Monkey News

BIOTERRORBIBLE.COM: In the aftermath of man-made bio-terror generated pandemic, the government and media may attempt to scapegoat monkeys just as they did in the 1994 book The Hot Zone and the 1995 blockbuster movie entitled Outbreak. Since 9/11, there have been unprecedented reports of monkey attacks, monkey escapes, monkey thefts and monkey smuggling which may suggest that the monkey scapegoat option is being primed for prime-time.

Title: Monkey Deficit Crimps Laboratories As Scientists Scramble For Alternatives
Date: May 14, 2002

Abstract: Scientists have infected rhesus monkeys with polio, coaxed them into cocaine addiction, shot them into space and cloned them. Researchers like working with them for a simple reason: their great similarity to people.

Now, though, rhesus monkeys have become so scarce and expensive that scientists are forced to look for alternatives. That's a sharp turnaround from decades ago, when the animals were imported from India by the thousands for as little as $80 apiece. Drug companies came to depend on them to test new products, and their low cost and easy access made them the standard for research that ethically couldn't be done in humans.

These days, rhesus monkeys often cost more than $5,000 each, with a healthy female commanding anywhere from $6,000 to $14,000 per animal. And even researchers who can afford them spend months waiting, as monkey brokers and breeding centers scramble to locate enough animals.

When University of Pittsburgh virologist Michael Murphey-Corb tried to buy 32 rhesus monkeys for an experiment last year, they were so expensive -- as much as $6,000 each -- she had to scale back her research into an AIDS vaccine. Forced to settle for 24 animals, Dr. Murphey-Corb had to defer investigating whether the vaccine would work as an early treatment for the disease. Fed up with spending a third of her time trying to find rhesus monkeys, Dr. Murphey-Corb says she is switching to a closely related species, the cynomolgus monkey, which costs about half as much as the rhesus and is readily available. "I have to get on with my research," she says.

The FDA doesn't have rules requiring rhesus monkeys to be used for research, but because the rhesus was typically used in past experiments, corporate researchers are reluctant to conduct studies for product approval if their results might be questioned on the basis of what type of animal is used.

In the 1970s, researchers bought as many as 12,000 rhesus monkeys annually from India, the main source for the animals, also known as rhesus macaques or Macaca mulata. The export of the monkeys was already controversial and sensitive in India, as Hindus consider them a sacred incarnation of a god. Then, in 1978, India banned the exports after news reports that the U.S. was using them in radiological weapons experiments. The price per monkey jumped from about $100 to about $4,000.

"It was just like OPEC cutting off the oil supply," says David Robinson of Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research and development corporation with headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

The species became even more coveted in the 1990s, when it became the primate model in AIDS studies. The animals develop a disease much like the human version when infected with HIV. The recent focus on bioterrorism research has further strained the supply.

Before last fall's anthrax outbreak, testing of an anthrax vaccine stalled for two years because federal researchers couldn't get enough rhesus monkeys. Out of urgency, they decided to use Chinese instead of Indian rhesus. But making that switch presents its own problems. Anthrax research done in the 1950s relied on Indian rhesus, and scientists have disagreed about whether the Chinese animals are similar enough to use in new studies.

Programs aimed at breeding more rhesus monkeys for medical research haven't eased the shortage, although eight federally funded primate centers are working to increase the domestic supply. In fiscal year 2000, 57,218 primates were used in research, according to the Department of Agriculture, but no one keeps a comprehensive count of how many rhesus monkeys are actually needed.

At Tulane University, outside New Orleans, about 3,000 rhesus macaques ramble inside 22 half-acre outdoor corrals. Tulane struggles to balance the number of monkeys it keeps for breeding with the number it makes available for research.

Getting rhesus monkeys to reproduce isn't like breeding rabbits. "You can't speed up the production line for an anthrax scare or anything else," says Andrew Lackner, director of the Tulane center. Females give birth once a year, after about five months' gestation. Healthy females usually mate successfully with one of the males in their breeding corral, says Richard Harrison, a Tulane reproductive biologist. But not all males are fertile, and some females resist mating, he says.

A scientific committee at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, a drug-industry trade group, is discussing what studies are necessary to persuade the Food and Drug Administration that experiments with other primates and even other animals, such as rats, might be applicable to humans. Michael Friedman, PhRMA's chief medical officer for biomedical preparedness and senior vice president at Pharmacia Corp., hopes that the shift of bioterrorism research away from rhesus monkeys whenever possible will help ease the supply crunch for other fields.

Officials at the National Institutes of Health hope a National Academies of Science workshop held in April will prompt researchers to use primates other than the Indian rhesus macaque.

But those who oppose animal experimentation say researchers, in focusing on accumulating enough rhesus macaques for their work, are ignoring the possibility of moving away entirely from such research (UCLA, 2002).

Title: Wild Monkeys To Measure Fukushima Radiation
Date: December 10, 2011

Abstract: Scientists in Japan are struggling to assess the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster amid continuing concerns over high levels of radiation. Now help is at hand in the form of the area’s wild monkey population.

