Scientists Create Early Embryos That Are Part Human, Part Monkey

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April 15, 202111:01 AM ET

Rob Stein, photographed for NPR, 22 January 2020, in Washington DC.

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Using fluorescent antibody-based stains and advanced microscopy, researchers are able to visualize cells of different species origins in an early stage chimeric embryo. The red color indicates the cells of human origin.Weizhi Ji/Kunming University of Science and Technology

For the first time, scientists have created embryos that are a mix of human and monkey cells.

The embryos, described Thursday in the journal Cell, were created in part to try to find new ways to produce organs for people who need transplants, says the international team of scientists who collaborated in the work. But the research raises a variety of concerns.

“My first question is: Why?” says Kirstin Matthews, a fellow for science and technology at Rice University’s Baker Institute. “I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we’re just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do.”

Still, the scientists who conducted the research, and some other bioethicists defended the experiment.

“This is one of the major problems in medicine — organ transplantation,” says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, Calif., and a co-author of the Cell study. “The demand for that is much higher than the supply.”Article continues after sponsor message


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“I don’t see this type of research being ethically problematic,” says Insoo Hyun, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University and Harvard University. “It’s aimed at lofty humanitarian goals.”

Thousands of people die every year in the United States waiting for an organ transplant, Hyun notes. So, in recent years, some researchers in the U.S. and beyond have been injecting human stem cells into sheep and pig embryos to see if they might eventually grow human organs in such animals for transplantation.

But so far, that approach hasn’t worked. So Belmonte teamed up with scientists in China and elsewhere to try something different. The researchers injected 25 cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells from humans — commonly called iPS cells — into embryos from macaque monkeys, which are much more closely genetically related to humans than are sheep and pigs.

After one day, the researchers report, they were able to detect human cells growing in 132 of the embryos, and were able study the embryos for up to 19 days. That enabled the scientists to learn more about how animal cells and human cells communicate, an important step toward eventually helping researchers find new ways to grow organs for transplantation in other animals, Belmonte says.


In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Human


Embryo Experiments Reveal Earliest Human Development, But Stir Ethical Debate

“This knowledge will allow us to go back now and try to re-engineer these pathways that are successful for allowing appropriate development of human cells in these other animals,” Belmonte tells NPR. “We are very, very excited.”

Such mixed-species embryos are known as chimeras, named for the fire-breathing creature from Greek mythology that is part-lion, part-goat, part-snake.

“Our goal is not to generate any new organism, any monster,” Belmonte says. “And we are not doing anything like that. We are trying to understand how cells from different organisms communicate with one another.”

In addition, Belmonte hopes this kind of work could lead to new insights into early human development, aging and the underlying causes of cancer and other disease.

Some other scientists NPR spoke with agree the research could be very useful.

“This work is an important step that provides very compelling evidence that someday when we understand fully what the process is we could make them develop into a heart or a kidney or lungs,” says Dr. Jeffrey Platt, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan, who is doing related experiments but was not involved in the new research.

But this type of scientific work and the possibilities it opens up raises serious questions for some ethicists. The biggest concern, they say, is that someone could try to take this work further and attempt to make a baby out of an embryo made this way. Specifically, the critics worry that human cells could become part of the developing brain of such an embryo — and of the brain of the resulting animal.

“Should it be regulated as human because it has a significant proportion of human cells in it? Or should it be regulated just as an animal? Or something else?” says Matthews. “At what point are you taking something and using it for organs when it actually is starting to think, and have logic?”

Another concern is that using human cells in this way could produce animals that have human sperm or eggs.

“Nobody really wants monkeys walking around with human eggs and human sperm inside them,” says Hank Greely, a Stanford University bioethicist, who co-wrote an article in the same issue of the journal that critiques the line of research, while noting that this particular study was ethically done. “Because if a monkey with human sperm meets a monkey with human eggs, nobody wants a human embryo inside a monkey’s uterus.”

Belmonte acknowledges the ethical concerns. But he stresses that his team has no intention of trying to create animals with the part-human, part-monkey embryos, or to even try to grow human organs in such a closely related species. He says his team consulted closely with bioethicists, including Greely.

