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A Colombian conservationist has been locked in a contentious legal fight against a leading researcher who uses wild monkeys in his search for a malaria vaccine. A recent court decision that banned the practice is seen as a victory in efforts to restrict the use of monkeys in medical research.
Last August, the Costa Rican government announced it was closing all its zoos. The new policy, the government declared, was "no cages." (A court ruling has so far kept the zoos open.) I think we're moving slowly toward the same sensibility. In 25 years, there will likely still be some way for Americans to see exotic animals. But I will be pretty surprised if those places have cages, mirrors, smoke machines, and conference-room tanks for 12,000-pound whales. There may be nature preserves. But it seems to me that we're pretty rapidly reaching the end of the era of the modern urban zoo.
A Connecticut woman blinded and disfigured by a chimpanzee attack will visit Washington this week to urge the passage of rules to make it harder to keep primates as pets.
Charla Nash, who lost her nose, lips, eyelids and hands after she was mauled by her employer's 200-pound pet chimpanzee in 2009, said people who buy baby chimps would be wrong to think they will be harmless, childlike companions.
Scientists have described the communications of chimpanzees and bonobos in new and unsurpassed detail, offering a lexicon for our closest living relatives and even a glimpse into the origins of human language.