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!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bornea Orangutans Using Leaves To Change Their Sounds

An orangutan changes its voice with a leaf.

M.E. Hardu

Five wild orangutans in Borneo—nicknamed Sam, Henk, Rambo, Kondor, and Sultan—have learned to create a new kind of distress signal, using leaves to lower the pitch of their common warning call, known as a kiss-squeak. The leaf-produced kiss-squeaks seem intended to make the orangutans sound bigger and more threatening. “Primates were assumed to have no control over their calls,” says Madeleine Hardus, a behavioral biologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who classifies the orangutans’ ability to alter their standard call as “a cultural innovation.”

Hardus and her colleagues discovered that the orangutans had developed leaf-assisted calls to identify humans (and probably predators as well). She hypothesizes that the technique is passed down from one orangutan to the next. Researchers have rigorously documented leaf adaptation in the cluster of five but have also observed the behavior in the wider orangutan


Travis the Chimp: He was one of us, until he wasn't

December 27, 2009
Travis the Chimp: The Wild One
"It's nothing but a tragedy," declared the chief detective, shaking his head and rocking back in his chair. "A Roman tragedy." In 30 years he had seen a lot of cases but never one like this: the media, the public interest, the horror, the nuttiness. He clicked the mouse on his computer and played the 911 call, his eyebrows rising and falling to the terrible notes. On that cold, clear February day, in those eerie moments after the shooting, the detective and his team tracked the perpetrator, following the trail of blood to where his body finally lay, his face in a rictus like "The Death of Marat." The detective still remembered the next morning, opening his eyes in bed, muttering to himself, "That had to be a dream, right?"
It was real, of course - real in the most unscripted, messy and bizarre sense that real life can be; that American life is, with a dollop of celebrity and violence thrown in, news helicopters hovering overhead and the private world of a furry C-list actor on every TV channel, his life suddenly and gruesomely over. By all accounts, the perpetrator lived in louche splendor: filet mignon, lobster tails, Lindt chocolate, ice cream, a glass of wine in the evening. He was bathed by hand in the tub. He did as he pleased. Without a license, he drove the Corvette down the long driveway, out over nearby roads and back. He drew pictures: abstract, colorful scribblings that hung on the refrigerator and seemed to mean something to him when, in the vein of a tortured artist, he took them down for re-examination. When not drawing or playing with his stuffed animals and trapeze bar, he might surf the Web or grab the remote, sink into the couch and flip channels until finding a baseball game. (His team: whoever was on.) He enjoyed cleaning his teeth with a Waterpik.

At first, his celebrity was local. Curious, playful and cuddly, he rode along with his keepers through his hometown of Stamford, Conn., belted in the back seat. He hugged and kissed. He was a natural ham, leading to commercials for Coca-Cola and Old Navy, in which he played the role of Gilligan, starring with a klatch of B-list icons, pedaling a bamboo bike attached to a palm frond to fan Morgan Fairchild, with whom he then sipped tropical drinks. He filmed a television pilot for a talk show with Michael Moore and Sheryl Crow, appeared on the Maury Povich show. He couldn't speak except for pant-hoots and teeth-clacking, whimpering grunts and hooing, but he could, and did, allow photographs with his multitude of fans. And yet, as with many aging child actors, the work dried up. He developed a paunch. Meanwhile, he and his "mother," a human named Sandra Herold, suffered twin blows: his "sister" died in a car crash; his "father" died suddenly of cancer, leaving the two of them alone and bereft.

Source and Finale

Information about Bornean Orangutans

Bornean Orangutan is native to the island borneo, located at the centre of Maritime of Southeast Asia. Their life span is between 35 to 40 years in the wild, but can live up to 60 years in captivity.

Makes are typically larger than females. Males can weigh between 50 to 90 kg (110 to 199 lbs) and be between 1.2 and 1.4 meters (4 to 4.7 ft) long. Females can weigh between 30 to 50 kg (66 to 110 lbs) and be between 1 and 1.2m (3.3 and 4 ft) long.

Baby apes stay with their mothers for about 8-9 years, that is a longer childhood than other apes

. Newborn Bornean Orangutan nurse from their mothers every 3 to 4 hours and start receiving soft foods from their mother’s lips at about the age of 4 months. During the first year, they hang on their mothers body, by gripping on their mother’s fur.

They are a very social animal. Between 2 and 3 territories of Bornean Orangutan can over lap for they can interact with each other for a short period of time.

They typically eat fruit from trees, bark, shoots, and bird eggs. They also have been known to eat insects and use a spare to catch cat fish.

Image via Wikipedia


Lola Ya Bonobo Gets A New Fence Thanks To Jim Holtz

Our physicist friend, Jim Holtz, made a very generous donation this year which enabled us to build a brand new fence for group 3! we desperately needed it, since some of the bonobos were escaping and causing havoc, but as you can see from the pictures - no escape artist is going to make it out now!

I’m including ALL the photos, because even though once upon a time i might have thought fences were boring, when you have 12 little trouble makers, including Boyoma, to keep contained, I think this fence is the most beautiful creation I’ve ever seen!

Thank you Jim, for helping us!





Source and to donate

The CBN at Georgia State, Studies Orangutan Cognition at Zoo Atlanta

The CBN at Georgia State studies orangutan cognition at Zoo Atlanta.

Georgia State University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) recently partnered with Zoo Atlanta to go forth with cognitive research, especially with the zoo’s great apes. The partnership has already proved to be a symbiotic relationship; not only has the CBN gained valuable research, but the Center also assisted in the birth of the giant panda cub, Mei Lan.

Though the beginnings of this collaboration were as early as late 2003, the Center has worked with the zoo to develop the Orangutan Learning Tree, which officially opened in April 2007. Other projects include gorilla cognition and tool-use and the Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda breeding program.

The biggest project, the Orangutan Learning Tree, is an exhibit at Zoo Atlanta where orangutans have access to a large touch-screen computer where they can perform certain cognitive tasks while the visitors outside observe. The visitors also have a computer screen in the viewing area where they can compare their cognitive abilities to those of the apes.

This exhibit, funded by GSU’s CBN, IBM and one anonymous donor, allows CBN and Zoo Atlanta researchers to learn about the cognitive processes of the great orange apes.

The collaboration continues between the two research entities as they focus on conservation efforts and educating the public on the importance of understanding cognitive ape behavior.


Chimp Haven Has Lost A Popular Chimpanzee Named Puddin

Puddin', shown eating fruit in this 2005 photo at the public opening of Chimp Haven.

Puddin', shown eating fruit in this 2005 photo at the public opening of Chimp Haven. (Times file photo)

A popular chimpanzee at Caddo’s Chimp Haven has died. Puddin’, 31, died Saturday, according to a news release from the sanctuary. He had heart disease.

The chimpanzee was one of the most asked about during Chimp Haven visitations, organization leaders said.

“Puddin’ had a personality that captivated us all,” said Chimp Haven President and Director Dr. Linda Brent. “In spite of coming to Chimp Haven as a timid, traumatized chimpanzee, he showed us that a strong spirit can triumph over adversity.”

Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, houses retired chimps that were formerly used for biomedical research, entertainment or as pets. It is about 25 miles southwest of Shreveport, near Keithville.

Source of Article

Photos of Puddin

Chimp Haven Website and to donate

Save The Orangutans In Borneo Please Check Them Out

About BOS

Mum & Baby on Islands

Mum & Baby on Islands

The U.K. branch of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation is recognised by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. (Registration Number: 1099591).

The Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation is the largest primate rescue project in the world, with nearly 1000 orangutans in its care. BOS actively rescues wild orangutans from oil-palm plantations, as well as rehabilitating orphaned orangutans, displaced as a result of the relentless devastation of their habitat to clear land for palm oil production. BOS is committed to protecting the orangutan and its rainforest habitat, and relies entirely on donations to achieve this.