Greely says he hopes the work will spur a more general debate about how far scientists should be allowed to go with this kind of research.

“I don’t think we’re on the edge of beyond the Planet of the Apes. I think rogue scientists are few and far between. But they’re not zero,” Greely says. “So I do think it’s an appropriate time for us to start thinking about, ‘Should we ever let these go beyond a petri dish?’ “

For several years, the National Institutes of Health has been weighing the idea of lifting a ban on funding for this kind of research, but has been waiting for new guidelines, which are expected to come out next month, from the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

The notion of using organs from animals for transplants has also long raised concerns about spreading viruses from animals to humans. So, if the current research comes to fruition, steps would have to be taken to reduce that infection risk, scientists say, such as carefully sequestering animals used for that purpose and screening any organs used for transplantation.

PETA: WHO’s New Live-Market Call to Action: Too Little, Too Late?

ShareTweetPublished April 14, 2021 by Katherine Sullivan.

BREAKING: In response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) partial call to action—suspending the sale of live mammals at food markets—PETA is nominating PETA Asia Director Jason Baker for the agency’s executive board.


PETA, PETA Asia, and our other affiliates have done the research, and we know that preventing future zoonotic diseases cannot be achieved by feebly halting the sale of only live mammals at food markets. Did avian flu teach the world nothing? It’s not just mammals, and it’s not just food markets—sales of birds, reptiles, and fish; fur and exotic-skins farms; and roadside zoos all risk the possibility—no, make that the probability—of spawning the next pandemic.


On March 25, 2020, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk sent an urgent letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

We’re writing to you urgently because, while the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic remains unpredictable, one thing is certain: Live-animal meat markets will continue to put the planet’s human population at enormous risk. On behalf of PETA and more than our 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, we respectfully ask that you call for the immediate and permanent closure of these markets, in which dangerous viruses and other pathogens flourish.

Now, more than a year later and following nearly 3 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide, WHO is finally doing something about live-animal markets, like the one in which the novel coronavirus is believed to have originated. But here’s where the agency stopped too short: It’s only urging countries to suspend sales of “live caught wild animals of mammalian species for food or breeding purposes and close sections of food markets selling live caught wild animals of mammalian species as an emergency measure unless demonstrable effective regulations and adequate risk assessment are in place.” But just as Newkirk said back in May, “for the sake of every other species sold and slaughtered in them—and for the survival of the human species itself”—all live-animal markets must be shut down.

Prior to WHO’s lackluster call to action, PETA had also launched an action alert, which more than 162,000 people signed, urging the agency to shut down live-animal markets worldwide; set up a “‘blood’-soaked ‘live market’” outside WHO’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., urging the agency in person to close all live-animal markets permanently; and, with help from Slaughter Free NYC, exposed the disgusting conditions at poorly regulated stateside live-animal markets, like those in New York City. Across the pond, PETA U.K. held its own protest outside WHO’s Copenhagen office, echoing our call for a total live-animal market ban. And PETA Asia conducted investigations into live-animal markets in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as follow-up investigations in Thailand and Indonesia months after the pandemic began, which verified that the bloody, filthy markets were still operating as usual, despite a mounting COVID-19 death toll. Throughout the investigations, PETA Asia observed that non-wild and non-mammalian animals were being trafficked, and they still posed a threat for the spread of disease—plus, these animals themselves are threatened by disease (consider, for example, the 1.3 million chickens Sweden announced it would “cull,” or slaughter, after it reportedly became the epicenter of a bird flu outbreak in Europe just a few short months ago).


Don’t wait for WHO or anyone else to protect you or the animals we should be living in harmony with. You can take action right now to help prevent the next global pandemic: Ditch meateggs, and dairygo vegan. And help others you know do the same. Feed them vegan food and they’ll never go back to those truly dirty dietary habits.


For over forty years, the Commerford Zoo has exploited Minnie and forced her to perform for their financial gain. Over the past two years, both of Minnie’s elephant companions died. She is now held alone, without the psychologically necessary companionship of other elephants, at the Commerford Zoo’s small farm in Goshen, CT. 


