Shanghai, China
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Zhang B.,Central South University of forestry and Technology | Ye P.,Shanghai Wild Animal Park | Lu L.,Central South University of forestry and Technology | Yao H.,Key Laboratory of Conservation Biology for Shennongjia Golden Monkey | And 3 more authors.
Acta Theriologica Sinica | Year: 2017

Non-human primates contacted by humans or disturbed by humans scause unbalance between gastrointestinal parasites and the host, resulting in gastrointestinal parasites infection, which further increases species and load. To identify if eco-tourism influences gastrointestinal parasites species and load, we screened fecal samples from one provisioned group and wild-foraging groups of golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)in Shennongjia national nature reserve, China. We found 5 gastrointestinal parasites: Amoeba, Trichuris sp., Ascaris lumbricoides, Enterobius vermicularis and Hookworms by formalin-ethyl acetate sedimentation. The results showed that the load of Amoeba and Enterobius vermicularis in the provisioned group is significant higher than those in the wild-foraging groups, while there is no significant difference in load of roundworm(Ascaris lumbricoides) although they are also found in both groups. Hookworms and whipworm(Trichuris sp.)only are recognized in the provisioned group. The addition of two species and high load of some parasites in the provisioned group is due to direct or indirect contact by non-human primates with humans(ecological tourism, etc.). © 2017, Science Press. All right reserved.

News Article | April 6, 2017

Last year more than 30 young elephants were captured from the wild in Zimbabwe and flown by plane to China. The elephants – some reported to be as young as three – were dispersed to a number of zoos throughout the country, including the Shanghai Wild Animal Park, the Beijing Wildlife Park and the Hangzhou Safari Park, according to conservationists. But what are their lives like now? This week, 12 of the calves went on show at the Shanghai park. The Weibo page for the zoo says their average age is four. The photos there were reviewed by Yolanda Pretorius, vice-chair of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group of South Africa, who commented: “Overall their body condition seems to be slightly below average but it does not look as if they are starving. One of the elephants has temporal gland secretions and I am not sure whether this is a good or bad sign. In the wild, elephants mostly secrete from their temporal glands when they get excited.” Meanwhile, recent photos and video said to show some of the elephants currently in Hangzhou reveal the animals behind bars and walking on concrete floors. The images were obtained by the animal welfare advocate Chunmei Hu, former secretary general of the Chinese Green Development and Endangered Species Fund. The video has been reviewed by elephant experts, including Joyce Poole, co-founder of the Kenya-based Elephant Voices and renowned specialist on elephant behaviour. “They appear rather listless,” she says. “Perhaps waiting for something, but without much attention… Their housing is totally unstimulating. They look like sad, locked-up little kids.” Aside from these snippets of evidence, there is little information on the conditions faced by these once-wild elephants. There is no official figures for how many elephants were sent to each zoo, although conservationists believe 17 of the calves ended up in Shanghai, 15 in Beijing and six in Hangzhou. “It is heartwrenching not knowing the current fate of these animals,” says Iris Ho, wildlife campaign manager at Humane Society International. “It’s like knowing that someone – or children in this case, since they are baby elephants – is in danger or trapped in misery for the rest of their lives but there is nothing you can do about it.” A 2016 report on elephants in Asia said that 47 zoos in China together hold at least 200 captive elephants – but the precise situation is “unclear”. Owners are supposed to register births, deaths, trade and movements, but the rule isn’t enforced or enforceable: “It appears that registration relies on voluntary compliance unless it becomes necessary in the interest of the owner.” In 2012 a shipment of eight elephants was sent to China from Zimbabwe. Distressing footage was shot of one of those reportedly sent to Taiyuan zoo. In the video, the sickly-appearing calf seems to be trying to smash his way out of his confines. Named Xiaofei, he still lives alone at the Taiyuan zoo, according to Hu. She believes that the other elephants imported into China that year are dead. Compared with the trade in ivory, which has led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants in Africa, the live trade in elephants receives far less attention. This is probably because it is legal, sanctioned by Cites, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species. A review of the Cites database shows many other wild elephant exports that took place over the last few years. Seven elephants were shipped from Tanzania to China in 2011, and two from Tanzania to South Korea. In 2011 and 2012 Monaco sold a total of 12 elephants, originally from Zimbabwe, to Denmark and the Czech Republic. They were probably performing animals. African elephants are a regular feature of the Monte Carlo International Circus. In 2012, Namibia reported exporting 18 elephants to Mexico (Mexico says that only nine arrived), while in 2013 Namibia sent six to Cuba. In July 2015, 27 wild elephants were shipped to Chinese zoos from Zimbabwe. Hu believes that one of those elephants is dead and that the others aren’t on public display. In September of the same year, China Central Television reported that 24 of the elephants were at the Changlong Breeding Center of Rare and Endangered Species of Wild Animals and Plants would be used for research. Last year, 17 elephants were sent from Swaziland to three zoos in the US. Initially, there were to be 18, but one reportedly died before leaving Swaziland. One of the conservationists’ concerns about the live trade is that there isn’t an independent body that adequately oversees these animals once they are captured and ultimately exported. Cites allows live animals to be sent to “appropriate and acceptable destinations”. But the decision about what is “appropriate and acceptable” is left to the importing country’s scientific authority. It has to be satisfied that the animal is suitably housed and cared for, while the country of export must be satisfied that trade promotes conservation of elephants in the wild. That’s not good enough for Keith Lindsay, a collaborating researcher with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants in Kenya: “There currently is under Cites no independent, objective mechanism of oversight or monitoring of the welfare conditions of elephants (or any animals) when they enter the live export chain.” The minimal welfare standards that do exist are left entirely to the authorities that are already involved in the import and export. “If both countries say they are happy with the welfare aspects of the trade,” Lindsay says, “no matter how genuinely inadequate, there is nothing anyone else can say.” What is needed, Lindsay argues, are Cites resolutions that specify stringent welfare conditions for the entire chain of live trade, including the eventual captivity: “The latter should replicate in every way the conditions of the native ecosystem, and there should be no impacts on the populations from which the animals are taken.” There was an effort at the most recent Cites conference in Johannesburg to stop the live trade in elephants, led by the African Elephant Coalition, a group of 29 African nations. But China, the EU, the US and Zimbabwe did not support the resolution and it failed to gain the necessary two-thirds majority to pass into law. Meanwhile, rumours continue to circulate that China has a standing order for 100-200 elephant calves from Zimbabwe. And according to Jess Isden of Elephants for Africa, a conservation and research organization based in Botswana, recent captures in Hwange National Park are already damaging elephant behaviour. Large numbers of elephants have begun migrating into Botswana from Hwange, some making it as far as the Botetei river, hundreds of miles from their home range. “The research is not yet conclusive,” she says, “but these animals, mostly young males, could be moving out of Hwange in direct response to the violent captures going on in Hwange.” As for the elephants most recently sent to China from Zimbabwe, it is unclear if they will be forced to perform, but it appears likely in some cases. China’s State Forestry Administration issued a directive in July 2010 to end acts of cruelty in safari parks, including a ban on animal performances. However, Hu claims, in many cases these rules are being ignored. Just weeks ago, she says she photographed elephants, tigers, macaques and bears being forced to perform tricks at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park. Photos of elephants said to have been taken at Hangzhou Safari Park in June 2016 also showed elephants performing tricks, including lifting people with their trunks and standing on stools. For Scott Blais, founder of the Global Sanctuary for Elephants, who has worked with elephants for decades, such “tricks” are often taught by brutal means: “Elephant experts and advocates across the globe oppose the horrific training these elephants will endure. These practices are well known to be detrimental, violent and grossly inhumane, causing immeasurable psychological and emotional trauma.” Efforts to ask Zimbabwean and Chinese Cites authorities about the condition of the elephants recently shipped to China met with no response.