BOS Global works in partnership with BOS Indonesia in support of its efforts to save the orangutan from extinction.

Source and to donate

Owning A Chimpanzee Is A Hazardous Undertaking For Both The Chimpanzee and The Owners

Raising a chimpanzee as a pet is usually a hazardous undertaking.
Raising a chimpanzee as a pet is usually a hazardous undertaking.

In recent decades, exotic pet ownership has greatly increased. Chimpanzees are among the most common exotic animals that people attempt to keep as pets. However, owning a chimpanzee can be unsafe for both the animal and the owner.

    Human Safety

  1. Adult chimpanzees possess about five times more strength than the average human. Since chimpanzees have aggressive tendencies, they have the potential to cause serious harm to their owners.
  2. Chimpanzee Well-Being

  3. Chimpanzees are naturally social animals that live in large groups in the wild. Living with humans and being isolated from others of their species is emotionally unhealthy for these animals.
  4. Health Threats

  5. It is very easy for diseases to be transmitted between humans and chimpanzees. Therefore, owning a chimpanzee can have serious health consequences for both the animal and its owner.
  6. Time Investment

  7. Keeping chimpanzees in captivity involves a significant amount of time and work. Most people who buy chimpanzees as pets are unprepared for the amount of attention they require and the messes they make.
  8. Chimpanzee Fate

  9. When chimpanzee owners realize that they have made a mistake in trying to raise a wild animal as a pet, they usually seek to get rid of the animal. Unfortunately, these chimpanzees are often mutilated, destroyed or sent to medical-research labs.
Photo Credit

Image by, courtesy of Doug Wheller


The Bushmeat Trade

In the 1970s: Bushmeat Trade Manipulates Pygmy Economy and the Fate of the Forest.

In the 21st century the pygmy net-hunt has become a major source of bushmeat leaking out of the Okapi Reserve in Congo’s northeast Ituri Forest. The Mbuti pygmies are ineluctably depleting the Reserve’s animal resources, their only resources, by hunting deeper and deeper into the forest. Outside traders pack their wares deep into forest hunting camps, to come out as quickly as possible with loads of antelope carcasses they will sell at a phenomenal mark-up to the expanding markets both in the village of Epulu and in distant towns.

Is this new? Perhaps new in the Okapi Reserve, but John reported a similar commercialization of the net-hunt between 1973 and 1976 in the southern Ituri Forest. Fresh out of college, John spent two and a half years living with three different bands of Mbuti Pygmies. Later, 1979, he wrote up his observations as a Master’s Thesis.

John’s passport picture, 1970s, from the period he studied Mbuti hunting economy in the southern Ituri Forest.

Why did John do this? :

Like many college undergraduates in the early ‘70s he was charmed by Colin Turnbull’s romantic anthropology “The Forest People” (Simon and Schuster, 1962). The image was appealing: the Mbuti pygmies living in material simplicity whose daily security was guaranteed by intimate familiarity with a generous forest home. What was glaringly absent from Turnbull’s depiction of Mbuti life was any biological or economic analysis.

John was granted a Watson fellowship – 6,000 USD – to learn the economic-ecology of Mbuti culture in the Ituri Forest. He made the grant last two and a half years, covering his food, clothes and all his transportation. His largest purchase was a one-speed bicycle for occasional trips to larger towns. His second largest purchase was a kerosene lantern, so he could write notes late into the tropical darkness.

His methods:

John lived alone in the camps of three different Mbuti bands, each of which hunted different, but contiguous stretches of forest. He maintained continuous residence in the camps for periods of three to five weeks with only brief village breaks in between. His research tools were a tape recorder, a camera and hand-held spring-scales for weighing the fresh catch on net hunts and for weighing any garden food the Mbuti received in trade for bushmeat.

John spoke Kingwana, a version of Swahili used throughout eastern Congo and used by Mbuti as well, although he also learned to understand the more localized languages of Kibira and Kipakombe.

The question John started with:

1. Was it really possible for the forest to support an Mbuti culture living in isolation from agricultural villages ? This was Turnbull’s ideal.

A question John added once in the Ituri :

2. How able was the forest to support the high bushmeat demand coming from towns in the east? Meat-traders was an emerging reality.

holding up baby at kugongea

At the Kugongea or the opening fire at the start of the net-hunt where all the men, women and children gather who will take part in the hunt. Photo from John’s 1970s collection.

John found a traditional interdependence between Mbuti and forest bantu.

In the southeastern Ituri forest John found bantu populations for whom the forest is ancestral home. Among these groups, the Bira and Pakombe have been associated with pygmy populations for many generations, for as far back as their oral histories reach.

There are family level relationships between individual Bantu farmers and individual Mbuti hunters. These bantu, known as bakbala (mkbala = singular), provide their Mbuti “partner” with agricultural starches (cassava, plantains, yams) from their gardens. Mbuti provide their bakbala with wild meat from the forest. The bakbala are also the source of tools and clothing for the Mbuti who, for their part, diversify forest products for the bakbala including mushrooms, fish, and honey. They also provide intermittent day labor for the village gardens.

Mbuti woman with musrhooms

Mbuti woman with mushrooms she has brought to our house (1980s).

John’s description of this pygmy- bakbala traditional relationship:

1/ Reciprocity is not necessarily immediate. John recorded periods where a mkbala provided his Mbuti with starch on many successive days with no meat in return. This was possible as the relationship was long-standing with confidence on both sides that each would support the other. The Mbuti would eventually provide forest products. The relationship was personal, and based not only on the needs of the other but also based on current availability. When there was meat, the mkbala would be recompensed.

2/ Relationship is one on one. A mkbala has a relationship with a particular Mbuti who then shares garden starch acquired with other members of his enlarged family and band. Likewise, a mkbala receives meat from “his” Mbuti which he will, in turn, share with his immediate relatives and neighbors.

John made a couple other noteworthy discoveries about the kbala relationship:

• The net hunt, the spear, and all iron tools had their origin with the Bantu. Before interacting with Bantu, the Mbuti must have hunted with poison tip arrows and smoked animals out of holes. There would not have been the possibility for large meat surpluses. (this was more than five centuries ago)

• Although there are Bantu ethnic groups living in the forest without relationships with Mbuti; there were no Mbuti living as forest hunters without bakbala relationships. The forest does not provide adequate starch. Wild yams and Mbau nuts are the biggest wild sources of starch, but yams are not abundant and have a very limited distribution whereas Mbau nuts are available only briefly with unpredictable seasonality.

• Historically Mbuti have provided other services for bakbala. In the 19th and early 20th century they hunted elephants when the bakbala were being pressured by Arab merchants and later by Belgian colonists for this commodity. Even earlier the Mbuti were the guerilla warriors essential in the wars between different ethnic groups.

John also found a new commercialization of the net-hunt:

From 1973 to 1975 meat traders became an increasingly prominent part of the Mbuti economy in the southeastern Ituri. These traders from distant towns packed full loads of merchandise directly into hunting camps where they replaced them as quickly as possible with full loads of smoked bushmeat they packed back to the markets. The merchandise they brought was most frequently rice or cassava flour, sometimes liquour, sometimes trinkets.

One of the three bands of pygmies traded almost exclusively with meat traders or bachuuzi. They also hunted the most distant forest

mbuti woman adorned

Women wearing traditional Kange “paint”, flowers and twigs along with a trinket available from bachuuzi.

John’s description of the bachuuzi (trader)-pygmy relationship:

1/ The bachuuzi went to the most distant, animal rich camps. They traded exclusively for immediate return and left with their meat as soon as they ran out of trade items. Smoked meat begins to lose market value after a couple weeks so rapid trade was important.