Radiation levels in the woods near the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster is now going to be measured with the help of the primates.  

Researchers from Fukushima University have designed special collars for the monkeys which will feed  information to scientists. 

Each of the collars contains a small radiation survey meter and a GPS transmitter and can be unclipped by remote control, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday. 

This will enable the research team, led by robotics professor Takayuki Takahashi, to recover them and collect data one to two months after releasing the monkeys back into the wild.

Currently, radiation is measured using helicopters – a method which has proved incapable of obtaining the most accurate estimates.  

The project has also been designed to check radiation exposure in wild animals. The monkeys will allow the scientists to compare radiation levels on the ground and in the air, as they spend much of their time sitting high up in trees.

The two-month project is to kick off in spring 2012 (RT, 2011).

Title: Monkey Feared Extinct Rediscovered In Jungles Of Borneo
Date: January 20, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: An elusive monkey feared extinct has shown up in the remote forests of Borneo, posing for the first good pictures of the animal ever taken.

The mug shots reveal a furry Count Dracula of sorts, with the monkey's black head, face tipped with white whiskers and a pointy collar made of fluffy white fur.

The Miller's grizzled langur, an extremely rare primate that has suffered from habitat loss over the last 30 years, popped up unexpectedly in the protected Wehea Forest in east Kalimantan, Borneo.

"We knew we had found this primate that some people had speculated was potentially extinct," said study researcher Stephanie Spehar, a primatologist at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. "It was really exciting."

But the animal is still in grave danger, Spehar told LiveScience, and no one knows how many of these langurs are left. The researchers observed only two small groups of them.

Vanishing Act
The shy monkey (Presbytis hosei canicrus) was seen in the 1970s in Kutai National Park in Borneo, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from where the new population lives. But as the years passed, fires and
illegal logging devastated Kutai. By 2008, the Miller's grizzled langur seems to have vanished from the park. A survey that year found just five langurs living on the Sangkulirang Peninsula in East Kalitmantan, also about 50 miles (80 km) away from the newly discovered langur habitat. But by 2010, that group of primates had also disappeared.

"At this point, we didn't know if this animal still existed or whether it was still hiding out in little pockets," Spehar said.

Spehar has been working in the Wehea Forest of Borneo for four years, but she'd never seen a Miller's grizzled langur there. Last summer, however, one of her undergraduate students camped out by a mineral lick area for 10 days, a spot where animals come to get nutrients from mineral-rich soil and water. The student, Eric Fell, was conducting his own research project on animals' use of these licks, and was photographing the creatures that dropped by. [Gallery: Elusive Wildlife Photos]

Upon returning from his stakeout, Fell showed Spehar his photographs. Among them were images of long-tailed, black-headed langurs.

"I knew this was something special," Spehar said. "I knew that it was something that was unexpected and we hadn't seen before."

Monkey Reborn
Spehar, who credits the find to the work of local communities and governments that protect the forest and support her research, showed the photos to another researcher working in the woods, the director of the
conservation organization Ethical Expeditions Brent Loken. The revelation surprised both parties: It turned out that Loken's group had also been staking out a mineral lick 5 miles (8 km) away from Fell's with a motion-triggered camera. They'd captured an image of the same type of primate.

"We realized that we had basically rediscovered this animal," Spehar said. Taxonomists confirmed the find as a Miller's grizzled langur. The researchers reported their find today (Jan. 20) in the American Journal of Primatology.

The simultaneous discovery suggests that there is a decent-size population of the langurs in Wehea, but Spehar cautioned that incredibly little is known about the species. No one knows how wide the langurs' range is, she said, how many there are, or their population density. That lack of knowledge isn't uncommon for many threatened species, according to Loken.

"This monkey represents a lot of species on the planet that we know very little about," Loken told LiveScience. "We don't know how many there are, we don't know where they live, what ecological requirements they need to live, and unless we get some of that information quickly, some of these species could slip into extinction before we know anything about them, or even realize that they're gone."

While Wehea itself is a more than 98,000-acre (40,000-hectare) oasis of protection, it is surrounded by forest used for logging, palm oil plantations and mining — the same sort of human uses that presumably drove the langurs out of the habitats where they once thrived. Additionally, the forest is only protected by the local community, Loken said, not the central government.

That makes the future of the Miller's grizzled langur very uncertain, Spehar said. She and her colleagues plan to conduct further research into the monkey's range and behavior to understand how best to save it from extinction. Meanwhile, Loken's group and others are working to secure extra protection for the forest.

"What we hope to do is to work with companies and concessions and with local governments to ensure this animal's protection," Spehar said. "That's the only way we will ensure that it doesn't disappear" (Fox News, 2012).

Title: US Research Monkey Importer Facing Cruelty Charges
Date: March 26, 2012
Fox News

Abstract: A U.S. importer of research monkeys was set to stand trial Monday on cruelty charges after 15 primates died during an international flight.

