

Chimpanzees, elephants, antelopes, birds and hippos have been slaughtered after Virunga National Park became the scene of intense fighting.

The park, on the frontier with Uganda, was made a world heritage site by the UN's cultural body UNESCO, and is home to endangered species such as the mountain gorilla.

"Four chimpanzees were killed last week in the central zone and 11 elephants since the start of the year," park director Emmanuel de Merode told AFP.

He added "a large number of game animals", including antelopes, had also been slaughtered.

Bantu Lukamba, from local environmental NGO Innovation, said: "At least 31 animals, including 11 migratory birds and three hippos were killed over 21 days."

They died between May 25 and June 16, he said.

Armed groups have overrun the park since violence flared up last year.

It became the theatre of intense fighting, mainly between government forces or their proxies and rebels of the National Congress for the Defence of the People.

"It is impossible to get control the situation in the park, given the huge number of armed men who exploit its resources," Merode said.

The park is also home to Lake Edward, which in 1980 was the world's most important hippopotamus sanctuary with 27,000 of the animals.

There are now less than 300, according to Merode.

Created in 1925, Virunga National Park is the oldest in Africa.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Stop Chimpanzee Testing Campaign Update

Animal experiments directive - now EU member states get a say

In May, the European Parliament reached a first reading position on the European Commission's proposal to update the 20-year old Directive 86/609 regulating animal experiments. It is a great shame that some key animal welfare safeguards were passed over at this stage; however, supportive MEPs did manage to hold on to vital legislative improvements such as the establishment of EU and national centres for developing non-animal alternatives. This single measure could make a significant difference to the rate at which animal experiments are replaced in the future.

Next it is the turn of the EU's 27 member states to vote, as the Council of the European Union. They will produce a 'common position' regarding the revision proposals. This is a vital stage in the Make Animal Testing History Campaign, and we are working together with our supporting organisations to present our campaign goals to key countries.

Here's what we'll be asking the Council to vote for:
  • strategic direction to replace animals in research and testing through compulsory use of existing alternatives, and the creation of EU and national centres dedicated to advancing additional non-animal methods;
  • transparent systems to ensure ethical evaluation, authorisation and retrospective assessment are applied to all animal procedures, together with rigorous independent inspections and published inspection reports;
  • an immediate ban on the use of great apes and wild-caught primates in experiments, a phase out of 'F1' offspring born to wild parents and regular reviews of all primate use leading to a complete phase out in line with European Parliament Written Declaration 40/2007;
  • regular thematic reviews of selected aspects of the legislation, and public reporting on progress made towards reducing animal suffering and replacing animal methods.

We urgently need the help of UK citizens to demonstrate to the Home Office that the public wants Britain to support humane science in political negotiations taking place at the Council of Ministers. As the EU member states now gear up to form a position on the revision proposal, Britain will be playing a pivotal role. The Home Office has launched a public consultation to assess views on all aspects of the proposal - this is your chance to get your voice heard.

The consultation text is extremely long and complicated and there is not very much time to respond. However, we are determined that this should not deter members of the public from taking part. The Dr Hadwen Trust and other national organisations are all responding in full to the consultation, but you can help by telling the Home Office your views on specific key areas.

Click here for our guidance notes on these priority areas of concern. Copy and paste the response into a new e-mail, add your name and address (indicated in red at the top), and send your email to Please take action today as the deadline for responses is Friday 3rd July.

Join the virtual march for animals in laboratories

Over 40,000 people so far are marching to Make Animal Testing History - that's a fabulous achievement and thank you to everyone who has joined the virtual march
so far.

Not yet joined? There's still time -
click here to sign the pledge for humane science, create your cyber-self and get marching. Please do everything you can to promote the virtual march to friends, family, colleagues, blogs, social network pages - we need as many people marching as possible.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lawmakers Call for Protection of Chimps in US Labs

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., and The Humane Society of the United States hosted a briefing today for Members of Congress and staff on the Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) and the plight of chimpanzees in laboratories. The legislation, strongly supported by The HSUS, has been introduced by Chairman Towns along with Reps. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., Jim Langevin, D-R.I., and Roscoe Bartlett, D-Md., to phase out invasive research on great apes and calls for the retirement of approximately 500 government-owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary.