2/Relationships with traders were ephemeral. There was no reciprocity, no willingness to make a loan. The bachuuzi’s goal was immediate profit and return on loans was far too uncertain to be practical.

John made a couple associated observations about the commercialized net hunt:

• Meat trade is exploitative. The value of the meat relative to the value of the starch decreased according to Bachuuzi trading standards. Several spot checks John made in the big markets around the forest showed that meat was running at five to ten times the amount paid by bachuuzi in the forest.

Mbuti exchange rates for bushmeat
The “prices” meat traders would pay for bushmeat was far inferior (1/3) what the bakbala would give for the same amount. The Mbuti “allowed” this exploitation for the convenience of having the agricultural food brought directly to their hunting camp.

• The commercial net hunt is depleting wild game resources. Over the study period there was decreasing hunting success and the Mbuti had to hunt longer hours and extend their hunting area into ever more remote forest, forest that would have previously been a refuge for animals.

For his two original questions , John found the following answers:

1/ The Mbuti do not live independently in the Ituri Forest . Agricultural starch is an important and regular part of their diet. It is indeed unlikely that Mbuti live exclusively as hunter-gatherers anywhere in the Congo as we have since found that the Ituri was among the richer forests.

2/ Sustainable net-hunting cannot fulfill the bushmeat demands of surrounding towns. The Mbuti with commercial traders are continuously moving into more remote unhunted forest.

Indeed the pattern in the southeastern forest of thirty-five years ago is very like the situation today in the Okapi Reserve. What would be interesting would be to know what has happened to the descendents of these three bands of Mbuti today. We will try to get this information and post it sometime during the next six months.

Young Mbuti couple
Photo from John’s 1970s collection.

Source, Great Website, and to donate

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fauna Foundation Talks About Tom From Their Hearts, SO SAD

Monday, December 28, 2009
Tommy’s last day at Fauna

Tommy’s last day at Fauna
May 1,1965- December 15, 2009

I want to thank everyone who has written to us with condolences and those special friends who have done tributes to Tommy in so many different ways. Tom was our oldest and best known resident. He was also the face of Project R & R’s campaign to end research on chimpanzees. He will remain the Ambassador for Project R&R.

Within a day, many of you heard of his passing. Some of you learned of Tommy’s death from Fauna while many others read the first words of his passing in a Project R & R e-Alert. Dr. Capaldo, Project R&R’s President, knew Tommy and gave him the honor of his position in our joint campaign on behalf of all chimpanzees still in labs. She knew his personality, his health issues, his day to day life. She has written some of the most beautiful and powerful words describing him. If you haven’t already, you can read about Tommy’s role in Project R&R by visiting

We have special friends at NEAVS and their commitment to Tom and everyone like him in labs is undeniable. Like us, they feel even more determined to end this unimaginable torture and needless suffering.
I am so grateful Tom was given a voice. His call, evoked in the images of him on Project R&R’s outreach materials, cries out loudly – and as one reader of the New Yorker in which he appeared in a Project R&R ad said, “How could anyone turn away from him?” At Fauna, Tom will always be heard. And now, everyone else will hear his calls as well.

Two very dear and special friends to Tommy were John Mulcahy and Diana Goodrich. They did a beautiful tribute to Tom on their website at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

John and Diana worked at Fauna in the early years and were two of the lucky ones to be chosen by Tom as close friends. When I read their words, I so easily recalled those special days and their special relationship with Tommy.

Then, came a special email from Allison Argo whose award winning documentary Chimpanzees an Unnatural History left us all sobbing with great joy and pain. None of us who were there or saw it on film will ever forget the day that Tommy climbed a wonderful, tall tree. Nor will we ever forget how powerful Allison’s final words were in her amazing documentary that helped millions change the way they look at the life of a research chimpanzee. I go over those words again and again and remember that truly special day with deep gratitude that he had that moment and overwhelming sadness that he is now gone.

It is so difficult to speak about a day that changes your life forever. When someone is in front of you asking what happened, it feels easy to tell. But to write about it and remember the days and weeks before has felt so hard to do. And so, it is only now that I can write about Tom. It was becoming harder the longer I have waited. I know I can’t wait any longer in part because of the cards, phone calls and e-mails sent to us from all of you. I have read some of the most beautiful messages and I can feel how much you share our pain. So now I am ready to write about dear Tom. I am ready to remember every detail and share them so that you can feel as though you had been here with us.

If you are reading this you probably have been a big part of the Fauna family of chimpanzees. We have spoken about Tom many times. He is well known, respected and loved. Not only was he loved by his Fauna family, but by so many people from all over the world. Tom was passionate and compassionate -- there to support his loved ones in times of need. He could get angry and let them know it, but came to learn how to resolve problems, like any true leader. He will always be one of the most important members of Fauna. He was an Alpha -- a wise and great Alpha.

As you may know, Tom made a lot of choices about who he wanted to live with and where he wanted to be. He always knew what he wanted and we tried to give him it as often as possible. In the early years, we often had little success. But over the years, with his healing and growth, Tom was able to do so much more than he could in the beginning. His social skills increased and his life improved dramatically because of that.

Tom’s history of years alone in a lab cage left him with no opportunity to learn anything about how to live in a group. But even with that horrid history, he certainly knew who he loved and his bonds with humans were strong. As everyone who knows him knows his dearest love was Pat Ring, a human.

A few months ago I started to write a story about Tom, it was titled, “Doctor in the House.” It was a story about Tom’s nurturing and care-giving skills. I was hoping to describe to you what a special fellow he was and how he had just helped us get through a very difficult time with Regis. Regis had an infected bite wound on his head after a scrap and he would not let us help him. If it had not been for Tom’s intervention, we would have had a much more serious problem. It was not the first or the last time Tom would help us out in such a situation. His need to help take care of the others was quite important to him and to us.

He learned his nursing skills from Pat. In 1997, months before Tom was to move into Fauna, he had had a very serious foot injury. Once at Fauna, he continued to have recurring problems with his foot. Many of you know how much of a challenge Tom’s problems were for him and for us as we tried to give Tom the life he so desperately wanted. He wanted to run, to play and to live some kind of normal life with others of his choice.

Yet, often Tom had to be isolated while we tried to take care of his foot. It was hard for him to be separated again and again, but he let us do it and was very co-operative because of his love for and trust in Pat. He gave us his full support because he understood that it was for his well being. Not ours.

Tom spent many weeks and months in a smaller area usually with Pablo and Jeannie, or Yoko. What he learned during this time was valuable to him for his future in a group and for his newly self-appointed responsibility as a caregiver to the others. Especially the wounded. At first glace one might think it was Pat taking care of Tom’s injured foot, but if you observed long enough you would see that it was Tom doing all the cleaning. Pat did the drying. Tommy applied the ointment. What started out as Tom assisting Pat, ended with Pat assisting Tom. He learned exactly what to do and he did it to the others when they were injured.

This may seem amusing to some, but in truth this is why Tom was where he was the day he died.

Binky had had a fight on November 18th that left a deep gash on the bottom of his foot. What we did not initially see however, under all the thick black hair, was the rest of his injuries. Bite wounds on the top of his foot and on his calf.

He was given anti-biotics immediately after the fight, as we always do to not take chances. It is not uncommon to see injuries. We sometimes have to wait until the chimps are ready to show us or we watch to see where they are looking, or where others are paying more attention. Binky was interested in letting us see the bottom of his foot but not anything else. As many of you know, Binky is one of the most athletic guys at Fauna He is in amazing condition, strong and muscular, but for some reason he was not doing well, not responding to the treatment.