Please complete this action alert asking the US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to order that the USDA conduct an emergency inspection of the Commerford Zoo to ensure that Minnie is safe and properly cared for.

 ?Take future action with a single click.
Log in or Sign up for FastActionContact InformationPrefixFirst NameLast NameEmailRemember me so that I can use FastAction next time.Urgent concerns about an elephant at a Connecticut roadside zoo
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
I am writing to express serious concerns about the welfare of Minnie, an Asian elephant owned by the Commerford Zoo in Goshen, CT, who has not been seen in public for over a year.
Personalize your messageThank you for your prompt attention to this urgent matter.
Sincerely, [Your information here]

I Know Why the Caged Songbird Goes Extinct

An initiative of the Center for Biological Diversity

Yogyakarta Bird Market, Central Java, Indonesia. Photo: Jorge Franganillo (CC BY 2.0)

A rampant trade in Asian birds for their beautiful songs is emptying forests of sound and life.

Extinction Countdown

March 3, 2021 – by John R. Platt

Wild, Incisive, Fearless.

The straw-headed bulbul doesn’t look like much.

It’s less than a foot in length, with subdued brown-and-gold plumage, a black beak and beady red eyes. If you saw one sitting on a branch in front of you, you might not give it a second glance.

But this Southeast Asian native stands out in one notable way: It sings like an angel.

“It’s arguably the most beautiful song of any bird,” says Chris Shepherd, executive director of Monitor Conservation Research Society and an expert on Asian songbirds. “It’s amazing,” he adds.

The bird’s beautiful voice serves a vital ecological purpose: Males use it to attract mates. The better the song, the greater the chance of finding a female and propagating the species.

But the song has also come with a terrible modern cost. Humans have come to value the bulbul’s calls so much that they’ve collected the birds from almost every inch of their habitat. Captured birds, quickly caged, have been shipped to markets throughout Southeast Asia. Due to this overwhelming commercial demand, the species has disappeared from most of its range and is now critically endangered. Only a few pocket populations continue to hang on.

And the straw-headed bulbul is far from alone in this decline. Practically every songbird species in Southeast Asia faces a similar predicament. Many birds face the very real risk of imminent extinction, leaving some forests in the region eerily silent.

Recent research finds that several songbirds have become perilously close to vanishing — if they haven’t been lost already.

One Indonesian bird, the Simeulue hill myna, has only just been described as genetically and morphologically unique from other lookalike species. It probably went extinct in the wild in the past two or three years, according to a paper published last spring in the journal Ibis. As the researchers wrote, “On multiple recent excursions to Simeulue, most recently in July 2018, we were unable to find the bird and learned from locals that there had been a great drive to catch the last survivors on the island in response to a wealthy person’s bounty on these birds.”

The paper calls this an “extinction-in-process” and warns that any remaining birds left in captivity may die without producing offspring. Even if they do manage to breed, the researchers fear they could be hybridized with other similar-in-appearance mynas, obscuring their genetic lineage.

That same phrase, extinction-in-process, has also been used to describe the Barusan shama, which according to a 2019 study published in the journal Forktail has become one of the most threatened of Asian songbirds due to rampant collection. It’s now gone from all but one island.

Like the Simeulue hill myna, the Barushan shama’s plight went virtually unnoticed for years because many taxonomists have classified it as a subspecies rather than a full species. Newer research finds that it’s a species with four subspecies, few of which may now survive.

Not that the species/subspecies disputes matter too much at this point.

“Taxonomic debates about the rank of these forms should not stand in the way of trying to ensure the survival of what is clearly an evolutionarily distinct lineage,” says Frank Rheindt, a biologist with National University of Singapore and senior or lead author on both of the papers.

So what happens to these birds once they’re taken from the wild?

That’s where the story gets even bleaker.

Disposable Love

Songbirds are an important element of culture and tradition for many peoples in Southeast Asia. In Java, for example, it’s almost assumed that every household will have at least one pet songbird. The more birds, the more prestigious the home.

But wild songbirds in captivity…well, they don’t tend to last long.