Robert Matson Conyers, a Florida animal broker, faces 10 counts involving a 2008 plane trip from Guyana. Officials say Conyers was shipping 25 monkeys to a buyer in Bangkok, but the shipment was refused transit in China and returned to Los Angeles.

The monkeys wound up on a circuitous trip across thousands of miles with stops in Bangkok, Miami and twice in Los Angeles. They suffered from neglect, starvation and hypothermia in transit, authorities say, and 15 eventually died.

Fourteen marmosets, five white-fronted capuchins and six squirrel monkeys were turned back in China over paperwork issues such as irregularities in the shipping documents.

Officials in Los Angeles found 14 of the 25 monkeys packed into crates were dead.

Los Angeles Zoo veterinarians administered emergency care to the survivors, but a capuchin had to be euthanized. The rest are recovering at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.

The advocacy group Stop Animal Cruelty Now said the monkeys were dehydrated and resorted to cannibalism during their long journey.

Once the story of the monkeys' flight was reported, monkey imports to Los Angeles were halted.

The advocacy group said the United States is the largest importer of monkeys coming from the Philippines, Indonesia, Guyana and Kenya. Most are destined for laboratory experiments.

Conyers could face up to six months in jail and a $20,000 fine if convicted (Fox News, 2012).

Title: 'Monkey Bill' Becomes Law, Imperils Science In Tennessee
Date: April 12, 2012
Source: Huffington Post

Abstract: First there was the 
Butler Act of 1925, a law that prohibited the teaching of evolution in classrooms in Tennessee. The Scopes "Monkey" Trial, in which the ACLU challenged the bill, put Tennessee educational policy in the national spotlight. But Tennessee legislators refused to bend to pressure, and the law remained on the books until 1967.

We've come a long way in the past 100 years, but it seems like Tennessee is up to its old anti-science tricks again. In a new twist on an old classic, a modern "monkey bill," which encourages teachers to explore "alternative" explanations for established scientific theories, recently passed in both the Tennessee House and Senate. In aprevious video report on Talk Nerdy To Me, I describe this "academic freedom" bill in detail. It is predicated on the false notion that "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning" are topics that arouse "debate and disputation" in the scientific community.

In spite of protests by scientific, educational, and civil liberties groups, on April 10, 2012, this "monkey bill" became law. In Tennessee, the governor can choose to either sign or veto any bill that is passed by the state legislature. But apparently, he has a third option. He can do nothing.

And nothing is exactly what Governor Bill Haslam did. He explained:

"I have reviewed the final language of HB 368/SB 893 and assessed the legislation's impact. I have also evaluated the concerns that have been raised by the bill. I do not believe that this legislation changes the scientific standards that are taught in our schools or the curriculum that is used by our teachers. However, I also don't believe that it accomplishes anything that isn't already acceptable in our schools...The bill received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate by a three-to-one margin, but good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion. My concern is that this bill has not met this objective. For that reason, I will not sign the bill but will allow it to become law without my signature."

Seriously? And what are those scientific standards? This law essentially gives teachers carte blanche to discuss whatever crackpot ideas they want (and to be clear, ideas and theories are two very different things in scientific parlance).

Steven Newton, the programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, says that for students who are fortunate enough to have good science teachers, the classroom experience will likely be unaffected. The law doesn't require that teachers present "alternative theories" to their students. But, as he points out:

"This new law allows--indeed, encourages--teachers who are already inclined to attack evolution and climate science to do so. Unlucky students may be subjected to creationist or climate-change-denying rants from their teachers. And if students or parents object, the law forbids school boards and administrators from doing anything about it."

Apparently, science teachers across Tennessee are already filling their blackboards with religious propaganda and anti-science rhetoric. I wonder what repercussions a teacher would face if he/she introduced "Pastafarianism" to the classroom. In this "alternative theory," the unseen and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster touched Adam with his "noodly appendage" and is thus responsible for the creation (or "intelligent design") of the universe. This "theory" also posits that over many years, the steady decline in pirates (known to be divine beings) has resulted in global warming.

Obviously, the Flying Spaghetti Monster parody was developed to ridicule the idea that intelligent design be taken seriously in the science classroom. But this new law makes it clear that Tennessee is not in on the joke. In an opinion piece in the Chatanoogan, David D. Fihn, Sr. writes:

"Bill Haslam will single-handedly give credence to the rest of the country's opinion of this southern state. We will be thought of as backward, mouth-breathing, wrongly-educated national has only to point to this myopic piece of legislation to vindicate that opinion."

That's no laughing matter. We live in the 21st century, the century of biotechnology. Without an appropriate understanding of evolution, students will be at a disadvantage in the workforce. And without an understanding of anthropogenic climate change, how can we expect Tennessee children to grow up to become members of an informed electorate? And it's not just Tennessee. Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, Alabama, New Mexico, and Louisiana have all seen anti-evolution and climate change denial bills in various stages of the legislative process within the past two years. This is cause for alarm.