Ren R.-M.,Peking University | Yan K.-H.,Peking University | Su Y.-J.,Peking University | Xia S.-Z.,Shanghai Wild Animal Park | And 3 more authors.
Zoological Studies | Year: 2010

Detailed accounts of social relationships in the golden snub-nosed langur Rhinopithecus roxellana are rare, and little is know about its social structure. The aim of this study was to contribute to the understanding of social relationships by analyzing patterns of affiliative and aggressive interactions in a captive group of this poorly known species. The 11 focal individuals were organized into a one-male unit, or OMU (i.e., a single adult male that associates with multiple adult females and their offspring), and an all-male unit, or AMU (i.e., a social unit formed only by males). One-minute instantaneous scans and ad libitum sampling techniques were used to record affiliative and agonistic behaviors, respectively. In general, OMU and AMU individuals displayed similar amounts of affiliative behaviors. However, affiliative interactions were more frequent within than between subunits. On the other hand, AMU members displayed more aggression towards members of their own subunit, and more often counterattacked any group member than did individuals of the OMU. Although OMU and AMU individuals did not interchange more agonistic behaviors with members of their own subunit than with members of the other subunit, they intervened more often on behalf of members of their own subunit, and against individuals of the other subunit. We discuss our results in the context of what is known regarding social behavior in captive and wild populations of this species and other primates with a multilevel social system.