After the usual 10 day treatment, we saw that Binky’s foot was getting more and more swollen. He began to have more difficulty walking. It was around this time that Tom began to observe Binky more. Binky was not responding to the antibiotics and his foot and leg were becoming terribly infected. He was uncomfortable and had a fever. Tom seemed aware that Binky was in trouble.

By December 3rd, Binky came into a room to be on his own, away from his group. Tommy was in the area right next to him, with Spock, one of the chimps from the Quebec zoo with whom Tom had become close friends. They were both very concerned about Binky. They sat near him, grooming him through the bars.

On Tuesday the 8th, Binky moved himself over to Jeannie’s room, which is the room next to the two new rooms that were made for medical procedures, right in front of the clinic. He came for help. He was getting weaker and could not put weight on his foot at all, leading us to believe he may have also broken some bones.

On Wednesday December 9th, early in the morning, we put Binky under anesthesia, cleaned his wound, drained fluid from his foot, gave him fluids, antibiotics, and ran several blood tests.

Tom and Spock sat together patiently all day in their room waiting and watching all the proceedings. It was time for Tom and Spock to go into the bigger common area and be with Jethro. This was a situation that would usually please Tom. He loved his times with Jethro and with his new friend Spock. Not this day though. When the door was opened for the fellows to leave and join Jetho, Spock left the room and Tommy stayed behind. He sat up high and close to the door that led to the room where Binky was. He wasn’t budging. With Tom, we never tried to convince him to go somewhere he didn’t want to go. He had crossed through this door thousands of times in his 12 years at Fauna. They were the rooms he spent his first months and years in. But that day, he wouldn’t move.

When Kim asked me what to do, because Tommy was just sitting at the door that led to where Binky was, I said. “Let him go where he wants to go.” He wanted to go to Binky and he did. We opened the door and Tommy stayed in the room next to Binky most of the day, waiting and watching.

He could not go in right away with him, because Binky was still very sleepy. So Tommy positioned himself comfortably in the doorway with his head as close as possible to Binky. He was waiting for him to throw the covers off and sit up. Tommy was patient and looked ready to spend the rest of the day right there -- not leaving until he knew everything was okay.
We all talked to Tom, reassuring him that Binky was going to be okay. We served him his dinner in that room –Jeannie’s room. He ate and stayed there until midnight.

Binky slept for a long time. The bandage on his foot and leg seemed to immobilize him. Normally as soon as they see the bandage, they rip it off. It is always your hope that they leave it on for a little while to get the soothing effect of the medication and the cleanliness. Once it is off, you face more challenges.

But Binky seemed in shock. As if his foot and leg did not belong to him, he would not touch them. Just ever so lightly at first, then not at all. He made a call to Tom and the others, and then curled up and went back to sleep. It seemed to comfort Tommy to know Binky was awake and communicating with the rest of his family all through the chimp house. Some of the folks could not see him and could only hear him – as it must often be for family living in the deep forests of Africa.

Tom just lay there watching and waiting for Binky to get up.We were all touched by Tom’s concern and throughout the day told him what a sweet guy he was for being there for Binky.

The next day was different, though. Tom was anxious and really wanted – needed-- to go in the room with Binky. I had fully intended to let him. The hold up was that Rachel was in with Tom and she is simply not as gentle with wounds as Tommy is. Yet, Rachel was anxious too, banging on the door to get in with Binky. Tommy, upset by her behavior, displayed and banged on the wall.

It was amazing to see how controlled he was. It took me back to the days he would watch Jeannie lose control, and just sit quietly by and not engage. He understood, somehow, that Jeannie was not in control of her rage, as he understood that day with Rachel.

I thanked him for not hurting Rachel. I looked at him sitting up on the bed, just looking the other way.

On this second day, Thursday December 10th, we had to be sure to get Binky’s bandage off. It could not be left on that long, Because he was not trying to get it off, we had some concern.

But, I wasn’t too worried because I knew I could just let Tommy go into Binky’s room and he would take it off. The problem was we had to make sure he went in alone, and not with Rachel.

We managed to find a new room for Rachel, away from Tommy. Yet, as soon as she saw me open the door for Tom, she started screaming and hitting herself and had one of her disturbingly severe anxiety attacks. So I stopped. I told Tommy I was sorry, and that I would be back later to let him in to visit with Binky, or to be closer to him in the next room.

I had called Pat the night before to tell him about Binky’s surgery. I told him in the message what had happened, and how we had to do something for the Binkster. I said if you are in the area, you need to stop by and visit because the Bub sure could use a friend right now while he was recovering.

Pat was surprised Binky was in such a condition and said he would stop by for sure. He said he was going to stop by that day to give Tommy “some love” anyway, since each time he had stopped by lately it was to give Tom his B12 injections. He wanted to just visit and play on a day that was not injection time.

This was all pretty perfect. Tommy and the Binkster would both be taken care of by Pat. All was well.

Except that in the midst of all of that, I had a call from the office telling me that Mr. Puppy was having a crisis. I could hear him yelping in the background. It was awful to hear him like that. Mr. Puppy is 16 years old, and he is close to the end of his time here on earth, a sad reality we face daily. My staff was heading out to take him to Richard’s clinic.

I had a call from Richard, after Mr. Puppy was dropped off. He said you must come to see him. He is really bad. So I left the chimphouse, with Tom waiting to go in with Binky and went to the clinic to see Mr. Puppy. During that time, Pat was on his way to see Tommy and Binky. I called to say I would be late. Pat said no problem, he was just going to be hanging out with Tommy.

I had asked him if he could stay late and help me get Binky’s bandage off, after everyone left. He said he would. I had to make a stop after the clinic to go to Costco to pick up vitamins, Glucosimine, and a few other things for the chimps. I had just looked at my list and was lifting the cover to my phone to call the chimphouse to ask a question.

When I put the phone to my ear, I could hear all this commotion. It was Kim from the chimphouse telling someone to get off the line. I could hear someone frantic in the background saying they needed a pump. Then there was the sound of Pat yelling and Kim. I tried to ask “Kim, what is going on?” but she was in two conversations. Strangely it was like all of us were on the same line at the same time, but we did not know it. Then Kim said, “Gloria ?”, I said “Yes, what is going on?” She was crying and saying, “It’s Tommy.”

I screamed, “What, what is wrong with Tommy?” She said, “Tommy, he’s choking. He can’t breath. Pat is in with him, and he is choking.”

I knew right away he would die.

I dropped everything and went back to the chimphouse as quickly as possible. While I drove, we all stayed on the phone -- Kim, Cindy, Richard, Isabelle (our vet tech) and Mario. All talking to each other, trying to get through the moment. Richard was giving Isabelle instructions. I was just listening and feeling like I was losing control. I hung up, told Richard to hurry up and get there. Then I called Dr. Capaldo –Theo – and sobbed nearly inaudibly, “He’s dying. Tommy is dying.” Then I tried to call my family.

Trying to get back to Fauna felt like an eternity. It was the longest 8 minutes of my life.

When I arrived, Pat was standing outside the building. I knew it was over. He would never have left Tommy if he was still alive. We just hugged and cried. The only thing I could say was that I was so grateful Pat was there. I could never have wished for a better way for Tommy to go than in Pat’s most loving arms.

I ran into the building to find everyone so distraught. I don’t even remember who was there. I just know that seeing Tommy laying on the floor was unbearable.

Pat came in with me, while I lay with Tommy. Then we all went in with him. My sisters came, first Linda, then Dawna. My brother in laws, Chris and then Tony. It was all so very very sad and so shockingly unexpected.

Kim was in the chimphouse when it all happened. She said Tommy was very happy to see Pat. They played. They groomed. They sat quietly together.