“We’ve often called the caged songbird trade like cut flowers,” says Shepherd. “The birds look nice. They’re often inexpensive. You bring one home. It sits in a cage for a couple of days and it dies just like a cut flower. They’re not expected to live.”

And because many Asian cities feature massive markets full of birds that have been easily snatched from the wild — usually illegally — any bird that dies is relatively easy and inexpensive to replace.

Cages line the Malang bird and animal market on Java in 2016, Photo: Andrea Kirkby (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Even bird traders don’t put much value on their stock, since a new supply of wild-caught birds always seems to be waiting in the wings.

“I’ve seen some cages where the surviving birds are all sitting on top of dead birds in the cages,” Shepherd says. “You can’t see the floor of the cage. It’s covered with a few layers of dead birds, and then there’s some sick and half-dead birds perched on top of them. And they cost the dealers next to nothing. So, you know, even if they sell a few, they think they must be covering their costs or you wouldn’t have a business model like that.”

Although all of this seems to favor low-cost disposability, some species are captive bred by the thousands, and prices can soar for the right birds.

As with so many other groups of heavily traded species, the rarest birds fetch higher prices from collectors — a “better get them before they’re gone” collector’s mentality that pushes prices higher, drives further poaching and drives birds even closer to extinction.

The Simeulue hill myna, for instance, might have sold for about $100-$150, “certainly if a foreigner or non-Simeulue person asks,” says Rheindt. “This is easily 2-4 monthly incomes for rural people on the island.”

The Caged Bird Sings

Along with its rarity, a bird’s appearance is clearly a valuable trait to collectors. Some of the birds are strikingly beautiful, like birds of paradise and the Javan white-eye.

A kingfisher, looking a little worse for wear, in the Malang bird and animal market in 2016. Photo: Andrea Kirkby (CC BY-SA 2.0)

But the quality that typically drives up a bird’s market price?

That, of course, would be the song.

A good song can earn a bird owner a big payday. Entire competitions have sprung up that offer cash prizes for the birds with the best songs — up to $50,000, according to some reports. On Java these events are known as Kicau-mania (“kicau” is Indonesian for “chirping”).

The bird doesn’t get much for his work. Perhaps some food and a chance to sing again.

But it can take a lot of human effort to inspire them to sing for their suppers.

“People will keep the male birds in captivity for a long time,” says Shepherd. “Some birds don’t want to sing in captivity and take a long time before they adjust to the point where they’ll start to sing. Then they’ll train the bird. They’ll keep it near other males so it sings more frequently, because they naturally compete with their songs.”

This forced companionship changes the very nature of the song.

“Some birds pick up notes and sounds from other species,” Shepherd says. “Some of the species that are disappearing, they’re just training birds. They’re not even the ones used in competition. They just keep them beside other the species that compete so they have a more complex and unique song in the competition.”

After that, it’s a bit like a dog show.

“Everybody takes their bird in a cage and there are songbird judges. They walk around and listen to the song and there’s big cash prizes for the bird with the best.” (Most recently, these competitions have moved online due to COVID-19.)

Through all of this, the gift nature gave these animals to help propagate their species — song — ends up driving them toward extinction.

This makes the trade similar to trophy hunting, which values the biggest animals or those with the most beautiful features. “The strongest bird in the wild, the one with the greatest song, would be the one that would pass on his genes,” Shepherd says. “Those are the ones being removed from the wild. So, you know, only inferior birds are left behind.”

Unlike trophy hunting, however, where an elephant’s tusks can theoretically trade hands in perpetuity, a bird’s song is ephemeral — sung once, then lost to time.


Shepherd says the Asian songbird crisis went virtually ignored for many years. Relatively few scientists studied it, and funding for conservation remained scarce. That’s been a costly delay.

“One of the interesting and sad things is that lot of the species that I worked on in the early Nineties, the ones I tried to raise the alarm on, are now gone or almost gone,” he says. “And then the ones I was working on that were extremely common at the time are now the next wave that’s disappearing.”