Without proper scientific training, a cornerstone of the educational system in every major developed nation, the future for this country does not look very bright (Huffington Post, 2012).

Title: Bomb Scare, Monkey Pox Quarantine At Two Midwest Airports
Date: April 27, 2012
Source: Fox 4 News

Abstract: Part of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was evacuated Friday morning after a screener detected what he thought was an explosive in a piece of luggage.

Reuters reports that after interviewing the passenger and opening the luggage, security officials determined the device was not an explosive but actually a water filtration system in the passenger’s checked baggage.

“The questionable items in the bag were two PVC pipes capped at both ends filled with a granular material,” airport spokesman Patrick Hogan told Reuters. “There were also a number of wires in the bag that were not connected to the pipes.”

According to the Transportation Safety Administration, the public area of the terminal was cleared and approaching roads were closed temporarily during the incident to ensure safety.

Terminal 2 is the smaller of the airport’s two terminals, serving Southwest Airlines, AirTran, Sun Country and Icelandair. The larger Terminal 1 was not affected.

In Chicago, at Midway Airport, passengers suffered a different kind of scare.

A Delta flight was quarantined on the runway, after a concerned passenger reported a family member might have monkey pox from an earlier trip to Africa.

Medical staff reviewed the case, but passengers say they were given little information and grew upset, thinking the worst.

“You think am I going to get off this plane? Am I gonna make it back home? Am I gonna be in a suit just like the other people outside. We’re looking outside of our window and they’re suiting people up in masks and in gloves and you know you only see that stuff in the movies,” one passenger said.

“Quarantined… like tell us what could this be, is it airborne? Is it topical? Is it viral? What is it, what do you mean? Do you cover your mouth? I was not sitting next to someone, I was sitting in one seat, no one next to me. So do I feel safe? Do I not feel safe? I think my mind started playing games with me, I thought I was itching you know it is just one of those things where you’re just not sure.”

Everyone on the flight was able to leave after medical officials said the woman in question was only suffering from bug bites (Fox 4 News, 2012)

Title: Zoo Keeper Licks Monkey's Butt To Help It Poop In China
Date: May 3, 2012
Source: Huffington Post

You've kissed butt at work, but this zoo keeper took the metaphorical act to a whole new (and literal) level.

Chinese zookeeper Zhang Bangsheng, 50, reportedly did the unthinkable when a leaf monkey in his care couldn't pass a peanut: he licked its butt for "over an hour" to encourage it to defecate, China Smack reported, citing the Wuhan Evening.

Bangsheng claims the monkey was too small for medication to help it pass the peanut, so licking was the only way to help it -- after washing its bottom with warm water, Orange News reported.

Some news outlets are questioning the authenticity of the story -- and why Bangsheng used his mouth rather than the more traditional method: a warm cloth (Huffington Post, 2012)

Title: A Man And His Monkey Pulled Over In Florida
Date: May 4, 2012

Abstract: A Florida man is charged with felony drunken driving and wildlife violations after police discovered a small monkey in his truck.

Largo Police say Eugene Carl Kotelman was speeding when they stopped him Thursday. He was driving on a suspended license and had been previously charged numerous times with driving on a suspended license and DUI.

Officers noticed a "small monkey" in Kotelman's truck and released the primate to his friend.

After Kotelman was released on bond from the DUI charge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers charged him with possession of wildlife and two counts of violating fish and wildlife rules. They took custody of the monkey.

Police did not have a way to contact Kotelman and no current phone listing could be found (AP, 2012).

Title: Vaccine Bombshell: Baby Monkeys Given Standard Doses Of Popular Vaccines Develop Autism Symptoms
Date: May 6, 2012
Source: Natural News

Abstract: If vaccines play absolutely no role in the development of childhood autism, a claim made by many medical authorities today, then why are some of the most popular vaccines commonly administered to children demonstrably causing autism in animal primates? This is the question many people are now asking after a recent study conducted by scientists at theUniversity of Pittsburgh(UP) in Pennsylvania revealed that many of the infant monkeys given standard doses of childhood vaccines as part of the new research developed autism symptoms.

For their analysis, Laura Hewitson and her colleagues at UP conducted the type of proper safety research on typical childhood vaccination schedules that the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) should have conducted -- but never has -- for such regimens. And what this brave team discovered was groundbreaking, as it completely deconstructs the mainstream myth that vaccines are safe and pose no risk of autism.

Presented at theInternational Meeting for Autism Research(IMFAR) in London, England, the findings revealed that young macaque monkeys given the typical CDC-recommended vaccination schedule from the 1990s, and in appropriate doses for the monkeys' sizes and ages, tended to develop autism symptoms. Their unvaccinated counterparts, on the other hand, developed no such symptoms, which points to a strong connection between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders.