She told me Tom was sitting eating lettuce when suddenly he went limp, and seemed to be choking. His head dropped. Pat said “Open the door.” Kim did. Pat went in immediately and began to give Tom CPR. Isabelle was able to pass a tube down his throat and they gave him air. Pat was pumping his heart. Isabelle gave him another injection that kept him going for a few minutes longer. They kept Tommy breathing for minutes, but to no avail.

Tom left us that day and left an emptiness that is not possible to describe.
Pat told me he was looking right into Tommy’s eyes when he took his last breath and that is truly a great comfort. We should all be so blessed as to be in the arms of a great love when our time comes.

They had managed to keep him alive for a short while. But once we saw inside of Tommy we knew that he could never have survived, even if we had the finest trauma team in the world. He was ready to go and he had his best friend in the world holding him when he left.

To have the one who loves you most of all, there with you in the final moments must be the final comfort. The one who would do anything for you and loves and respects you and who’s heart will be broken forever because of losing you.

Pat is deeply deeply grieving. He knows that Tommy had a lot of health problems, but right now, he is missing his beloved Tommy.
As hard as the loss of Tom is for Pat and me and all of his human friends, the loss for the rest of Tommy’s chimp family is even more profound. They are still living it and feeling it. The emptiness and the quiet. Tom was a very big presence. Father figure, leader, teacher, disciplinarian, friend.

There is a silence in the chimphouse that is unimaginable. I cannot even imagine how difficult this is for all of them. They are hurting, scared and very angry.

Like poor Binky who once again witnessed the death of someone very close and very dear to him. Just 3 years ago, Binky was across from Jeannie when she died, in the same room Tommy died in. It was Binky’s calls I heard the night I walked back to the chimphouse when Jennie was so ill and I knew something had happened. I knew that Jeannie had died. I had kept a vigil with her, yet when she finally passed, it was Binky who was there with her.

Our dear little (he is one of our youngest) Binky, not only is he going through a painful and fearful physical trauma, but he is in the middle of a another great loss. Tommy died right beside him, in the room waiting to go in with Binky.

With Binky’s procedure following Tommy’s death, I was reminded of just how terribly stressful all this is for all the rest. Tommy’s dying, Binky lying on the stretcher after his surgery. I understand what they must be going through and how hard this is for them after years of witnessing this kind of thing – dying chimps, injured chimps, sick chimps… one can only imagine how terrifying this time must be for them.

Since December 9th, Binky has been under anesthesia 3 times. We are having to be aggressive about his treatment to save not only his foot and leg, but to save his life. He had the x-ray he needed. Nothing is broken. He is having a hard time fighting the infection. And he is looking so depressed, isolated from his friends and family, which makes everything much worse.

The chimps call each night to Binky. He answers in a long and very different voice. They are needing reassurance. Yet, it was Tommy who we heard each morning for the past 12 years, and it was Tommy who made the last call of the night. The reassurance they had all come to rely on is gone now. And it will take time and change to appoint someone to that central role in their family.

With Tommy gone, everything will change. And, we will all have to find the energy that was Tom, the strength that was Tom, and feel the peace inside that is Tom.

Some say his soul is soaring free now. In my heart I know Tommy will soar over us eternally. Wrapping his enormous arms around us all, like the wings of an angel. He will give us the strength to fight even harder for his brothers, sisters, and cousins. And, for our own souls.

I was in the chimphouse on Sunday. Normally Sundays, a time when I am alone with the chimps, are wonderful days. They are relaxed and happy. But this Sunday they were dead quiet and not at all interested in anything.

In the quiet, I found a card on the counter. Inside I read a note from Sari, a friend and long time volunteer, who for years has dedicated her Sunday mornings to the chimps. Many times I have walked in on her, and caught her and Tom having private games of chase. They kept their relationship a secret from most of us. I was sobbing while I read her words:

“I will miss Tom. There is no way around that. The life Tom lived at Fauna was a miracle and meant to be. It is amazing to have seen him accept us, and be welcoming of us. …I am … one of the priviledged to have come to know him, run with him, and blow in his ears. I am so sorry for this loss. I know Tom would be wiping the tears from my eyes.”

And someone else wrote that “ Somewhere in the sky tonight, a star is shining brighter because of him.”

When we think like that, then each time we look up we will see him, and know that all the other bright stars are those we have loved and we will be comforted.

Someone wrote “Tom is in Summerland, where all that is required is that he be himself. The air will always be sweet for him, the ground will be soft and covered with grass, and the sun will be kind. “

And, when someone wrote “our hearts weep and our souls grieve with you for the passing of this magnificent being called Tom,” I was touched deeply.

In closing, I know some of you have read the words sent to us from Allison Argo. For those of you who haven’t or for one last time for those of you who have, she wrote:

"Tom had the gift to inspire greatness… he drew out the best in all who knew him with his gentleness, dignity and tolerance…. It was a tremendous privilege to know him. I remember so clearly writing the script for the end of my film. I only had a few days left to finish when I hit a block and started to panic about the final words. I decided to take a walk, and as I walked I focused on Tom high in the tree. I tried to imagine what it must have felt like to finally be able to look out towards the horizon – to see the landscape stretch out before him, so far from where his life had begun decades earlier. The life of this extraordinary being had been stolen- and at last, he could see beyond the bars. It was only a glimpse, but it must have been profound….Within a few hundred feet, the words had written themselves. I ran home in tears and pounded them into the computer. In hindsight, I think it was probably Tom who wrote them:"

"We know so little about this old chimpanzee-given the name “Tom” by someone, someplace. All we know is that he spent 30 years in a steel cage. Tom has reached the end of his journey at last.
…We can’t undo the past-but we can reconsider the future and the cost to the chimpanzee. Thousand like Tom have sacrificed everything so that we might live a little longer or laugh a little louder…Far from the forests of equatorial Africa, this old chimp can finally survey the strange landscape that has become his home. At last his trials have come to an end- but his story will live on: a reminder of the thousands like him, who are still waiting for a second chance."
"Thank you Tom, for all you taught us. May your story continue to inspire goodness and change. " - Allison Argo -

These words will be read, spoken, for a very long time, because they say it all. They touch us and remind us and force us to be better human beings. Tom can rest now, but we can’t. We must work hard to make up for all the wrongs that have been done to them and all animals. If we do this, if we try to end the abuse and make things better, we too will one day rest.

Meanwhile, every night I light a candle for those I have loved and lost. Tonight, light a candle for them and for all those who are with us and still need us.

With much love,

Many of you know how many health problems Tom had over the years. He was plagued with chronic diarrhea from the day he moved in. He had been repeatedly infected with many strains of the HIV virus. He suffered from a gagging condition every morning. He had a mass in his abdomen that was never determined. He could only eat certain things and he continually tried to self medicate in his food choices from what we offered. After he died, we performed an autopsy. With what we saw inside, he must have felt terrible and it is a mircale he was with us as long as he was.

Once we have completed results, we will share our findings. But know this, it was unimaginable that someone could have gone through all that.
He was at the mercy of the research community for 30 years, so there is not much more to say than that.

Except that he was tired. He had been tired for months, perhaps years. Tom can rest now. And like everything in his life in sanctuary, Tom got to make a choice. And, I guess he just decided it was time to go.

We will miss you, Thomas.

Posted by Fauna team at 2:05 PM

Source and Photographs Of Tom
To Donate To This Wonderful Sanctuary

Chimpanzee's Grieve Like We Do

Just imagine how Chimpanzee Mums feel when their babes are taken away from them as soon as they are born, which is what Chimpanzee Breeders do. To read more about Chimpanzees Breeders, follow the categories on the right side of this Library.

If you thought people were the only beings capable of grieving for their loved ones, take a look at the Daily Mail photo of chimpanzees mourning Dorothy, who died last year at the In Defense of Animals chimpanzee rehab center in Cameroon. The photo says it all. Notice how some of the chimpanzees are holding on to each
other, providing emotional and physical support. Such concern, such grief, such a sense of loss worn on every face in the group.

