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A monkey study suggests that human concerns with reputation and fairness may go back far in our ancestry
Even monkeys dislike jerks, researchers report, based on a study of humans behaving badly in front of our primate cousins.
And the results may point to the origins of both cooperation and interest in reputation among our primitive ancestors, suggests the Nature Communications study led by psychologist James Anderson of the United Kingdom's University of Stirling.
In the study, researchers asked two human actors to perform a wordless skit in front of seven Capuchin monkeys, a species known for being cooperative.
The actors performed a pantomime display of cooperation, or non-cooperation, often used to test how children develop a sense of fairness. Half the time, one actor begged the other for help in opening a jar to remove a toy and the other person helped them. The other half of the time, the second actor ignored the pleas for help getting the toy. The actors switched roles to perform for different monkeys.
After the skit, each actor offered a food treat (a "small primate pellet") to the monkeys.
The result? According to the study, "monkeys were less likely to accept food from someone who previously refused a request for help from another person." In other words, even hungry monkeys don't like people who act like jerks.
"If Capuchins engage in image scoring (i.e judging) of humans, as shown here, it seems likely that they also do so in the context of their normal group life," the study concludes. A 2009 study in the journal Science had already shown that Capuchins prefer humans who imitate their actions, but the new results suggest an even deeper level of judgment at work among the monkeys.
That may mean that disdain for unhelpful folks may be a habit that goes way back in time, to the days when our ancestors were still climbing around in trees, the researchers conclude.
Something to ponder the next time someone asks you for help, or to get a toy out of a jar, at least.
Stressed Sanctuary System Needs Funds to Care for Animals Bred for Research
A recent report by a National Institutes of Health working group drew much attention for its groundbreaking recommendations to NIH Director Frances Collins. Outstanding among them was that the NIH retire hundreds of chimpanzees no longer needed for research, that a core group of 50 or so chimps be maintained for future research and that this population be maintained in vastly improved circumstances than these highly social, sentient creatures have traditionally been kept.
There are nearly 2,000 chimpanzees in the U.S. today: 962 are housed in research laboratories, 446 in accredited sanctuaries (like ours) and 259 in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Another 287 languish in backyards, basements, roadside attractions, pseudo-sanctuaries, breeder/dealer compounds and entertainment trainers' facilities.
Read more at Lexington Herald-Leader
Agency Moves to Retire Most Reserch Chimps
Almost all of the 451 chimpanzees owned or supported by the National Institutes of Health that are now at research facilities should be permanently retired from research and moved to sanctuaries, with planning for the move to start immediately, a report from an N.I.H. council unanimously recommended Tuesday.
The report, approved by the N.I.H. Council of Councils, is the latest step in a process that began more than two years ago when the agency began to review its use of chimpanzees in research. Its recommendations will be open to public comment for 60 days, and in late March, Dr. Francis S. Collins, the N.I.H. director, will decide whether to put them into effect.
Read more at NYTimes.com
NIH plans to relocate its chimpanzees from New Iberia to the Federal Sanctuary System
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The National Institutes of Health, after extensive collaboration with the Chimp Haven federal sanctuary, New Iberia Research Center (NIRC), and other organizations, has developed a plan to formally retire directly to the Federal Sanctuary System all of its chimpanzees at New Iberia that were recently designated as permanently ineligible for biomedical research. The NIH animals housed at NIRC, New Iberia, La., are to be transferred to the Chimp Haven sanctuary in Keithville, La., over the next 12-15 months.
"These animals have made important contributions to research to improve human health, but new technologies have reduced the need for their continued use in research," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "We are grateful to all of the organizations that have pulled together to help us transition these animals into formal retirement."
Chimp Haven is home to 106 federally owned chimpanzees that have been retired from medical research. The Federal Sanctuary System was established in 2002 by the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection (CHIMP) Act and Chimp Haven operates the Federal Sanctuary System, which is overseen by NIH.
"We are excitedly preparing for the arrival of NIH's chimpanzees from New Iberia and have begun seeking the funds required for their housing and care," said Chimp Haven President and Director Linda Brent, Ph.D. "This plan to benefit the chimpanzees is the result of unprecedented cooperation between many organizations and we look forward to continuing efforts on behalf of additional chimpanzees retired in the future."
Identification of new social group arrangements will allow placement of approximately half of these chimpanzees within the current capacity over the next several months. In order to increase capacity to receive the remaining NIH chimpanzees from New Iberia, Chimp Haven will need to build additional enclosures at a cost of $2.3 million.
NIH does not have construction funds available to contribute to the effort to increase capacity for the New Iberia chimpanzees. NIH also is nearing a cap on the cumulative dollar amount Congress set for the Federal Sanctuary System under the Chimpanzee Health Improvement Maintenance and Protection (CHIMP) Act . Chimp Haven, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, an independent non-profit, have launched coordinated fundraising campaigns to support the $2.3 million construction project to accommodate all the chimpanzees.