Included in the mix were several vaccines containing the toxic additive Thimerosal, a mercury-based compound that has been phased out of some vaccines, but is still present in batch-size influenza vaccines and a few others. Also administered was the controversial measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which has been linked time and time again to causing autism and various other serious, and often irreversible, health problems in children (

"This research underscores the critical need for more investigation into immunizations, mercury, and the alterations seen in autistic children," said Lyn Redwood, director ofSafeMinds, a public safety group working to expose the truth about vaccines and autism. "SafeMinds calls for large scale, unbiased studies that look at autism medical conditions and the effects of vaccines given as a regimen."

Vaccine oversight needs to be taken from CDC and given to independent agency, says vaccine safety advocate

Adding to the sentiment, Theresa Wrangham, president ofSafeMindscalled out the CDC for failing to require proper safety studies of its recommended vaccination schedules. Unlike all other drugs, which must at least undergo a basic round of safety testing prior to approval and recommendation, vaccinations and vaccine schedules in particular do not have to be proven safe or effective before hitting the market.

"The full implications of this primate study await publication of the research in a scientific journal," said Wrangham. "But we can say that it demonstrates how the CDC evaded their responsibility to investigate vaccine safety questions. Vaccine safety oversight should be removed from the CDC and given to an independent agency" (Natural News, 2012)

Title: African Monkey Meat That Could Be Behind The Next HIV
Date: May 25, 2012

Abstract: Deep in the rainforest of south-east Cameroon, the voices of the men rang through the trees. "Where are the white people?" they shouted. The men, who begin to surround us, are poachers, who make their money from the illegal slaughter of gorillas and chimpanzees. They disperse but make it known that they are not keen for their activities to be reported; the trade they ply could not only wipe out critically endangered species but, scientists are now warning, could also create the next pandemic of a deadly virus in humans.

Eighty per cent of the meat eaten in Cameroon is killed in the wild and is known as "bushmeat". The nation's favoured dishes are gorilla, chimpanzee or monkey because of their succulent and tender flesh. According to one estimate, up to 3,000 gorillas are slaughtered in southern Cameroon every year to supply an illicit but pervasive commercial demand for ape meat .

"Everyone is eating it," said one game warden. "If they have money they will buy gorilla or chimp to eat."

Frankie, a poacher in the southern Dja Wildlife reserve who gave a fake name, said he is involved in the trade because he can earn good money from it, charging around £60 per adult gorilla killed. "I have to make a living," he said. "Women come from the market and order a gorilla or a chimp and I go and kill them."

Cameroon's south-eastern rainforests are also home to the Baka – traditional forest hunters who have the legal right to hunt wild animals, with the exception of great apes.

Felix Biango, a Baka elder, said the group used to hunt gorilla every few weeks to feed his village, Ayene, but has stopped since Cameroon outlawed the practice 10 years ago. However, he says that every week, three or four people come from the cities to ask the group to help them to hunt wild animals, such as gorillas and chimpanzees.

While the Baka no longer hunt primates for themselves, Mr Biango says that they still kill gorillas for the commercial trade and will eat the meat if they find the animals already dead.

Though Cameroonians have eaten primate meat for years, recent health scares have begun to raise fears about the safety of the meat. "In the village of Bakaklion our brothers found a dead gorilla in the forest," Mr Biango said. "They took it back to the village and ate the meat. Almost immediately, everyone died – 25 men, women and children – the only person who didn't was a woman who didn't eat the meat."

Three-quarters of all new human viruses are known to come from animals, and some scientists believe humans are particularly susceptible to those carried by apes. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is now widely believed to have originated in chimps. Apes are known to host other potentially deadly viruses, such as ebola, anthrax, yellow fever and other potential viruses yet to be discovered.

Babila Tafon, head vet at the primate sanctuary Ape Action Africa (AAA), in Mefou, just outside the capital Yaounde, believes the incident that Biango describes could have been caused by an outbreak of ebola, but cannot be sure because no tests were carried out.

AAA now cares for 22 gorillas and more than one hundred chimps – all orphans of the bushmeat trade.

Mr Tafon tests the blood of all apes arriving at the sanctuary. He says he has recently detected a new virus in the apes – simian foamy virus, which is closely related to HIV. "A recent survey confirmed this is now in humans, especially in some of those who are hunters and cutting up the apes in the south-east of the country," he said.

Viruses are often transferred from ape to human through a bite, scratch or the blood of a dead ape getting into an open wound. There is a lower risk from eating cooked or smoked primates, but it is not completely safe.

Bushmeat is not only a concern for Cameroonians. Each year, an estimated 11,000 tons of bushmeat is illegally smuggled in to the UK, mainly from West Africa, and is known to include some ape meat.

The transfer of viruses from ape to man is a primary concern for the international virology research and referral base run by the Pasteur Centre in Yaounde. Each week, it screens more than 500 blood samples for all manner of viruses, and alerts major international medical research centres if it finds an unfamiliar strain.

Professor Dominique Baudon, the director of the Cameroon centre, says he is concerned that the bushmeat trade is a major gateway for animal viruses to enter humans worldwide, due to the export trade.