The use of chimpanzees in lab research has drastically declined in recent years due to past scientific failures, discovery of more viable alternatives, high financial costs, increased public outcry and ethical concerns. The vast majority of the 1,000 chimpanzees who remain in research facilities in the U.S. today are not even used in active experiments but are instead warehoused at an enormous taxpayer expense, rather than retired to sanctuary to peacefully live out their remaining years.

"Our closest living relatives deserve better than to be warehoused for decades in barren laboratory cages," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "The information our panel presents today should compel Congress to swiftly pass the Great Ape Protection Act and provide chimpanzees in laboratories freedom from harm and the life in sanctuary that they deserve, before their time runs out."

The findings of The HSUS' 9-month undercover investigation at the world's largest chimpanzee laboratory, the New Iberia Research Center in southwest Louisiana, were discussed at the briefing. Undercover footage from the investigation was shown as well, uncovering the psychological and physical suffering endured by chimpanzees in laboratories caused by solitary confinement, as well as painful procedures such as multiple liver biopsies.

The investigation gave the public a revealing look at what happens every day to chimps locked away in U.S. laboratories — some of whom have been subjected to inhumane conditions and cruel treatment for more than 50 years. The life these chimpanzees must endure and the wasted millions of federal dollars funneled to these laboratories each year are astonishing."

To learn more about chimpanzees in research, visit


Charla Nash, Soon Will Be making Decisions

Charla Nash, the Stamford woman who was horrifically mauled by a 200-pound chimpanzee this February and is now being treated at a Cleveland medical clinic, is improving and will soon be able to decide surgery options on her own,, a Web site run by her friends, reported Wednesday.

Those options include deciding between prosthetics or transplants, the Web site said in a mass e-mail.

Nash, a 55-year-old city resident, lost her hands, nose, lips and eyelids in a vicious attack in a North Stamford driveway that ended with police shooting and killing Travis, a male 14-year-old chimp owned by towing company owner Sandra Herold.

"Charla's strength, courage, patience and endurance will be tested and challenged as never before," the e-mail said. "Any decision will be a path of successes and failures for a very long time."

It said Nash's teenage daughter, Briana, just finished school and will visit her mother in Cleveland. It also said Nash is finally able to communicate with her brother, Steve.

Nash is coping with her life-changing injuries, the e-mail said. She is more concerned with regaining the use of her hands and mouth than her face or scalp, it said."


The Most Endangered Ape in Africa

Cross River gorilla

Meet the most endangered ape in Africa

With fewer than 300 individuals left in the world, the Cross River gorilla is Africa’s most threatened gorilla. Their survival hangs in the balance as logging, farming and fire destroy their natural habitat. Please make a contribution to FFI today to avoid the tragedy of the gorillas’ extinction.

Cross River gorilla

The critically endangered Cross River gorilla lives exclusively in the hilly rainforest region along the Nigeria-Cameroon border. Years of hunting have made the Cross River gorilla wary of humans, which makes their study difficult. There is so much more to be learned about these magnificent creatures.

The world’s remaining Cross River gorillas live in 11 separate colonies, scattered over hundreds of miles. In recent years, nearby human settlements have grown and new roads are being built. Gorillas may soon become even more vulnerable and isolated.

Through our work to ensure communities feel pride in their native species, it is now almost a complete taboo to hunt Cross River gorillas. Great progress has also been made in researching the area, which benefits not only the Cross River gorilla but other native wildlife.

Cross River gorilla

Our next challenge is to tackle the destruction of the Cross River gorilla’s forest habitats. Sixteen villages surround the gorilla’s forest home and logging is a constant threat. Meanwhile, fires started during bush clearing for farms have swept across the outer slopes of the hills where the gorillas live.