Chimpanzees aren’t the only animals who mourn their dead. As the Daily Mail article reminds us, elephants stage prolonged vigils over dead loved ones and revisit the burial site to handle the remaining bones with their trunks long afterwards. Magpies have been observed keeping vigil and delivering blades of grass over dead companions. It is clear that these members of the crow family, as well as other birds, perform social rituals and miss their loved ones when they depart. I have seen house finches show similar concern over the loss of their mates.

We are not alone on this earth in missing those who are no longer with us. Chimpanzees show their grief in much the same way we do. Many of us have also seen dogs and cats mourn the disappearance of companions in their home. Not with such ritual, perhaps, but with visible signs of longing and depression as they wait for that special someone to return.

This should be enough proof for all of us that all animals are sentient beings and often have feelings like ours. When we realize this, how then do we continue to participate in activities or rhetoric that ignore the feelings of animals? This is a question I ask myself and others. I ask myself so that I can be reminded of why I am doing what I am, and I ask others to try to help elicit a realization that should be obvious. Animals have rights.

Should Animals Be Kept In Zoos?

Should Animals be Kept in Zoos?

Should Animals be Kept in Zoos?

For many people, the zoo is a source of childhood amazement and fond memories: swinging monkeys, laughing hyenas and growling tigers. Conservationists say zoos advance their educational and preservationist efforts, but others see zoos as prisons where innocent creatures are unjustly held captive. The next time your child asks you to take them to the zoo, what will your answer be?

Next question in Animal Rights


Vanessa Woods New Book, Bonobo Handshake

Vanessa Woods is not only one of my dearest friends, she’s also an extremely gifted writer. Currently at Duke University, she studies the cognitive development of chimpanzees and bonobos at sanctuaries in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Next June, Vanessa’s latest book, Bonobo Handshake, will be published–and I can’t wait…

Bonobo Handshake

In 2005, Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo’s capital, Vanessa and her fiancĂ© entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7% of our DNA. Vanessa soon discovered that bonobos live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.

A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa’s self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings. Courageous and extraordinary, Almost French meets The Poisonwood Bible in this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa.

Source and Video

The Timing Of Molar Emergence In Apes

ScienceDaily (Dec. 29, 2009) — The timing of molar emergence and its relation to growth and reproduction in apes is being reported by two scientists at Arizona State University's Institute of Human Origins in the Dec. 28 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Orangutan. (Credit: iStockphoto/David Evison)

From the smallest South American monkeys to the largest African apes, the timing of molar development and eruption is closely attuned to many fundamental aspects of a primate's biology, according to Gary Schwartz, a researcher at the Institute of Human Origins and an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"Knowing the age when the first molar appears in the mouths of most primates allows researchers to predict a host of life history attributes, such as gestation length, age at sexual maturity, birth spacing, and overall lifespan. Humans are unique among primates because our life histories are so slow and thus our molars emerge relatively late. Given that apes are our closest living relatives, understanding the broader context of when the characteristic slower development of humans evolved is of great interest," Schwartz explains.

"We've known quite a bit about the timing of molar development in chimpanzees, which is important because they are our closest living relative. However, we've known virtually nothing about when this important event occurs in other wild-living ape species -- until now," says lead author Jay Kelley, a research affiliate at ASU's Institute of Human Origins and an associate professor in the Department of Oral Biology at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Because of the difficulties in obtaining tooth emergence ages from animals in the wild, Kelley opted for other means; he searched for specimens in museums. At the Zoologische Staatssammlung in Munich he found skulls of a wild-shot orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus) and gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) that preserved emerging first molars.

"Like annual growth rings inside trees, the cells that produce teeth (both the enamel and underlying dentine) leave behind a trace of their presence, not as annual markers, but as growth lines that appear every day," says Kelley. By slicing the teeth in half, he and Schwartz were able to examine these incremental growth lines in ape individuals that died as their first molars were just erupting into their mouths.

"Because teeth preserve this phenomenal internal chronometer, we were able to count up how many days it took the first molars to form. In apes and monkeys, first molars start forming very close to the time of birth. As the first molars were still erupting in our specimens, development was incomplete and the final growth line was laid down on the day those animals died. Therefore, by counting backwards from the final growth line to the day of birth, we determined their age at death and thus the age at which that molar was erupting" says Schwartz.

Using this novel approach, the two scientists were able to mark the age of the gorilla's first molar emergence at 3.8 years, nearly identical to that of a wild chimpanzee's. The orangutan's age at first molar emergence was surprisingly much later, at 4.6 years, which falls closer to the age of approximately 6 years in modern humans.

"We were excited to discover this much older age for the orangutan, since orangutans have much slower life histories than the other two great apes," says Kelly.

However, he and Schwartz caution that though the later emergence age in these large Asian apes is closer to that for modern humans, these latest findings should not be taken to indicate some special evolutionary relationship between the two. "Rather, it is in keeping with what you would expect given the relatively slow pace of growth and long period of infant dependency that evolved separately in the lineage leading to orangutans and that leading to modern humans," says Schwartz.

The work by Kelley and Schwartz also has implications for understanding the evolution of human life history. "We can use the same techniques to calculate ages at first molar emergence from the fossils of early hominids that just happened to die while their first molars were erupting," says Kelley. "The close correspondence between age at first molar emergence and the timing of life history events that we found in great apes and modern humans means that we can have confidence that first molar emergence ages in the early hominids will provide equally accurate knowledge about their life histories."

Their findings are detailed in the article "Dental development and life history in living African and Asian apes."


Connie Casey Braun, Breeder of Travis, Timmy, Mikey And Louie The Chimpanzees and Many Others

Though this is an old article, I felt as though it was important to include in this Simian Library

Chimp attack revives area man's nightmare

By CHRISTINE BYERS/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009

Jason Coats had to turn off his television during the broadcast of the 911 tape from the scene of a chimpanzee attack in Connecticut last week that nearly left a woman dead.

"It was the chimp's screams; I couldn't listen to the screams," he said.

The sounds propelled him back to 2001, when he came face to face with a trio of chimps that escaped from a private farm near Festus. He shot and killed one of them, a 28-year-old chimp named Suzy.

Public outrage over his actions followed, as did a trial and felony conviction for property damage and misdemeanor animal cruelty.

But news of the attack in Connecticut also has left him feeling vindicated — especially because the chimp that mauled its owner's best friend at her home in Stamford, Conn., was the offspring of the chimp he shot eight years ago. The news also has ignited a national debate over chimp ownership.

"It's sad that it takes people being practically killed for people to realize how dangerous these animals are," Coats said. "They are vicious, smart and strong and should never be allowed in residential areas, period."

Last week's attack coupled with its ties to the fatal Festus chimp incident also has reaffirmed at least one former chimp owner's decision to give up the pets she purchased from the Festus farm. She began a crusade to warn others who think the primates are harmless.

The owners of the chimp farm, Connie Braun Casey and her ex-husband, Mike Casey, did not return repeated phone calls for comment.


According to court records filed in the shooting case in 2001, Connie Braun Casey got started in the chimp business sometime in the late 1960s when she opened a pet shop called Braun's Barn along Highway CC near Festus.

She said she paid $12,000 for her first chimp, Coco, in 1975 and $16,000 for a female, Bridget.

The pair began to breed, and Casey estimated that she had sold about 15 to 20 chimps since 1981. At the time, she said each baby chimp sold for $40,000 to $50,000. She also estimated that she had 23 chimps at her facility in 2001 — many of which performed at nursing homes, birthday parties and other area events.

