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Silver Spring, MD, United States

Leighty K.A.,Disneys Animals | Valuska A.J.,Disneys Animals | Grand A.P.,Lemur Conservation Foundation | Bettinger T.L.,Disneys Animals | And 4 more authors.

Prior research has shown that the use of apes, specifically chimpanzees, as performers in the media negatively impacts public attitudes of their conservation status and desirability as a pet, yet it is unclear whether these findings generalize to other non-human primates (specifically non-ape species). We evaluated the impact of viewing an image of a monkey or prosimian in an anthropomorphic or naturalistic setting, either in contact with or in the absence of a human. Viewing the primate in an anthropomorphic setting while in contact with a person significantly increased their desirability as a pet, which also correlated with increased likelihood of believing the animal was not endangered. The majority of viewers felt that the primates in all tested images were "nervous." When shown in contact with a human, viewers felt they were "sad" and "scared", while also being less "funny." Our findings highlight the potential broader implications of the use of non-human primate performers by the entertainment industry. © 2015 Leighty et al. Source

Johnson Y.J.,Urbana University | Nadler Y.,Lincoln Park Zoo | Field E.,Urbana University | Myint M.S.,Urbana University | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

The movement of people and animals within zoos and aquariums poses a risk of zoonotic disease dissemination within human and animal populations. Flu at the Zoo is a table-top exercise designed to provide animal exhibitors and regulatory agency personnel an opportunity to evaluate their outbreak response plans. Developed for zoos and aquariums in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri, it created a realistic scenario of an avian influenza disease outbreak. A total of 82 participants attended the exercise held in June of 2012. Representatives from each of the 16 accredited zoos and aquariums in the region attended, along with representatives from the public health, agricultural animal health, wildlife, poultry industry, and emergency management sectors. Recommendations for the participants included the need for increased training opportunities for zoo and aquarium personnel on the Incident Command System and National Incident Management System. It was also recommended that communications be enhanced between zoos and aquariums and the local, state, and federal agency first responder personnel. Suggestions for improving the exercise included: providing the situation manual to players in advance of the exercise and creating discussion groups based on jurisdictional boundaries so that legal authorities and policy differences across state boundaries didn't impede the discussion. © by De Gruyter 2014. Source

Colbert-Luke D.E.,Association of Zoos and Aquariums | Colbert-Luke D.E.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Colbert-Luke D.E.,University of South Florida | Gaspard J.C.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology

Two experiments investigated the ability and means by which two male Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) may determine the direction of a sound source. An eight-choice discrimination paradigm was used to determine the subjects’ sound localization abilities of five signal conditions covering a range of frequencies, durations, and levels. Subjects performed above the 12.5 % chance level for all broadband frequencies and were able to localize sounds over a large level range. Errors were typically located to either side of the signal source location when presented in the front 180° but were more dispersed when presented from locations behind the subject. Front-to-back confusions were few and accuracy was greater when signals originated from the front 180°. Head-related transfer functions were measured to determine if frequencies were filtered by the manatee body to create frequency-specific interaural level differences (ILDs). ILDs were found for all frequencies as a function of source location, although they were largest with frequencies above 18 kHz and when signals originated to either side of the subjects. Larger ILDs were found when the signals originated behind the subjects. A shadowing-effect produced by the body may explain the relatively low occurrence of front-back confusions in the localization study. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Bauer G.B.,New College of Florida | Bauer G.B.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Gaspard Iii J.C.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Gaspard Iii J.C.,University of Florida | And 6 more authors.
Marine Mammal Science

Abstract: Two male Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) demonstrated sensitive tactile discrimination in a two-alternative forced choice task, using a modified staircase method. Stimuli were acrylic plates with vertical gratings of ridges and grooves. The standard stimulus, present on every trial, had 2 mm gratings and the comparison stimuli had wider gratings. The blindfolded subjects were trained to demonstrate discrimination by pressing the target with wider gratings. Discrimination thresholds (75% correct) for the subjects were 2.05 mm and 2.15 mm, corresponding to Weber fractions of 0.025 and 0.075, respectively. These results indicate thresholds on similar stimuli comparable to humans (index finger tasks) and better than harbor seals, Phoca vitulina, and the closely related Antillean manatee, Trichechus manatus manatus. Memory for the tactile task was quite stable for both subjects, over 2 yr in the case of one of the subjects. Video analysis of responses indicated that bristle-like hairs, perioral bristles, and skin on the oral disk were involved in the discrimination response. © 2012 by the Society for Marine Mammalogy. Source

Crawled News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

An endangered Amur leopard, which was euthanized on Tuesday due to kidney disease and old age, is seen at the Oregon Zoo in an undated handout photo provided by the zoo. "Given that there are fewer than 300 of these animals left in the world, every passing feels particularly poignant," zoo curator Amy Cutting said in a statement. Before her death on Tuesday, Kia may have been the oldest of her subspecies on the planet, the zoo said. She gave birth to nine cubs, or 3 percent of the world population of Amur leopards, over her lifetime. "She had a good life, raised a bunch of cubs and was an excellent mother," said Cynthia Kreider, who leads the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' efforts to boost and preserve Amur leopards in the wild. Populations of the giant cat, which are only found in northern China and Russia's far east, have been decimated by poaching, inbreeding and fires, with fewer than 70 of the animals believed to live in the wild. Kia's cubs are now part of an effort to breed and preserve new generations of the animals, the zoo said.

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