"This is a ray of light for captive chimpanzees," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS. "NIH has worked diligently to see that the federally owned chimps at New Iberia Research Center will be sent to a world-class sanctuary, and The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to fund a portion of the construction costs at this facility."
To allow time for fund-raising and construction, NIH and NIRC have arranged to extend the September 2013 end date of the current NIRC agreement to care for NIH chimpanzees. This time extension provides much-needed flexibility as Chimp Haven works through the complex and time-consuming process of introducing the chimpanzees into new social groups at the sanctuary. Once construction is completed, the remaining animals can begin to move to Chimp Haven for permanent retirement.
In December 2011, the NIH Director accepted the Institute of Medicine's principles and criteria on the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded research and tasked an NIH advisory committee to develop recommendations on how NIH can best implement them. The advisory committee is currently deliberating on the size and placement of NIH-owned and -supported chimpanzees, and on a review process for considering potential future use of chimpanzees in NIH-supported research. The advisory committee is expected to deliver its recommendations early next year.
The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.
NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health ®
Nicholasville, KY - The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is honored to announce that the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, Kentucky, has achieved GFAS Accreditation.
The accreditation means the Primate Rescue Center meets the comprehensive and rigorous definition of a true sanctuary and is providing humane and responsible care of the primates, meeting rigorous and peer-reviewed standards for operations, administration, and veterinary care established by GFAS, which is the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries. The accreditation status also provides a clear and trusted means for public, donors, and government agencies to recognize the Primate Rescue Center as an exceptional sanctuary.
Established in 1987, the Primate Rescue Center was already the home to several dozen monkeys when it provided sanctuary to seven chimpanzees rescued from a research laboratory. Today, the Primate Rescue Center is home to more than 50 monkeys and apes, including 11 chimpanzees.
"For 25 years the Primate Rescue Center has provided the very highest quality of care to our residents. We are honored to have this standard of excellence accredited and praised by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. We applaud GFAS for creating standards to identify and distinguish legitimate animal sanctuaries,” says April Truitt, Executive Director of the Primate Rescue Center.
“The rescue stories of the monkeys and apes at the Primate Rescue Center are truly heartbreaking and inspirational. These animals and this sanctuary so deserve our ongoing support. The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries is proud to bestow Accreditation status on the Primate Rescue Center,” says Patty Finch, Executive Director of GFAS.
About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries
Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting sanctuaries is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization’s work in a collaborative manner. They represent top leadership from Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, American Anti-Vivisection Society, and National Anti-Vivisection Society. http://www.sanctuaryfederation.org
Many exotic pet owners, like Terry Thompson in Zanesville, Ohio, are hobbyists, which means they don't often have the experience needed to tend to the needs of the animals.
The slaughter of over 50 renegade animals let loose from a backyard zoo in Zanesville, Ohio, Wednesday is shedding light on the people who actively pursue owning lions, bears, tigers, baboons and other exotic pets and why they risk their lives to tend to animals many consider dangerous and unfit for private habitation.
Terry Thompson, the man who released 56 animals from captivity before taking his own life, was already well known to national animal welfare advocates, not just because of the unusual number and variety of animals he collected, but because of the multiple complaints of animal mistreatment he incurred, including a 2005 conviction of animal cruelty. Mr. Thompson also served a one-year federal prison term for illegal gun possession.
His interest in curating his own private zoo on his 73-acre farm fits the description of many people who live with or near exotic animals, says Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, a national animal advocacy organization in Sacramento, Calif.
Read more at CSmonitor.com
ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Dozens of animals escaped Tuesday from a wild-animal preserve that houses bears, big cats and other beasts, and the owner later was found dead there, said police, who shot several of the animals and urged nearby residents to stay indoors.
As a result of the breakout, several schools near the preserve have canceled classes Wednesday, reports CBS 10-TV.
The fences had been left unsecured at the Muskingum County Animal Farm in Zanesville, in east-central Ohio, and the animals' cages were open, police said. They wouldn't say what animals escaped but said the preserve had lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels and bears. They said bears and wolves were among 25 escaped animals that had been shot and killed and there were multiple sightings of exotic animals along a nearby highway.
"These are wild animals that you would see on TV in Africa," Sheriff Matt Lutz warned at a press conference.
Neighbor Danielle White, whose father's property abuts the animal preserve, said she didn't see loose animals this time but did in 2006, when a lion escaped.
"It's always been a fear of mine knowing (the preserve's owner) had all those animals," she said. "I have kids. I've heard a male lion roar all night."
Lutz called the escaped animals "mature, very big, aggressive" but said a caretaker told authorities the preserve's 48 animals had been fed on Monday. He said police were patrolling the 40-acre farm and the surrounding areas in cars, not on foot, and were concerned about big cats and bears hiding in the dark and in trees.