A sign in her front yard reads, "Chimparty, Entertainment for all ages." She also runs a nonprofit called Missouri Chimpanzee Sanctuary for chimps retired from show business or discarded by zoos, to keep them out of research facilities.

Her then-husband, Mike Casey, said in 2001 that the couple made $13,500 from a greeting card photo shoot. He justified the prices by saying it was expensive to care for the chimps, who can live to be 50 to 60 years old.

Casey also said a chimp named Bo bit off the tip of his nose at the farm in 1992. He had surgery to reattach the tip, but "it didn't take."

He blamed himself for the attack, saying walking into the primate's cage with ice cream was like walking into someone's "living room" uninvited. Bo died in 1996.

Between 1984 and 2001, Casey said, Suzy had six babies. Sandra Herold of Stamford, Conn., bought Suzy's son, Travis, shortly after he was born. The chimp was 15 years old when he attacked Herold's best friend last week. Police shot and killed the primate.


Judie Harrison of Pennsylvania contacted Mike Casey the night of the attack in Connecticut. He confirmed the chimp had met the same fate as his mother.

Harrison bought two chimps as infants from Chimparty and paid $45,000 cash for each one. She said her and her husband made the "heartbreaking decision" last October to give the primates to the Little Rock Zoo. The Harrisons spent $20,000 trying to build a habitat for Mikie, 7, and Louie, 5, but couldn't finish it. They went into foreclosure. They haven't spoken to their three children in years.

The children "felt as though they were second to chimps," Harrison said. "Our life is in shambles. We were afraid they would get out and hurt someone and get killed. We cry every day. But I had to put my feelings and wants aside. I woke up before it was too late."

April Truitt of Kentucky also is no longer a primates-as-pets supporter. Her now-husband bought a macaque in 1987, but they soon realized primates needed to live without owners' profiting from their performances or breeding, she said. She now is a primate expert who runs the nonprofit Primate Rescue Center Inc.

She said Missouri was one of the most unregulated states about the business of selling chimps, and put the total number of privately owned chimps at about 235 nationwide. About 30 reside in Missouri, she said.

"It's a common delusion to think that if you raise them they'll be nice to you," she said. "I look forward to day when facilities like mine won't be necessary. But as long as animals can move over state lines, or be bought or sold, there will still be need for facility like mine."

Missouri's Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Howard Pue, said state health officials got involved only when a person was bitten or attacked by an animal, because the bite could spread disease.

"Exotic animals represent an ongoing problem in Missouri because they fall through the regulatory cracks," Pue said. "Many cities have local ordinances banning or restricting ownership of exotic animals. But the state has extremely limited authority to regulate the sale or purchase of these animals."


Coats said people who recognized him still called him the "monkey killer." In the trial, Connie Casey said Coats shot Suzy three times after she had been tranquilized. He said he shot her because she was attacking his dog and turned on him.

The jury convicted him. He spent 30 days in jail, and missed the birth of his first son, his first Father's Day, his wife's high school graduation and their first anniversary. Circuit Judge Gary Kramer ordered Coats to write letters of apology to everyone who wrote to the court. Coats estimates he wrote about 300.

"I have a hard time taking my kids to the ape house at the zoo," he said. "I have phobia of chimps. I don't see how a person couldn't, after what happened."

He fears his sons, Kenny, 6, and Jason, 5, will face the same jeers when they get older. His wife, Angel, said Coats had cried over the stress his conviction had brought on him.

He can't vote. He can't own a firearm. He can't take his sons hunting. And his carpentry business doesn't land certain jobs when criminal background checks reveal his past.

He said the attack in Connecticut was just one of several that should make people realize how dangerous the chimps were. He points to Mike Casey's attack and another that left former chimp owner St. James Davis mutilated and disabled.

"I would rather have a felony than end up like St. James Davis or Mike Casey," he said. "Mine is obviously not the best scenario, but it's far from the worst. I guess I'll take it."

He said he still had a hard time taking his boys to visit family members who live in the house where he shot Suzy. The chimps sometimes swing inside their outdoor enclosure just two doors away.

And he can hear their screams.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Animals Used For Sacrifices Found In PA Home

Officers: Evidence Of Rituals Among Carcasses

PHILADELPHIA - SPCA officers made a gruesome discovery in Philadelphia's Hunting Park section on Sunday, including evidence of what it says were frightening rituals involving animal sacrifices.

Hundreds of animal bones were found at the home, and now police are getting involved.

Fox 29's Sean Tobin reported that SPCA officers were answering a routine call about two emaciated dogs when they arrived at the home on the 4800 block of North Front Street, not far from Roosevelt Boulevard.

The officers said the two dogs – a pit bull mix and a chow mix – were found alive. But they also found what was described as something out of a horror movie, including a graveyard of ram, sheep and monkey skulls, a turtle shell as well as chicken feathers covering the place.

Authorities believe as many as 100 animals may have been sacrificed at the home. Among the remains were satanic books, candles and buckets of blood.

Neighbors said they often heard drum music coming from the house. They thought it was salsa music but now they fear it was part of the rituals that may have involved those alleged animal sacrifices.

SPCA officials said they believe the dogs found locked inside were not meant to be part of the sacrifice rituals. Authorities said they seemed to be pets of the home's owner, who is in Mexico, where he is restricted from traveling to the United States due to an illness.

Source and News Video

Animals Found In PA Home Used For Suspected Animal Sacrifice

by KYW's Kim Glovas

Officers from the Pennsylvania SPCA made a gruesome discovery on Sunday afternoon when they went to rescue two starving dogs from a home in the Feltonville section of Philadelphia.

Officer Wayne Smith of the PSPCA says the agency first tried to contact the owner of the dogs on Christmas Eve, but got no response. Officers obtained a warrant to remove the dogs, but what they found was much more:

"Throughout the house, there was skulls of rams, sheep, what appeared to be a monkey, turtle shells, numerous things. Chicken feathers covered the place, candles, sacrificing a lot of animals there."

Two live but very emaciated dogs were removed and taken back to the PSPCA to be treated by veterinarians.

Smith says he learned that the owner went to Mexico and contracted the swine flu and is not being allowed back into the country yet. He says when he does, the owner will face at the least animal cruelty charges.

Officers also found a number of code violations which could condemn the property.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is It Ever Right For Any Animal To Suffer?

By Andrew Linzey and Adrian Morrison
Sunday, December 27, 2009

Andrew Linzey:

Whenever the matter of animal suffering comes up, a colleague of mine invariably responds, "This is an emotional subject."

In one sense, of course, he's right. The way we treat animals arouses strong emotions. People feel passionately, for instance, about how we make animals suffer for food, science and sport. But that wasn't what my colleague meant. He was suggesting that the entire subject was a matter of emotion rather than reason -- that there can be no rational grounds for concerning ourselves with the current treatment of animals. I think the boot is on the other foot. Despite 30 years' thinking and writing about animal ethics, only recently have I grasped that the rational case for protecting animals is stronger than even I had supposed.

Consider the oft-cited differences between humans and animals, the very differences that many claim make human suffering more important than that of animals. By nature or divine providence, animals are naturally subject to humans. They are nonrational. They have no language. Animals are not moral agents, and they have no immortal soul.

Assume, for the sake of argument, that all these differences are true. Given that we know that mammals (at least) are all capable of suffering, the question is: Do any of these differences make animal suffering less deserving of our moral solicitude?

It is difficult to see how. That God or nature has made animals subject to our power cannot justify unjust treatment unless one believes that God is unjust, or that power is its own justification. The absence of a language or moral agency cannot justify indifference to animal suffering unless we take the same view of infants. Similarly, would not the absence of an immortal soul mean that we should express more care, not less, to those whose misfortunes will not be recompensed by heavenly bliss?

