Shanghai, China
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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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