This is a critical time. With your help we can improve and expand these projects and create a conservation legacy in Nigeria and Cameroon as well as across all our international sites. Please don’t let the critically endangered Cross River gorilla become another casualty of human expansion and destruction.

Daniel Pouakouyou

We can help them survive – it’s not too late. FFI has a long history of working with overlooked species such as the Cross River gorilla, but we rely on your support to continue our work.

Daniel Pouakouyou (right) is FFI’s Programme Manager for Central Africa. Part of his role is to coordinate our efforts to save the Cross River gorilla. After years spent working to preserve the forests of Cameroon, Daniel has a unique understanding of how local people must play a pivotal role in the conservation of their biodiversity.

Please donate today – and help us provide a future for Cross River gorillas and other species threatened with extinction.

Thank you for your continued support. Your donation is vitally important to our ability to step in and protect countless species and habitats around the world."

To donate you can go here

Click here to learn more about the Cross River gorilla.

For further information please contact Camila Iturra at or call +44 (0)1223 431954.

Photos courtesy of Arend de Haas, African Conservation Foundation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Early Primates Were Possibly Nocturnal

Image Caption: University of Florida vertebrate paleontologist Jonathan Bloch shows the preserved skull of the 54-million-year-old primitive primate, Ignacius graybullianus, and the virtual mold of the brain made from the skull in this June 5, 2009, photo at Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. The mold, known as an endocast, was made using an ultra-high resolution X-ray CT scanner that took more than 1,200 cross-sectional images of the skull. (Eric Zamora/University of Florida)

A new study indicates that one of the earliest primates lived in trees and relied on smell more than vision.

Researchers reported in Tuesday's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that a tiny cousin of the earliest ancestors of humans lived 54 million years ago in what is now known as Wyoming.

Mary T. Silcox, the team lead, and other researchers used a CT-scan to study the 1.5 inch skull of a primate known as Ignacius graybullianus.

The animal’s brain structure was modeled with the results, showing large olfactory lobes but less development in visual areas. This is a possible indication of a nocturnal animal that relies on insects for food.

Many of the ancestral primate brain models are based on tree shrews, which are related to humans. However, "it turns out three shrew brains are not a good model," said Silcox, an anthropologist at the University of Winnipeg in Canada.

According to co-author Jonathan Bloch of the University of Florida, Ignacius graybullianus represents a side branch of the primate tree of life. He said "you can think of it as a cousin of the main line lineage that would have given rise ultimately to us."

This animal was part of a group of primates known as Plesiadapiforms, which evolved during the extinction of the dinosaurs and the first traceable ancestors of modern primates.

The U.S. National Academy of Science and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada supported the research."


Can Chimps Count

By Bill and Rich Sones

Question: Chimpanzee named "Sheba" learned to recognize numbers 1-8. But did she know 5 gumdrops are better than 2?

Answer: Gumdrop lover, she would pick the bigger gumdrop array every time, says Dennis Coon in "Introduction to Psychology."

But then researchers tricked her: When she picked the larger array, now they would give these to a fellow chimp, leaving the smaller bunch for Sheba. "Sheba became visibly agitated at this foul turn of events."

Again and again the testers did this, but Sheba never caught on to pick the smaller array. Yet when numbers were used instead of gumdrops, Sheba proved she knew the rule: Now she would select the smaller number to go to the other chimp, leaving more for herself.

The researchers reasoned that chimps living in the wild are genetically programmed to go for more food. Sheba couldn't rise above the allure of seemingly more gumdrops, even though picking the bigger bunch backfired. But freed to think abstractly - in numbers alone - she could do this.

And, says Coon, doesn't Sheba's behavior underscore the tremendous power we humans enjoy as a symbol-using species?