He says that the deeper poachers go in to the forest, and the more that primates are consumed, the more exposed people become to new unknown viruses and the more potential there is for the viruses to mutate into potentially aggressive forms. At the Ape Action Africa sanctuary, Rachel Hogan, who came to Cameroon from Birmingham 11 years ago, and her team focus on the last of Cameroon's great apes.

It is not known exactly how many gorillas remain in the wild in Cameroon. Conservationists estimates there may be only a few thousand Western Lowland Gorillas left, which are being gradually forced in to smaller groups by hunting and the destruction of their habitat by logging. In the west of the country, there are only 250 Cross River Gorillas left.

Hunting does not just affect adult apes. One hunter said a baby gorilla had screamed so much for its dead mother, killed for her meat, that he eventually killed it to stop the noise.

Most of the gorillas and chimps Ms Hogan and her team look after are babies who have witnessed the murder of their parents. She says they are often suffering from terrible wounds and even trauma when they arrive at the sanctuary. "They grieve just like humans," she says. "We have had them where they will just sit rocking, grinding their teeth and they don't respond to anything. You have to be able to win back their trust."

Ms Hogan says the apes can even die after the trauma. "They'll stop eating, they won't respond to anything... [They] decide whether they live or die. It's like watching a clock wind down."

The increasing number of rescued apes is putting pressure on the sanctuary. A group of eight gorillas in the wild, protected by one dominant male, needs 16 square kilometres to roam in to live comfortably.

The sanctuary says there is nowhere in the vast tropical rainforest of Cameroon that the apes can safely be returned to the wild. "If this continues there might not be any wild populations of gorillas left," says Ms Hogan.

'Unreported World: The Monkey Business', Channel 4, 7.30pm tonight

Out of Africa: How HIV was Born
Aids, the worst pandemic of modern times which has claimed over 30 million lives, is thought to have begun in the rainforest of west central Africa as a result of the bush meat trade.

For decades, perhaps centuries, wild chimpanzees carrying the Simian Deficiency Virus (SIV) have come into contact with humans who have caught and eaten them. SIV is genetically similar to HIV and, occasionally, when a chimp scratched or bit a hunter, the virus will have been passed on and may have mutated into HIV. In the distant past, when communications were poor, outbreaks of HIV would not have spread beyond the forest. But in the latter part of the last century, as the commercial exploitation of Africa gathered pace, the opportunities for viral spread increased.

Today, the scale of the slaughter is immense. The Washington-based Bush Meat Crisis Task Force estimates that up to five million tons of wild animals are being "harvested" in the Congo Basin every year – the equivalent of 10 million cattle. The trade was initially driven by hunger – it was a cheap source of food – but has burgeoned with increased logging of the forests and growing demand.

Now, it is international, extending the threat beyond the continent's boundaries. Scientists have warned that Britain is at risk from an outbreak caused by the lethal Ebola or Marburg viruses contained in illegal imports of bush meat from Africa.

The size of the imports is unknown, but one 2010 study estimated that five tons of the meat per week were being smuggled in personal baggage via Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France. Gorilla and chimpanzee meat is said to be on offer to African communities in Hackney and Brixton at hundreds of pounds per kilogram (Independent, 2012).

Title: Gorilla In Prague Zoo Accidentally Hangs Himself
Date: July 27, 2012

Abstract: A gorilla has died in the Prague Zoo after accidentally hanging himself with a climbing rope, zoo officials said Friday.

The zoo said in a statement that 5-year-old Tatu was found hanging with a rope around his neck Friday morning in a sleeping room. Spokesman Michal Stastny said all attempts to revive Tatu failed.

He said there were no cameras in the room and it is not clear exactly what happened.

Mammals curator Pavel Brandl said Tatu likely unbraided one of the dozens ropes the gorillas use in their pavilion for climbing and put a strand around his neck before hanging himself.

"It was an accident," Brandl said. He said the ropes are checked daily.

Brandl said another gorilla, Kamba, appeared to be trying to help Tatu when zookeepers arrived but "it's hard to say what exactly she was doing."

Director Miroslav Bobek said the death was the most tragic event at the zoo since flooding in 2002 killed more than 100 animals.

The zoo still has six gorillas, and they are among the most popular animals there. Tens of thousands of people watched Tatu's birth online on May 30, 2007 (AP, 2012)

Title: GHSU Lab Technician Found Drunk, Partially Nude In Locker Room While 2 Monkeys Loose In Lab
Date: August 17, 2012

Abstract: WJBF News Channel 6 has learned a Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) Lab Animal Services employee was found drunk and partially nude in a Lab Animal Services Technician locker room on Monday, August 13th.

A GHSU spokesperson confirms that 2 monkeys were out of their cages in the locked Animals Services Lab.

The man is identified as 32-year-old Coley Oneal Mitchell. GHSU Police officers arrested Mitchell and charged him with public drunkenness and turned him over to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. He was then booked into the Richmond County Jail.