News Article | December 23, 2016

More than 30 wild elephants were being readied on Friday evening for an airlift from Zimbabwe to captivity in China, according to wildlife advocates. The founder of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, Johnny Rodrigues, said on Friday that their plane was still at Victoria Falls airport because officials could not find scales big enough to weigh the animals, which were confined inside heavy crates. But once that was accomplished, he added, “they’re gone”. Some of the elephants are reportedly as young as three years of age. The live export of elephants is controversial, although legal. Wildlife advocates argue that elephants do not belong in captivity and the practice of wild capture disrupts the social structure of their herds. “Everything is wrong with [elephant exports],” said Daniela Freyer of the German-based conservation group Pro Wildlife, “starting from the welfare perspective. But also the conservation aspects are really important. There is a high mortality rate during capture and in transport and in captivity. It is morally not acceptable and not sustainable.” Dallas Zoo, which recently imported a number of wild elephants from Swaziland, says on its website that “those claims are unsubstantiated by science. Much of the information being cited is old, and doesn’t take into account the current methods of human care of elephants.” Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife management authority (ZimParks) announced in August that it would be capturing elephants from Hwange National Park in a conservation scheme that it said would repopulate another park in the country. But wildlife groups said at that time that they suspected the country was planning to export the elephants to China. Zimbabwe’s environment minister, Oppah Muchinguri, recently said: “Zim must sell its elephants because not only are they a global resource but also a local one, as it [the sale] will support the livelihoods of our local communities and for future generations.” Sharon Pincott, an elephant conservationist who monitored a clan of elephants in Hwange for 13 years, said: “What Zimbabwe is doing may be legal but it is in no way ethical, especially given all we know about elephant families today: their deep family bonds, their indisputable level of intelligence, the way they grieve.” Pincott said she did not know if some of the elephants being sent abroad could be the ones she studied for more than a decade. She also noted that the fragility of the young elephants could not be overstated as they were being deprived of their mothers’ milk. Patricia Awori of the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) Secretariat, a coalition of 29 countries that has proposed a ban on the export of African elephants outside their natural range, said: “The essence of being an elephant is that they live, function within and are shaped by their environment. Foraging for and consuming food, rolling in the mud, and frolicking with its siblings is an essential part of being an elephant. An elephant that ceases to be wild ceases to be.” The elephants will most likely be sent to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park and the Yunnan Wild Animal Park, according to Chunmei Hu, currently with the advocacy group the Endangered Species Fund in China. Hu has closely followed a previous export of wild Zimbabwe elephants to China in 2015. As of August, she said, the elephants were still in quarantine and she believes at least one of them is dead. Other zoos in China have requested African elephants, including the North Forest Zoo in Harbin, Ordos Zoo in inner Mongolia, and Beijing Wildlife Park, she added. Iris Ho, wildlife campaign manager at Humane Society International, said she was highly concerned over the elephant export: “The sales of baby elephants and other animals from Zimbabwe to China are possibly the worst-case scenario for wildlife caught in shady deals.” On the demand side, Ho said, “We have a country that continues to attract international condemnation for its deplorable treatment of iconic wild animals in captivity, from Pizza the polar bear in a Guanzhou shopping mall, to elephants forced to perform or languish in captivity.” And on the supply side, “We have a corrupt regime that disregards human rights and freedom, and that is selling its wildlife to the highest bidder with no meaningful oversight.” Efforts to reach ZimParks for comment were not responded to. Neither was an email to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species authority in Beijing.

Ren B.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Li D.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Li D.,China West Normal University | He X.,Shanghai Wild Animal Park | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: Infanticide by adult male occurs in many mammalian species under natural conditions, and it is often assumed to be a goal-directed action and explained predominately by sexual selection. Motivation of this behavior in mammals is limitedly involved. Methodology and Principal Findings: We used long-term reproductive records and direct observation in captivity and in the field of two snub-nosed langur species on the basis of individual identification to investigate how infanticide happened and to be avoided in nonhuman primates. Our observations suggested that infanticide by invading males might be more accidental than goal-directed. The invading male seemed to monopolize all the females including lactating mothers during takeovers. Multiparous mothers who accepted the invading male shortly after takeovers avoided infanticide in most cases. Our results conjectured primiparous mothers would decrease infanticidal possibility if they sexually accepted the invading male during or immediately after takeovers. In the studied langur species, voluntary abortion or mating with the invading male was evidently adopted by females to limit or avoid infanticide by takeover males. Conclusions and Significance: The objective of the invading male was to monopolize all adult females after his takeover. It appeared that the mother's resistance to accepting the new male as a mating partner was the primary incentive for infanticide. Motivation analysis might be helpful to further understand why infanticide occurs in primate species. © 2011 Ren et al.

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