Bonobo, Chimpanzee Mother Comparison

Bonobo & Chimpanzee Mother Comparison by Sloth-in-a-Box (DOaZOO).
Here are two mothers at around the same age. Both are almost 40, both have had kids and are currently living with them.

Differences between Chimpanzee and Bonobo
The Bonobo on the left, Chimpanzee on the right.
The Bonobo Chimpanzee is is slightly more human-like. Their eyebrows do not protrude as much as the common chimpanzee, which you can notice in the photo. Also the Bonobo females will bald as they get older (**i am not sure of this, someone asked about this and i cant confirm it yet), which is very noticable especially in other photos of the bonobo mother.

Bonobo Chimpanzees are a rare form of the Great Ape. They are very human-like; they can walk upright more easily due to a different hip structure. They are also much more slim and slender, with long lanky arms and legs.

The Bonobo females lead the group, which is opposite of the Common Chimpanzee. The Bonobos are lovers, the Chimpanzees are fighters. In Bonobo society, the females leave as teenagers usually to find another group to live in. The Common Chimpanzees on the other hand have the male usually leave the group.

Its so fascinating to me how different the lives of these primates are, yet how similar they are.

The more you look at the differences, the more you will understand humans.

Gorilla with Knife

Barika, a gorilla at the Calgary Zoo, holds a knife accidentally left by a zookeeper, as her troop mate looks on.

Barika, a gorilla at the Calgary Zoo, holds a knife accidentally left by a zookeeper, as her troop mate looks on.
(Heike Scheffler)

The Calgary Zoo is dismissing photos taken by a visitor that appear to show a female Western Lowland gorilla holding a knife menacingly toward a troop mate.

Some visitors were alarmed on Tuesday morning when Barika, the dominant female, picked up a knife that had been accidentally left by a zookeeper during his regular cleaning duties of the outdoor exhibit.

Heike Scheffler took photos as she watched the brief situation unfold with her husband, Joe, as well as several students, teachers and parents.

Barika picked up the knife by the handle to examine it and then carefully sniffed it, recalled Joe Scheffler to CBC News on Wednesday.

The knife aroused the curiosity of Zuri, the second female in the troop.

Calgary Zoo officials said gorillas are curious about new items, releasing a photo of silverback gorilla Kakinga examining a flower on Sunday.
Calgary Zoo officials said gorillas are curious about new items, releasing a photo of
silverback gorilla Kakinga examining a flower on Sunday.
(Calgary Zoo)

"And she tried to say to the other gorilla, 'Please give me this, I want to look at this.' And the other gorilla made something like this," said Joe, miming the animal pounding her chest.

"It seems to me that she was something like a little bit proud of what she has in her hand, and it was a little bit … for power."

Zuri seemed to sense danger, said Scheffler, and moved away from Barika, who then placed the knife on an old chair in the exhibit.

About a minute after the gorilla found the knife, the door opened to the indoor enclosure and the animals went inside. A zookeeper then came out and retrieved the knife.

"Thankfully a knife is very novel, new item that they've not had any experience with before so it's quite normal for them to approach a new item like that with curiosity and caution," said Cathy Gaviller, the Calgary Zoo's director of conservation, education and research.

None of the animals were hurt. Gaviller said it was likely by chance that Barika picked up the knife by the handle.

For whatever impression the Schefflers' photos leave, gorillas don't understand the concept of using tools as weapons, she said.

"They're not an aggressive species at all. In fact, they're quite gentle, passive, shy, animals, and most of the behavior that you see that might be seen [as aggressive] is all show and very little action," she said.

Gaviller said the knife being left in the enclosure was an unfortunate mistake.

"We have protocols in place to keep this thing from happening. But one of our very dedicated, and very experienced keepers made a mistake and he feels terrible," she said.

It's common for zoo visitors to drop cameras, sunglasses and wallets into the exhibit, and the gorillas have gotten accustomed to trading these items for treats from the zookeepers, Gaviller added.