In a statement sent to WJBF News Channel 6, a GHSU spokesperson says:

"No animals were harmed during the incident, but the university takes the allegations very seriously. GHSU does not condone behavior that conflicts with the research, education and clinical missions of the university and employees are expected to conduct themselves, at all times, with integrity and respect."

We are told the monkeys were not harmed and they were checked by a veterinarian, who reported the monkeys are fine.

We will continue to follow this story and bring you the latest information as it becomes available (WJBF, 2012).

Title: Lab Tech Parties With Escaped Monkeys
Date: August 22, 2012

Abstract: A Georgia Health Sciences University lab tech was recently discovered in a campus locker room engaging in unusual behavior.

Authorities said 32-year-old Coley Mitchell was jailed after he was found intoxicated with his pants down in a locker room in the Sanders Research and Education Building while two lab monkeys were found roaming free, outside their cages, the Augusta Chronicle reported.

Mitchell was booked into Richmond County jail on charges of public intoxication. The monkeys were examined and found to be unharmed (, 2012)

Title: Man Mistakes Son For Monkey, Shoots Him Dead
Date: August 26, 2012
Source:  Bangkok Post

Abstract: A farmer in southern Nepal mistook his son for a monkey trying to steal his crops and shot the 12-year-old dead, police said on Sunday.

Chitra Bahadur Pulami had been climbing a tree to chase away macaques that had become a nuisance to the family but his father Gupta Bahadur, 55, spotted the boy and opened fire, wrongly believing him to be one of the animals.

"The son was hiding in a tree at their farm to chase away monkeys that used to come searching for food in the maize field," said Arun Poudel, deputy superintendent of police in the remote Arghakhanchi district

"The son died on the spot after Gupta Bahadur mistakenly thought there was a monkey in the tree and opened fire. Our preliminary investigation shows that the father was unaware that his son had gone to the maize field to chase the monkeys.

"Both Gupta Bahadur and the gun that he used in shooting his son are now under the custody of the police."

The three species of monkey native to Nepal, the rhesus and Assamese macaque and the common langur, are considered sacred and farmers normally try to scare them away from their crops without injuring the animals.

"I realised my mistake only when my son fell down and got stuck in one of the tree's branches," the farmer was quoted as telling police by the Nepali website after the incident, on Friday (Bangkok Post, 2012)

Title: Too-Wit Too-Who Are You? New Species Of 'Owl Faced' Monkey Discovered - After Its Unique Bright Blue Bottom Was Spotted
Date: September 13, 2012
Daily Mail

Abstract:  A new species of monkey with a distinctive blue rear end has been identified in Africa, researchers have said.

The species, known locally as the lesula, was discovered after a young female was seen kept captive at the home of a primary school director in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007.

The young animal resembled an owl faced monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni) but the colour of its rear end was different to that of any known species, the researchers writing in the journal PLoS ONE said.

In fact, they say, its blue rear end is unique.

'The blue perineum, buttocks and scrotum displayed by adult males are more extensive than genital patches in any other Cercopithecus', the researchers wrote.

Other wild lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) have since been found in their remote range in central Democratic Republic of Congo, where they live in forests and feed on leafstalks, fruit and flower buds.

The discovery of the new species, in one of the country’s last unexplored forest areas, is only the second time a new monkey species has been found in Africa in the last 28 years.

Although the 6,500 square mile area in which the shy lesula is found is remote and sparsely populated, the researchers warn the monkey is vulnerable to extinction as a result of hunting for bush meat.

They called for controls on hunting and the creation of a protected area covering its range to conserve the lesula and other wildlife found in the region.

Researcher John Hart said: 'The challenge for conservation now in Congo is to intervene before losses become definitive.

'Species with small ranges like the lesula can move from vulnerable to seriously endangered over the course of just a few years' (Daily Mail, 2012).

Title: BPA Damages Chromosomes In Monkeys
Date: September 26, 2012
USA Today

Abstract: A new study in monkeys provides the strongest evidence yet that an estrogen-like chemical called BPA could alter chromosomes, increasing the risk of birth defects and miscarriages, scientists say. Researchers have been concerned for 15 years about the risks of BPA in expectant mothers.

Although researchers have performed hundreds of studies of BPA in mice, there are far fewer studies in humans and their closest relatives, non-human primates.

In a new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington State University geneticist Patricia Hunt found chromosomal damage in rhesus monkeys, which share 95% of their DNA with humans. Significantly, the damage occurred at levels of BPA that are similar to the levels to which humans are routinely exposed, Hunt says.

She notes that the new findings confirm earlier results in lab mice.

"This is hitting uncomfortably close to home now," Hunt says. "It's so close to humans that we can't really deny this is a problem."

Researchers have been concerned for 15 years about the risks of BPA, used in plastic bottles, heat-activated cash register receipts, the linings of aluminum cans and countless consumer products. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention find that more than 92% of Americans have the chemical in their bodies.