"This is a bad situation," Lutz said. "It's been a situation for a long time."
Lutz said his office started getting phone calls at about 5:30 p.m. that wild animals were loose just west of Zanesville on a road that runs under Interstate 70.
He said four deputies with assault rifles in a pickup truck went to the animal farm, where they found the owner, Terry Thompson, dead and all the animal cage doors open. He wouldn't say how Thompson died but said several aggressive animals were near his body when deputies arrived and had to be shot.
Thompson, who lived on the property, had orangutans and chimps in his home, but those were still in their cages, Lutz said.
The deputies, who saw many other animals standing outside their cages and others that had escaped past the fencing surrounding the property, began shooting them on sight. They said there had been no reports of injuries among the public.
Staffers from the Columbus Zoo went to the scene, hoping to tranquilize and capture the animals. The sheriff said caretakers might put food in the animals' open cages to try to lure them back.
Lutz said people should stay indoors and he might ask for local schools to close Wednesday. At least four school districts in the area canceled classes.
Lutz said his main concern was protecting the public in the rural area, where homes sit on large lots of sometimes 10 acres.
"Any kind of cat species or bear species is what we are concerned about," Lutz said. "We don't know how much of a head start these animals have on us."
A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which usually handles native wildlife, such as deer, said state Division of Wildlife officers were helping the sheriff's office cope with the exotic animals in Zanesville, a city of about 25,000 residents.
"This is, I would say, unique," spokeswoman Laura Jones said.
White, the preserve's neighbor, said Thompson had been in legal trouble, and police said he had gotten out of jail recently.
At a nearby Moose Lodge, Bill Weiser remembered Thompson as an interesting character who flew planes, raced boats and owned a custom motorcycle shop that also sold guns.
"He was pretty unique," Weiser said. "He had a different slant on things. I never knew him to hurt anybody, and he took good care of the animals."
Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets and among the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them.
In the summer of 2010, an animal caretaker was killed by a bear at a property in Cleveland. The caretaker had opened the bear's cage at exotic-animal keeper Sam Mazzola's property for a routine feeding.
Though animal-welfare activists had wanted Mazzola charged with reckless homicide, the caretaker's death was ruled a workplace accident. The bear was later destroyed.
This summer, Mazzola was found dead on a water bed, wearing a mask and with his arms and legs restrained, at his home in Columbia Township, about 15 miles southwest of Cleveland.
It was unclear how many animals remained on the property when he died, but he had said in a bankruptcy filing in May 2010 that he owned four tigers, a lion, eight bears and 12 wolves. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had revoked his license to exhibit animals after animal-welfare activists campaigned for him to stop letting people wrestle with another one of his bears.
Mazzola had permits for nine bears for 2010, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said. The state requires permits for bears but doesn't regulate the ownership of nonnative animals, such as lions and tigers.
Updated 1:45 a.m. ET
The testing began shortly after Bobby’s first birthday. By the time he was 19 he had been anesthetized more than 250 times and undergone innumerable biopsies in the name of science. Much of the time he lived alone in a cramped, barren cage. Bobby grew depressed and emaciated and began biting his own arm, leaving permanent scars.
Bobby is a chimpanzee. Born in captivity to parents who were also lab chimps, he grew up at the Coulston Foundation, a biomedical research facility in Alamogordo, N.M., that was cited for repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act before it was shuttered in 2002. He is one of the lucky ones. Today he lives in a sanctuary called Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Fla., where he can socialize and roam freely. Last year the National Institutes of Health announced plans to put some 180 ex-Coulston chimps currently housed at the Alamogordo Primate Facility back in service, to rejoin the roughly 800 other chimps that serve as subjects for studies of human diseases, therapies and vaccines in the U.S., which is the only country apart from Gabon to maintain chimps for this purpose.
Read more at ScientificAmerican.com
April Truitt, who runs the Primate Rescue Center in Jessamine County, is sending that message to movie director Cameron Crowe in a plea not to use monkeys or apes in any more films.
Truitt and others who operate similar sanctuaries for abandoned or neglected animals say they're concerned that the use of a Capuchin monkey in Crowe's new movie, We Bought a Zoo, will cause the public to buy the creatures as pets, only to cast them off when they become too difficult to tend.
"Monkeys and apes are adorable as babies, but the novelty soon wears off and they grow into strong adults who are strong-willed, naturally curious and destructive, and capable of causing some pretty severe injuries," members of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance wrote to Crowe in a letter this week.
Read more at the Lexington Herald-Leader
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it will initiate a status review to determine whether reclassifying all captive chimpanzees from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is warranted.
Currently, wild chimpanzees are listed as endangered, and captive chimpanzees are listed as threatened. Captive chimpanzees within the United States are covered by a special rule allowing activities otherwise prohibited by the ESA.
Read more at Fish & Wildlife Service