There are a total of four gorillas at the Calgary Zoo: Yewande, who was born in July, her mother Zuri, half-sister Barika, and father Kakinga."

'One of our very dedicated, and very experienced keepers made a mistake and he feels terrible.'—Cathy Gaviller, Calgary Zoo

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Eyes of a Chimpanzee

Video Here

Males Play in Raising Their Young


The “dad bond,” at least among mammals, is probably strongest in primates, said Terry Webb, mammal curator at the N.C. Zoo. And among primates, gorillas probably bear the closest resemblance to their human counterparts.

“A silverback male, his role is to produce offspring, protect the group, protect mom, protect the son or daughter and teach them social skills,” he said. “There’s a very social dynamic in gorilla groups. There’s rules and the male enforces those rules in the family structure.”

Chimpanzees display similar behavior toward their young, enforcing discipline and teaching them how to recognize certain facial expressions and body postures. They don’t usually carry their kids, but they will play with them.

However, when a younger, stronger chimp decides to challenge an older male for dominance of the group, the older animal’s young don’t fare so well.

“If there’s a fight and an animal leaves or becomes subordinate to the new male, the new leader of the group will eliminate offspring that aren’t his so that the females can cycle again and he can perpetuate his genes,” Webb said.


“He has only three legs,” a little boy says pointing to Royce, a ring-tailed lemur at the Natural Science Center’s Animal Discovery Zoological Park.

Royce got into a fight on an island where he used to live, says Peggy Ferebee, curator of Animal Discovery. He was the low man on the totem pole for a while, but even though the father of three is missing a limb he can get quite aggressive when someone threatens his family. Ferebee said he’ll often sit between his family and a group of mongoose lemurs, making sure they don’t get too close.

“He started pushing the mongoose lemurs back,” she said. “And once he started a family, they (the mongoose lemurs) learned to stay back. And you can see him, he’s just sitting there, sort of on point, keeping an eye on those other animals. He’s very serious.”

Lemur fathers will also carry their young, play with them and do some scent marking to let other lemurs know whom the babies belong to.

And speaking of scent marking, the males also use their scents as a form of intimidation.

“They’ll mark their tails, and if they are unhappy with another lemur, swat their scent toward them,” Ferebee said. “They call them stink fights. Males will fight like that before they actually come into physical contact.”


The mother rules in the elephant world.

In the wild, Webb said, most elephants never know their fathers.

The male pachyderms usually hang out on the periphery of the herd and interact with the females only when they’re in heat. They then leave, usually never to have contact with their offspring.

“The male is really a nonentity in their social order,” Webb said. “It’s the females who protect the herd, protect the calves, raise the calves, teach the calves everything they need to know. Dad really has no protection over the herd. And when the males grow up, they’re pushed out.

“Of course in captivity, we do it a little bit differently. We tend to house animals sometimes in a nontypical social structure because we need them here for breeding purposes and for exhibit purposes.”


The king of the jungle plays with his cubs and provides defense, but he doesn’t do much else for his family.

“There is some social interaction and bonding there,” Webb said. “But the kids pretty much stay with mom. The moms do all the hunting, all the gathering, all the rearing.”

Not only that, but the father usually sleeps all day and relies on the females to bring him food, Webb said.

And as with chimpanzees, when a new male defeats another male and takes over a group, he doesn’t take kindly to his predecessor’s offspring.

“The new male doesn’t have any paternal desire for them to be there,” Webb said. “They’re not his genes, so they will get rid of any offspring that’s not his, and that is pretty young.”


Like elephants, male bears will mate and then pretty much disappear, leaving the females to take care of the cubs.

As Webb explains, many types of bears are solitary creatures in the wild. Depending on the exact species, once the cubs reach one to three years of age, they leave their mothers and are on their own. Black bears in particular, are forced away from their mothers a few days before she is to start mating again.

“They’re nonsocial,” Webb said. “They may form loose congregations sometimes at feeding sites when salmon are spawning or where there are a lot of seals. You may see one bear in close proximity to another. But they’re not really living in a group.”