In this article, Hunt studied the effects of BPA on pregnant monkeys, focusing not just on the mothers, but on the ovaries of their unborn daughters.

Females are born with all of the eggs they will ever have, and these eggs develop while they are still in their mothers' wombs.

Hunt found that BPA caused damage at two times in pregnancy: First, in early pregnancy, when the fetus' eggs were developing, causing the eggs to divide improperly. That kind of damage can cause birth defects, and has in Hunt's earlier mouse experiments.

This time, Hunt didn't study these monkeys long enough to observe any birth defects. Second, BPA caused problems later in pregnancy, causing eggs to be improperly "packaged" in the follicles in which they develop.

That could limit the number of viable eggs, impairing fertility, Hunt says. BPA can affect multiple generations simultaneously, says Andrea Gore, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Texas at Austin. That's because BPA can affect a pregnant mother; her unborn fetus; and, if that fetus is female, the fetus' future offspring, who will develop from her eggs.

"It's a three-for-one hit," Hunt says.

Ana Soto, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, praised Hunt's careful research.

Although the study was small, with only 19 monkeys, it is of very high quality. "This is very worrisome," says Soto, who published a paper in May showing that BPA also alters mammary gland development in rhesus monkeys.

Steven Hentges, a scientist with the American Chemistry Council, an industry group, says the study's small size makes it "of unclear relevance to humans." Government studies suggest that, "because of the way BPA is processed in the body, it is very unlikely that BPA could cause health effects at any realistic exposure level," Hentges says. "Regulators from Europe to Japan to the U.S. have recently reviewed hundreds of studies on BPA and repeatedly supported the continued safe use of BPA" (USA Today, 2012).

Title: Family Of Woman Who Was 'Raised By Monkeys' Speak Out
October 28, 2012

Relatives of Marina Chapman, the woman who says she was raised by monkeys for five years in the Colombian jungle, have spoken to the Telegraph about her remarkable story.

Ms Chapman's forthcoming book claims she learnt to catch birds and rabbits with her bare hands after being abandoned in the jungle by kidnappers.

The Tarzan-like episode was brought to an end when she was discovered by hunters, but by her ordeal continued when she was sold to a brothel in the city of Cucuta and groomed for prostitution.

She was eventually found living on the streets and was taken in by a family who adopted her.

Her cousin, Carlos Velasquez, described how she was believed to have survived amongst the animals for so long.

"Apparently she was very little and she saw the monkeys eating food in the middle of the jungle. In order to survive she would imitate, or eat what they ate," he said.

An expert at the state Environment Agency in Colombia explained how it might be possible for a human to survive in these conditions.

Antonio Ramirez said: "The social behaviour of the monkeys is such that they can embrace the human as long as it doesn't show any aggression."

Ms Chapman and her family have now decided to tell her story to help highlight the horrors of human trafficking in South America (Telegraph, 2012).

Title: Vaccine Bombshell: Baby Monkeys Develop Autism Symptoms After Obtaining Doses Of Popular Vaccines
November 3, 2012

Following a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which revealed that many infant monkeys given standard doses of childhood vaccines as part of the new research,developed autism symptoms, question marks over the ultimate safety of vaccines have come to the fore.

The groundbreaking research findings presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in London, England, have revealed that young macaque monkeys given the typical CDC-recommended vaccination schedule from the 1990s, and in appropriate doses for the monkeys’ sizes and ages, tended to develop autism symptoms. Theirunvaccinated counterparts, on the other hand, developed no such symptoms, which points to a strong connection between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders.

This development which deconstructs mainstream myth that vaccines are safe and pose no risk of autism, was brought on by after studies on the type of proper safety research on typical childhood vaccination schedules that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should have conducted — but never has — for such regimens.

Included in the mix were vaccines containing Thimerosal, a toxic, mercury-based compound that has been phased out of some vaccines, but is still present in batch-size influenza vaccines and a few others.

Also administered was the controversial measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which has been linked time and time again to causing autism and various other serious, and often irreversible, health problems in children.

“This research underscores the critical need for more investigation into immunizations, mercury, and the alterations seen in autistic children,” said Lyn Redwood, Director of SafeMinds, a public safety group working to expose the truth about vaccines and autism.
“SafeMinds calls for large scale, unbiased studies that look at autism medical conditions and the effects of vaccines given as a regimen.”

Adding to the sentiment, Theresa Wrangham, president of SafeMinds called out the CDC for failing to require proper safety studies of its recommended vaccination schedules. Unlike all other drugs, which must at least undergo a basic round of safety testing prior to approval and recommendation, vaccinations and vaccine schedules in particular do not have to be proven safe or effective before hitting the market.

“The full implications of this primate study await publication of the research in a scientific journal,” said Wrangham. “But we can say that it demonstrates how the CDC evaded their responsibility to investigate vaccine safety questions. Vaccine safety oversight should be removed from the CDC and given to an independent agency” (Vanguard, 2012).