SpiderMonkeyTales is Back!

I have decided to continue blogging at SpiderMonkeyTales. I will continue to use this site for my webpage, but I like blogging at blogspot a lot better than WordPress! So follow me there if you want to stay up-to-date on my current blog posts.

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Meet my focal animals!

This summer, I am collecting data on chimpanzees at the North Carolina Zoo. The zoo has an online chimp guide so you can see their pictures and learn a bit about them. There are currently 12 adults and 5 immatures that are housed in two social groups. The zoo utilizes a modified fission-fusion management, in which some chimps can shift between the two groups. These chimps have diverse histories–one was raised in entertainment,and a couple others came from labs. However, for the most part, they are well-socialized and engage in typical chimp behavior.

There are so many wonderful chimps, but there’s two in particular I want to introduce. The first is little baby Gus, who was born right at the beginning of my study!

The second is Kendall.  Kendall was raised in the entertainment industry, and arrive at the NC Zoo in 2007 with limited social skills. However, he’s now successfully integrated in a social group. Although he doesn’t have the skills to safely be integrated with the males in the other groups, he’s doing well with a group of females. He’s still very human-oriented–he can be a bit of a loner, and likes to go up to the window to interact with visitors. However, he does socialize with the other chimps, occasionally grooming with the females or playing with the babies. He also does a great job of intervening when the lowest-ranking female gets picked on! He’s a great guy, and inspired The Kendall Project, which raises awareness of chimpanzees in entertainment.

Kendall. From The Kendall Project


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More conservation news


Flanged male orangutan taken via camera trap at Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo

Flanged male orangutan taken via camera trap at Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo

Climate Change and Wildlife (WWF)

The WWF highlights a number of animals that are particularly vulnerable to climate change, including orangutans and gorillas.’

Indonesia Activist Wins Goldman Prize for Fighting Palm Oil, Deforestation (Mongabay)

Here’s a conservation success story! Indonesian biologist Rudi Putra has worked hard protect the wildlife in Sumatra. His efforts include petitioning the government and local police to enforce conservation laws, shut down illegal palm oil plantations, and establish a wildlife corridor through land previously cleared for palm oil cultivation. He is being awarded with the Goldman Prize, which recognizes environmental activism, and will be putting the prize money toward further conservation efforts.

Can Gorillas Save the Democratic Republic of Congo (Daily Beast)

This article discusses the possibility of revenue from gorilla tourism on the DRC side of the Virungas to bring stability to this region. However, they have what they refer to as “a Congolese Catch-22.” It’s hard to attract investment and tourists without peace and stability. But they development of tourist infrastucture could serve as a major economic incentive that could foster stability.

It’s definitely an interesting read, and includes an interview with Emmanuel de Merode (the director who was recently shot).

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Interview with the founder of the largest orangutan sanctuary

Image from Borneo Orangutan Survival

Interview with Lone Droscher Nielsen, who is the founder of Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Nyaru Menting Orangutan Rescue Center.

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Orangutans: As Humans as You or Me?

From BBC’s Orangutans as Humans as You or Me?

This is a clip from the Life of Mammals (Food for Thought). On one hand, I think it’s fascinating–orangutans are amazing at picking things up just from observing humans! However, all of these behaviors are a result of living in captivity among humans. As Attenborough points out, the orangutans spontaneously engaged in these behaviors–they weren’t trained to do so. However, they nonetheless are engaging in these human-like behaviors because they’ve spent so much time around and observing humans.


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