2 gorillas at the San Diego Zoo test positive for COVID-19

January 13, 2021 by  
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Two gorillas have tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time since the pandemic started. The gorillas showed symptoms, including coughing, at the San Diego Zoo last week. The staff took tests, which came back positive early this week. “Despite all our efforts and dedication from our team members to protect the wildlife in our care, our gorilla troop has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the zoo. Related: WWF releases report on avoiding the next zoonotic disease pandemic Zoo officials indicated that the animals might have contracted the disease from an asymptomatic member of the staff. Specialists look at this incident as proof that the biggest risk in the transmission of the virus is proximity to the infected party. “The fact that we are just seeing the first evidence of ape exposure now after months of transmission potential for captive and wild apes underscores the importance of proximity, as opposed to contaminated surfaces, as the primary source of infection,” said Thomas R. Gillespie, a disease ecologist and conservation biologist at Emory University. Throughout the pandemic, there have been concerns about the possibility of humans infecting animals and vice versa. There have been some reports of humans passing the virus to pets such as dogs and cats, but there has been no conclusive report to ascertain the risk that animals face. The most severe cases were reported in Europe, where millions of minks on fur farms were culled . In another incident, a tiger at Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive for the disease in April 2020. Later the same year, four tigers and three lions also tested positive for COVID-19. The news of the San Diego Zoo gorillas contracting the virus is already causing concerns among conservationists. The biggest risk lies in Africa , where the only remaining populations of wild gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees are found. Given that gorillas and other great apes share approximately 95% of the human genome, they are likely to suffer similar effects of the virus as humans. “Confirmation that gorillas are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 does give us more information about how the pandemic may affect these species in native habitats where they come into contact with humans and human materials,” the zoo said in a statement. “By working with health officials, conservationists, and scientists to document this case, we will be expanding our knowledge about this potential challenge so that we can develop steps to protect gorillas in the forests of Africa.” + San Diego Zoo Via Mongabay Image via San Diego Zoo

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2 gorillas at the San Diego Zoo test positive for COVID-19

Hope for mountain gorillas: new census results reveal the population is increasing

May 31, 2018 by  
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Good news for mountain gorillas : the number of the  critically endangered apes residing in the Virunga Massif is up to 604 from 480 in 2010, according to a statement from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International . In fact, the World Wildlife Fund said (WWF) the mountain gorilla is “the only great ape in the world that is considered to be increasing in population.” In 1981, just 242 mountain gorillas lived in the Virunga Massif, a transboundary area spanning Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Several population counts later, though, the numbers are far more encouraging. There are now over 1,000 mountain gorillas in the world when the Virunga population is added to a separate one in Uganda. The population count comes from a recent census coordinated by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration  and in which the Fossey Fund’s Karisoke Research Center participated. The International Gorilla Conservation Program , a coalition program that includes WWF among its partners, backed the census. Related: Wild tigers are returning to Kazakhstan after 70-year absence 60 people took part in the census, walking through the gorillas’ range in two sweeps approximately three months apart. Researchers gathered information like hair and dung samples from night nets to work towards a population count and identify individual gorillas . The mountain gorilla population increase is due to daily protection, according to the Fossey Fund. But the fight isn’t over yet; the great apes are threatened by disease, snares laid for other animals, limited habitat, and climate change . Conservationists called for continued protection. “Dian Fossey thought mountain gorillas would go extinct by the year 2000,” Fossey Fund CEO Tara Stoinski said. “Their survival and continued increase clearly shows that intensive conservation efforts can work. The take home from the mountain gorilla story is that significant financial and time investment is needed for conservation to happen — there are no overnight fixes. We must be in it for the long haul and increase the resources available for conservation if we want charismatic species like gorillas, rhinos , elephants , and tigers to survive.” + Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International + World Wildlife Fund Images courtesy of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

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Hope for mountain gorillas: new census results reveal the population is increasing

Criminal charges possible in Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe’s death

June 1, 2016 by  
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Criminal charges may be possible after the death of Harambe, a 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo . This past weekend, a four-year-old boy climbed a barrier and fell into the gorilla’s enclosure. The gorilla appeared to behave in a threatening manner, precipitating the decision of a zoo response team to shoot Harambe in order to rescue the child. In a statement released on their Facebook page, the zoo said they were ” devastated ” by Harambe’s death. Director Thane Maynard said, “We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team. Our first response was to call the gorillas out of the exhibit. The two females complied, but Harambe did not. It is important to note that with the child still in the exhibit, tranquilizing the 450-pound gorilla was not an option. Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get worse.” Related: Polar bears are getting dosed with Prozac to keep them calm in captivity Angered, some members of the public are calling for justice for Harambe. A Change.org petition casting blame on the child’s parents has garnered around 349,400 supporters. The petition says the “negligence may be reflective of the child’s home situation” and calls for an investigation. In addition, activist organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which monitors zoos as part of the Animal Welfare Act . The group cast blame on the zoo and said the enclosure was not properly constructed. If the USDA finds the zoo has violated the Animal Welfare Act, the zoo could owe the government $10,000. According to USDA reports, a polar bear escape incident and deteriorating enclosures for horses and monkeys resulted in prior citations. The zoo said in their statement that Gorilla World, where Harambe resided, has been “inspected regularly” by the USDA. According to Maynard, the barrier around Harambe’s enclosure had worked “for 38 years.” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters confirmed the Cincinnati Police Department is investigating the death of Harambe. He said , “Once their investigation is concluded, they will confer with our office on possible criminal charges.” Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Facebook

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Criminal charges possible in Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe’s death

Young Gorillas Use Teamwork To Dismantle Poacher Traps and Protect their Clan

July 23, 2012 by  
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Time and time again, the planet’s great apes have displayed their intelligence through reasoning and even architecture . However last week, two young mountain gorillas in Rwanda showed just how smart they were by finding and dismantling a trap set by poachers that had previously killed a member of their family group. According to conservationists, this is the first time such actions have been seen. Read the rest of Young Gorillas Use Teamwork To Dismantle Poacher Traps and Protect their Clan Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: gorillas , great apes , illegal hunting , mountain gorillas , poacher traps , poaching , rwanda , snares

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Young Gorillas Use Teamwork To Dismantle Poacher Traps and Protect their Clan

Young Gorillas Use Teamwork To Dismantle Poacher Traps and Protect their Clan

July 23, 2012 by  
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Comments Off on Young Gorillas Use Teamwork To Dismantle Poacher Traps and Protect their Clan

Time and time again, the planet’s great apes have displayed their intelligence through reasoning and even architecture . However last week, two young mountain gorillas in Rwanda showed just how smart they were by finding and dismantling a trap set by poachers that had previously killed a member of their family group. According to conservationists, this is the first time such actions have been seen. Read the rest of Young Gorillas Use Teamwork To Dismantle Poacher Traps and Protect their Clan Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: gorillas , great apes , illegal hunting , mountain gorillas , poacher traps , poaching , rwanda , snares

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Young Gorillas Use Teamwork To Dismantle Poacher Traps and Protect their Clan

Paris’ Promenade Plantée Gave Inspiration to New York’s High Line Park

July 23, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Paris’ Promenade Plantée Gave Inspiration to New York’s High Line Park Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Bastille , eco design , elevated park , green design , high line park , High Line Park Paris , Paris Park , Parisian Elevated Park , Promenade Plantee , sustainable design , transformed viaduct , Vincennes railway

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Paris’ Promenade Plantée Gave Inspiration to New York’s High Line Park

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