The only morally relevant difference might be rationality, insofar as it enables one to anticipate further suffering. Perhaps some animals are spared an anticipation of particular harms, or of death itself. But even then, it is not clear that the suffering of nonrational beings is less morally significant.

Consider the suffering of a nonhuman primate -- a chimpanzee or a gorilla -- in captivity. Unlike humans, who can understand the reasons for their captivity, this creature cannot rationalize his predicament. Rather, he experiences the terror of imprisonment without any softening of the experience that comes from intellectual comprehension. And, since an animal's very life depends upon the acuity of its senses, the denial of liberty to a free-ranging creature constitutes a severe deprivation.

Seen in a different light, then, these differences make concern for animal suffering rationally compelling: Animals can't represent or vocalize their case, cannot give or withhold consent, cannot comprehend, are morally innocent or blameless and, not least of all, are largely vulnerable and defenseless.

What compels our strong response to the suffering of children, specifically infants? The reasons are surely that they are innocent, unable to represent themselves and utterly in our power. This rational case for children should logically include animals as well.

In short, human suffering should not stand as a unique source of moral concern.

Response by Adrian Morrison

Animal suffering certainly matters to us, and of course it is worthy of "rational" discussion. That is why we respond to it with laws against cruelty and devise standards for their care when animals are used for biomedical research and modern agriculture. That we do so is one of the defining features separating us from animals, one more important than our possession of language. No other being can be held accountable for its actions in a court of law. No animal, even the very intelligent chimpanzee, will concern itself for my welfare should I become a helpless old man; yet we are enjoined to provide for those animals in our charge.

I originally trained as a veterinarian with the goal of becoming a general practitioner and curing animals of various ailments. While in veterinary school, though, I developed a great interest in the nervous system, a shift in my studies that would require me to harm and even kill animals -- under strict guidelines -- in the interests of medical and veterinary science.

I believe that there is a distinct division between animals and us, created by our evolutionary and (at least in the West) religious heritage. This heritage requires us to give first allegiance to our fellow humans if we are to maintain ourselves as a society, but it also allows us to recognize duties to our fellow beings: the animals that surround us who cannot reciprocate. From this unique capacity arises human dignity. Thinking that denies this quality -- evident in the writings of at least two philosophers of the animal rights movement, James Rachels and Peter Singer -- poses a real danger to humanity.

Discussing our obligations toward innocent, suffering infants in the same breath as those we have toward animals in our control, as Andrew Linzey does, raises an interesting question: How would we calculate the costs of treating our ill child compared to the costs we would undertake for our sick dog? To consider them equally would be morally reprehensible because of the special ties we have developed in our moral community of human beings, a community that creates laws and standards only we can understand and that only we can be punished for disobeying.

Humans are not intruders in the world; we have as much right to make our way in it as any other species. At one level we are animals living amongst animals. We are prolific, omnivorous and predatory. But we can also be responsible predators. We can subordinate our behavior toward other animals (as well as toward ourselves) to moral and legal rules. But it is individuals who must ultimately obey those rules. Only the researcher alone in his laboratory knows whether he is treating his animals in the manner ordained by the institution's animal care committee.

Yet, a pluralistic human society has members who value various things differently. One enjoys the thrill of a rodeo; another may not. One might hunt for meat; another, not. In "The Blank Slate," Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker quotes Harold Laski, a leading British intellectual of the last century, as saying, "Civilization means, above all, an unwillingness to inflict unnecessary pain." The operative word is "unnecessary." We humans will have to differ respectfully on what is necessary in the richness and necessities of human lives, remembering the advancements in human and veterinary medicine that can eliminate or minimize pain and also recognizing the implication from Laski's statement that nature -- think of a wolf disemboweling a moose alive or a cat playing a mouse to death -- abides by its own rules.

Response by Andrew Linzey

Nothing strengthens my resolve to work for animals more than the inadequate arguments of those defending the status quo. Adrian has entirely missed the thrust of my argument. The issue is not whether animals and humans are different, but whether the differences between humans and animals are morally relevant ones that justify differential treatment.

There is ample scientific evidence that mammals (at least) suffer not just pain, but also shock, fear, terror, anticipation, anxiety and trauma. Since animals suffer in these ways once considered uniquely human, it is peculiarly difficult -- philosophically -- to justify the deliberate infliction of suffering. It cannot be right to treat sentient animals as tools, machines, resources, here for us.

Adrian argues that "no other being can be held accountable for its actions." But it is because humans are moral agents, capable of knowing right from wrong, that we should acknowledge our duties to other sentient beings, duties that they cannot acknowledge to us. That is how adults regard infants, even though infants cannot reciprocate.

Like infants and young children, animals are blameless, unable to understand, unable to consent or represent themselves, and are wholly or largely vulnerable. These are the rational grounds for considering the suffering of young children and animals as especially objectionable. Adrian's appeal to existing law simply defends the status quo, which results in institutionalized suffering of animals in farming, trade and laboratories, as well as for entertainment.

It isn't good enough to invoke the notion of necessary pain. We don't speak of such a notion when contemplating the pains of rape, child abuse or torture. Like these other evils, the infliction of suffering on animals is intrinsically objectionable. Adrian's "necessity" permits any kind of cruelty -- from hunting to rodeos. Is this really the best behavior that the morally superior species can manage?

Adrian refers to our "religious heritage," so I should explain that on a theological understanding of creation, we are not God; the world does not exist for our wants and pleasure. The best interpretation of "dominion" in Genesis is not that we are the "master species" but the "servant species." We are to use our power to care for the Earth, especially its weaker inhabitants.

Response by Adrian Morrison

Andrew continues to equate animals and children. But morality and practicality depend on making choices between them, which he does not seem willing to do. Would he deny a child a lifesaving vaccination because it was developed using animal experimentation?

My colleagues in biomedical research laboratories have made choices, thereby doing much to alleviate the miseries of disease for their fellow humans and also for animals. For example, dogs no longer die miserably from distemper: They receive vaccines developed through animal research. Fifty years ago, a surgeon friend of mine was not content with the "status quo" of watching babies die of starvation because they were born with incomplete intestines. Using beagles, Stan Dudrick devised a way to keep these babies alive via complete nutrition administered intravenously. He saved countless human lives. More than 60 years ago, scientists used monkeys and other species to develop a vaccine that has eliminated polio. Had they been satisfied with the status quo, they could have instead constructed better iron lungs. If concerned enough, Andrew could make a moral choice by joining me as a test subject in medical experiments -- some mildly painful and potentially dangerous, such as spinal taps -- aimed at ameliorating the scourge of Alzheimer's. (I volunteer for such studies to honor the animals that I've used for experimentation for so many years.)

Our lives are intertwined with those of animals, but even animals in the wild rarely go gently into the night. In Pennsylvania, 60,000 deer are yearly slaughtered on the highways. Would a well-placed shot by a hunter who then eats the meat not be a better death, one accompanied by less suffering?

The "hands-off-animals" world conceived by some philosophers is impractical. What would it mean for humanity, domestic animals, those in the wild, and their environments, were that view to prevail?

The Authors Andrew Linzey, director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and a member of the faculty of theology at the University of Oxford, is the author of "Why Animal Suffering Matters: Philosophy, Theology, and Practical Ethics." Adrian Morrison is professor emeritus of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine and author of "An Odyssey with Animals: A Veterinarian's Reflections on the Animal Rights & Welfare Debate."


Ape Receives Christmas Present At Miami Metro Zoo

Kumbuka, a 13-year-old female Ape, at Miami Metro Zoo, plays with the box she received on Christmas from her keepers Friday, Dec 25, 2009, in Miami. The gorillas receive a treat at the same time each day, however, on Christmas their keepers wrapped them for the holiday, complete with treats inside. -- PHOTO: AP