Lemurs Parrots Elephants Chimps and Manatees

Hurst: Hello Carol, how are you?

Carol: I’m doing quite well! I’m highly caffeinated and ready to talk about some animal news!

Hurst: Well enough monkey business, time to get down to business…about monkeys. A recent report has stated that endangered lemurs are being served in restaurants in Madagascar. This is especially disappointing since 90% percent of lemur species are threatened. Restaurant guests are said to use a code to order lemur meat. Lemurs have traditionally been eaten by people living in the rainforests, but now people in urban areas want to eat lemur “just to try it,” not out of necessity.

Carol: Well that is disappointing to hear. Hopefully tastes change, and better policy is enforced.  By the way, as much as I like your puns, lemurs aren’t monkeys.  I have to throw that in or I’d be in trouble with my biology professor brother-in-law.  

Hurst:  Ok, good to note. Also good idea to preserve those family relationships around the holidays.

Carol: In other news,the Wildlife Conservation Society is in the process of rehabilitating African Grey Parrots that were rescued from the illegal pet trade. These animals had been captured by luring them in with distress calls from already captured birds, trapping them with glue coated palms leaves and collecting them once they fall to the ground. This inhumane process plus the international shipping of the birds is extremely stressful and results in a high mortality rate among the parrots.But thanks to the WCS, almost 900 rescued parrots have been successfully released into the wild. This is vital since nearly 99% of African grey parrots have been eliminated from Ghana’s forests.

Hurst: Sad to hear this industry is such a problem, but encouraging to know that it is being worked on!  I hope you’ve been enjoying Manatee awareness month so far?  I know how you love animal weeks and month celebrations.

Carol: I sure do. They seem like an easy and fun way to draw attention to animals’ unique characteristics or some of the threats they face. For example, did you know that collisions with watercraft is the leading cause for Florida manatee injuries and death?  They also face decline because of an increasing loss of natural warm water habitat, stemmed mostly from residential development.

Hurst: So our habitat is harming theirs.  

Carol: I’m afraid so. Our really big story of the week is still unfolding but it is certainly one to watch – the ban on ivory trade.

Hurst: Yeah, President Trump made quite a stir in conservation circles when he tweeted that he would lift the ban on ivory imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia. He later retracted that stating that his Administration was still deliberating the issue. National Geographic did a nice article explaining the background on the ban and the various perspectives on the issue. This is probably a story that we’ll be watching to see how it unfolds.

Carol: Another news piece that caught my eye this week was the photo essay about animal-human friendships in the Washington Post. These are gorgeous images that no animal lover will want to miss.

Hurst: Photos caught your eye. Are you trying to make a pun?  

Carol: So as I was saying, I’m not sure how I feel about the bread stick insects as companions but I could definitely see myself living with Bonaventura the 27-year old donkey.

Hurst: Animals certainly do have individual personalities. Anyone who has had a pet can attest to that. In fact, an academic paper on chimpanzees in Tanzania has now proven this. This paper was published in late October in the scientific journal Nature but has started to get press through the New York Times and Mongabay.

Carol: Yeah, I read that Jane Goodall feels a bit vindicated because she’s been saying since the she studied chimps in Tanzania in the 1950s and 1960s. I’m kind of excited about seeing the new documentary “Jane” about her early work.  She’s the top banana in my book!

Hurst: Of all the puns we’ve made today, I think that banana one might just be the worst of the bunch. Get it? Like a bunch of bananas?

Carol: Okay well I think thats enough news and puns. See you next week!


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