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Posts Tagged "apes"

Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: The Importance of Play

Suci breastfeeding 3-year-old Siboy, who must still be carried by his mother while traveling through the canopy. (Photo: James Askew)

The past couple of months have been excellent for our data collection, as we’ve encountered a number of parties of orangutans. This is a more common occurrence in the high productivity forests of Sumatra, where we’re working, than on Borneo, where animals tend to be much more dispersed due to limitations in food availability. For [...]

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Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: Rescuing a Crashed Drone

Using a second UAV, SOCP's Graham Usher was able to locate the drone lost the week before, which sat on top of the tree canopy. (Photo by Graham Usher)

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part post about using drone technology to search for orangutans around the Sikundur research station in North Sumatra. To read the first part, click here. For all posts in the series, “Call of the Orangutan,” click here. After our drone, which was designed to help our [...]

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Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: Using Drones to Scan the Forest

A collection of photos of orangutan nests taken by different survey flights. (Photo courtesy of Conservation Drones)

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a two-part post about using drone technology to search for orangutans around the Sikundur research station in North Sumatra. To read the second part, click here. For all posts in the series, “Call of the Orangutan,” click here. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are increasingly being [...]

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Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: Injuries and Their Limitations

Gradually the wounds became better, and the color came back, indicating a higher level of blood supply. Siboy would often try to groom his mother, picking at the open wounds.

This last month has been extremely stressful for all of us at Sikundur research station in North Sumatra while we’ve been following two of our favorite orangutans, Suci and her 3-year-old infant Siboy. As I mentioned in a previous blog, while I was in Medan for a break the boys sent me a text saying [...]

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Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: How to Follow an Orangutan

Siboy

In my previous post, I wrote about the first task in studying orangutan behavior: finding the animals. In this one I’ll explain the second major task: following them. First things first, not to spoil anyone’s ideas about the glamor of being an orangutan researcher, but in my honest opinion the majority of “follows” are awful! [...]

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Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: How to Find an Orangutan

Field assistant Ben searches for an orangutan at location A425 on the Sikundur grid.

While many animal researchers use fancy scientific methods to analyze data and samples they’ve collected, the mechanics of virtually every animal behavior study begins with finding an animal or animals and recording its or their behavior at a given interval to produce what’s called an ethogram. So, in this blog I’ll be running through the [...]

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Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: An Ape Named James

Siboy

It has been an exceptionally exciting and productive first month for me at the Sikundur research station. I couldn’t have asked for much more in terms of data, and it’s been so hectic that sitting here in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra, it seems like far longer than a month since I started! [...]

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Extinction Countdown

How Zoos Acquire Endangered Species

orangutan bob oregon zoo

How do you transport two young orangutans to a zoo thousands of kilometers away from their native lands? Here’s the simple answer: FedEx. Here’s the less simple answer: It’s a lot of work. Meet Bob and Kumar Kumar and Bob are in playful moods on the rainy morning that I see them at Oregon Zoo [...]

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Extinction Countdown

If Apes Go Extinct, So Could Entire Forests

bonobo

Bonobo poop matters. Well, maybe not the poop itself, but what’s in it. You see, bonobos eat a lot of fruit, and fruit contains seeds. Those seeds travel through a bonobo’s digestive system while the bonobo itself travels through the landscape. A few hours later, the seeds end up being deposited far from where the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

$10-Million Action Plan Aims to Save World’s Most Endangered Gorilla

cross river gorilla

Great apes, and species in general, don’t get much rarer than the critically endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). Fewer than 300 of these rarely seen gorillas remain, scattered across 12,000 square kilometers of habitat along the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Although legally protected in both countries, very little of the territory in [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Typhoid Monkey: Can Social Networks Predict the Apes Most Likely to Transmit Disease?

orangutan

A few months ago I had a conversation with someone who had just canceled a long-planned trip to see mountain gorillas in Uganda. It wasn’t an easy decision, but she had just gotten over a bad case of the flu. She knew that many human diseases have made their way into gorilla populations and didn’t [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Chimpanzees May Finally Gain Full Protection under the Endangered Species Act

captive chimpanzee

A long-in-place loophole that exempted captive-bred chimpanzees from the full protections of the Endangered Species Act may finally be closed, Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), announced on June 11. For decades now, wild-born chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have been classified as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Captive-born chimps, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Satellite Reveals Possible Habitats for Rare Apes in China and Vietnam

Cao Vit Gibbon

Fan Peng-Fei of China’s Dali University was worried the first time he entered the forest habitat of the critically endangered cao vit gibbon (Nomascus nasutus). The isolated forest, skirting the China–Vietnam border, had been heavily degraded by years of agricultural development, firewood collection and charcoal production. What little forest remained provided poor habitat for the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Great Apes in Crisis: Thousands Poached and Stolen from the Wild Annually

caged chimpanzee

Nearly 3,000 chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans are illegally killed or stolen from the wild each year, according to a new report from the United Nations Environmental Programme’s (UNEP) Great Apes Survival Partnership (GASP). The report, released to coincide with this week’s meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Chimps Infected with Human Diseases Pose Possible Risk to Reintroduction Efforts

When a wild animal is rescued from poachers or wildlife smugglers, conservationists usually make an effort to rehabilitate it and return it to life in its native habitat. But what if the animal contracted a disease from humans during captivity that could then be transmitted back to the rest of its species? Should that animal [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Nearly Extinct Primate Rediscovered in Borneo [Video]

langurs

Researchers working on the island of Borneo have discovered two tiny new populations of Miller’s grizzled langurs (Presbytis hosei canicrus), one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates. The species is so rare that it has probably disappeared from all of its previously known habitats, which have been almost completely logged and burned out of [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Illegal Deforestation Threatens the Last 23 Hainan Gibbons [Video]

The world’s final 23 Hainan black-crested gibbons (Nomascus hainanus) are making what may be their last stand in China, where their jungle habitat is being wiped out at a rate of 200,000 square meters a day, according to a new report from Greenpeace International. Hainan gibbons are the world’s rarest primates. Sixty years ago they [...]

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Observations

When Earth Really Was the Planet of the Apes

Miocene apes

As movie theaters across the U.S. prepare to welcome throngs of bipedal primates to screenings of Rise of the Planet of the Apes this weekend, it seems appropriate to reflect on a time in Earth’s history when nonhuman apes actually did reign supreme. It’s hard to imagine, because so few ape species exist today and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Zihlman’s ‘pygmy chimpanzee hypothesis’

What the hell, something else from the archives. So much for plans to publish new stuff (such as the long-awaited take on the recent Dinosaur Art event, and on the book). Anyway, the article here first appeared on Tet Zoo ver 2 in November 2009 and resulted in quite a few comments. I’ve made no [...]

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