Meerkats can be a jealous bunch, according to Ferebee.

She recounts the tale of Frederick, a 9-month-old animal who came to Animal Discovery when it opened in 2007.

“He made a socially unacceptable behavior,” she said. “We’re not sure what. We think he may have made an overture to another female, or another female made an overture to him, but all of a sudden he brought down the ire of the other adult male (Mzuki), and in very short order he was being excluded from everything and coming in with bite marks on him.”

Frederick was transferred to a zoo in Buffalo, N.Y., and now Mzuki holds sway over what appears to be close to a dozen offspring.

In meerkat “mobs” the dads play a big role in rearing their young, defending them from predators, carrying them around by the scruff of their necks, teaching them where to dig for food and playing with them.

“You’ll see them out here sometimes just rolling around,” Ferebee said. “And they do play a lot. They look like kittens. They chase the adults. The adults will chase them.”

And if your dad tends to fall asleep on the couch with his kids after a round of roughhousing, a comparison to a meerkat family might not be inappropriate — except, of course, for the couch."


“Sometimes,” Ferebee said, “You come out here and see them sleeping in one big pile.”

9 Good Reasons Why humans Should Not Own Chimpanzees


Toddy is a 31-year-old female. She has been comfortably and safely living at the Center for Great Apes for the past seven years but her life has not always been so simple. When she was a baby, Toddy was captured in the wild. As a youngster, she suffered from seizures which a veterinarian discovered was the result of bullet fragments lodged in her brain- most likely from her violent capture as a baby. Toddy was raised as a pet but was passed from human family to human family. After years of changing hands, she wound up at a breeding farm where she had four babies but was not allowed to raise any of them. After living with a group of chimpanzees at the breeder's farm, Toddy was separated due to health problems and kept alone in a small cage for several years. Her only companions were her caregiver at the breeder's farm and a stuffed toy gorilla that she carried with her at all times. She now lives at the Center for Great Apes sanctuary in peace. Despite her cruel past, Toddy captivates everyone she meets with her sweetness.


Jesse is about 17 years old . She was an entertainment chimp , even appearing in movies, until she became too large and strong to work anymore. It was then that she was put into a breeding situation. Within one month of her arrival at the Center for Great Apes sanctuary, Jesse had an infant. Though she's had numerous babies before, this is her first opportunity to raise her own infant.


Billy Joe's life started as a circus chimp. It was during this time that all his teeth were removed. After 15 years of the circus, Billy was "retired" to a life as a research subject. In 14 years at the LEMSIP, Billy was knocked down over 289 times - 65 by dart with 4 or 5 men surrounding his cage pummeling darts into his body to anaesthetize him for a routine blood draw. In the lab he would shake his cage back and forth trying desperately to prevent anyone from approaching. In addition to being infected with HIV, Billy endured some 40 punch liver biopsies, 3 open wedge liver biopsies, 3 bone marrow biopsies and 2 lymph node biopsies with no tangible or practical results. Billy was so stressed at LEMSIP that he once chewed off his thumbs after waking up from anesthesia with no one was around to care for him. During one fit of anxiety, Billy bit off his index finger. Anxious, aggressive, and fearful, Billy often banged incessantly on his cage, rocking and staring into space when left alone. Even at the Fauna Foundation, Billy was plagued by anxiety attacks-attacks so bad that they left him choking, gagging and convulsing. But Gloria and the other caretakers still describe him as their "sweet prince" and say he loved to feel loved. Sadly, Billy died in February 2006 at the young age of 37 years. The cause of Billy's death is suspected as being from a heart attack. The Fauna Foundation misses him dearly.


Tom was born in Africa and spent his first 30 years as a laboratory chimp. When he was about 15 years old, he was sold to the LEMSIP laboratory. In his subsequent 15 years at LEMSIP, Tom was "knocked down" (or anesthetized by dart gun) over 369 times. In 1984, he was inoculated with HIV and spent the rest of his lab years for vaccine research. This required some 56 punch liver biopsies, 1 open liver wedge biopsy, 3 lymph node and 3 bone marrow biopsies. Plagued constantly by intestinal parasites, he often had diarrhea and no appetite. When he had some strength, Tom banged constantly on his cage. Though he lacks the necessary social skills to be a part of a social group, Tom is a very likeable fellow who loves to socialize with both chimps and humans as well as adorn himself with baseball caps and socks. He is not only fashionable, he's also talented. He is a chimp artist whose paintings have been sold at auctions.


Jeannie was most likely born in the lab, quickly taken from her mother and raised by humans who cared about her only as a research subject. As a 13-year-old in 1988, Jeannie arrived at New York University's research laboratories (LEMSIP). During her time at LEMSIP Jean was constantly given vaginal washes and cervical biopsies. She was often treated for self-inflicted wounds in the early years. By the time she was 20, she was inoculated with HIV. Following a study in 1995, Jeannie had a nervous breakdown. For the next 2 years she was heavily medicated but still had aggressive seizures during which she screamed continually, ripping her fingernails off and thrashing out at anyone who came near her. Jeannie is not living with all the other chimpanzees yet because of the emotional difficulties she has been left with but she continues to show improvement.


Sue Ellen is a tiny chimpanzee who was born in 1968 and spent her first 15 years with Billy Jo in a human household. Though she was treated as a human child, she was also expected to work and so was used to entertain humans in the circus. When she became an unruly teenager, Sue Ellen was sold for research to New York University's primate research facility LEMSIP. In her first year as a research chimp, Sue Ellen withstood 29 liver biopsies. In future years she would endure another 11 liver biopsies, 3 rectal biopsies and 4 lymph node biopsies. Sue Ellen would eventually be infected with HIV and was used repeatedly for reproducing chimp babies, all of which were destined for research. Though she was probably a very social and outgoing chimpanzee early on in her life, Sue Ellen is mistrustful of humans and prefers her chimpanzee friends, Pepper, Annie, and Chance. She spends most of her days playing, resting, eating, and socializing at the Fauna Foundation.


You might say that Thoto, a 44 year-old male, has lived the lives of many chimps. Thoto was born in Africa, captured at a young age and sold to the circus. It was probably during his circus years that all of his teeth were extracted. After enduring the emotionally and physically stressful life as a circus chimp, Thoto became a pet for a long time until he was finally sold to a research lab. Thoto, who is one of Ron's closest friends, now lives a cage-free life at his island sanctuary at Save the Chimps.


Not much is known about RON's life before he was used for research. What is known is that Ron spent most of his life at NYU's LEMSIP facility. In 1996, LEMSIP closed its doors, but Ron would not be lucky enough to be spared more time in research and was sent to the Coulston Foundation where, according to his medical records, he lived a grueling existence. The many studies he was used for required that Ron be "knocked-down" (anesthetized with a dart gun) sometimes every day for a month. In 1999. Ron was recruited into an experiment called Spinal Dynamics in which researchers removed one of his spinal disks. To accommodate his pain from the experiment, Ron was given 3 days of ibuprofen. When Dr. Carole Noon and Save the Chimps found Ron at Alamorgordo, he was living alone in building 300. They suspect that he's always lived alone.


42-year-old LOU was captured from the wild in Equatorial Africa as a baby. Lou was two years old in 1966 when the Air Force acquired him for the Space Program. By the 1970s, the Air Force stopped using chimps and began leasing them out for biomedical research. And so, as early as his third birthday, Lou was enduring bone marrow and liver biopsies for pharmaceutical development studies. When he was mature enough, Lou went into a breeding program. Lou has lived in Alamogordo, New Mexico for most of his life but is now safe under Dr. Carole Noon's supervision at Save the Chimps.
Source and Photographs