Fortunately, that’s started to change. For one thing, scientific research about the trade and affected species continues to pick up. One of the most worrying studies came out last August and found that Java now has more songbirds in cages than in its forests. The study found that one species, the Javan pied starling (Gracupica jalla), now has fewer than 50 birds remaining in the wild, while 1.1 million live on the island in captivity.

Meanwhile governments, NGOs and other researchers have also stepping up their game. Conservation experts came together in 2015 to hold an event called the Asian Songbird Trade Crisis Summit. Two years later they formed the IUCN Asian Songbird Trade Specialist Group, which had its first official meeting in 2019. And over the past five years governments have started to take action, including seizing several large shipments of poached birds, although the trade remains mostly illegal and unsustainable.

Local groups have helped, too, which brings us back to the Simeulue hill myna and Barusan shama. A Simeulue-based organization called Ecosystemimpact set out to help the two birds at the beginning of 2020. Although their efforts were hampered by the COVID pandemic, they’re still trying to acquire any captive birds they can find to keep them out of the trade. If they do rescue any Simeulue hill mynas — such as four juvenile birds that reportedly recently turned up for sale on Facebook — they’ll need a permit from the government to breed them.

Even then, saving them from extinction won’t be easy.

“Hill myna are notoriously hard to breed, requiring large, tall aviaries with good vantage points over forested areas,” says program manager Tom Amey. “It’s not out of the question that hill myna will breed within our aviaries, but given their specific requirements, we feel it is unlikely.” They’re working on raising funding for new aviaries designed specifically for hill mynas.

They also hope to educate the community, to turn its love of captive birds into one that also supports wild populations.

“There is a distinct lack of bird song on Simeulue, especially within close to medium proximity of [human] habitation,” says Amey. “Our ambition is to bring the beautiful sounds of songbirds back to Simeulue’s forests and culture. Songbirds have played an important role in Simeulue culture and many members of the community wish to see them return.”

As with everything in the past year, progress to protect Asian songbirds has slowed down of late. “Unfortunately, the COVID crisis has been a huge, but legitimate, distraction from the global fight against extinction, and very little attention has been paid to such issues in the last few months,” says Rheindt.

Once the pandemic recedes, Shepherd suggests that tourism may play an important role in keeping birds alive, uncaged and in their natural habitats.

“There’s a very big birdwatching community,” he says, “and I think working with the community and with the birdwatching tour guides to raise awareness of the benefits of having songbirds around is important. The birdwatching industry’s worth millions. I think we need to raise awareness of the fact that you can lose your birds, but also awareness of the facts that having birds around is good for the environment, it’s good for your mental health, it’s good for all kinds of things — but it’s good for the economy.”

Until those messages resonate more than the ka-ching of a cash register, however, Asian songbirds will remain in crisis.

Russian MP moves to ban poaching of killer whales & dolphins in bid to shut vibrant but controversial marine mammal park industry

2 Mar, 2021 10:29 / Updated 3 days agoGet short URL

Russian MP moves to ban poaching of killer whales & dolphins in bid to shut vibrant but controversial marine mammal park industry

FILE PHOTO. An animal trainer during a killer whale show at the Moskvarium Center of Oceanography and Marine Biology at the National Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh) © Sputnik

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By Jonny TickleA leading Russian parliamentarian has proposed a new bill to ban the catching of marine mammals, which would eventually lead to the closure of the country’s many dolphinaria as collections could no longer be replenished.

Authored by State Duma deputy Svetlana Bessarab, of the ruling United Russia party, the bill would prevent the practice of taking mammals such as dolphins, seals, and killer whales into captivity, including for educational purposes. The aim is to stop the poaching of animals that have evolved to live in a large oceanic territory. Over time, as the animals currently affected eventually die, institutions with marine mammals would be forced to close.

While the practice is already illegal in many countries around the world, dolphinariums are a fixture of Russian resort towns. Furthermore, poachers also sell around 100 animals a year to China, for about $2 million each.ALSO ON RT.COMBig money makes solutions tough, Putin says, as first captured belugas and orcas are released

As things stand, capturing marine mammals is already highly regulated, with purchasing from illegal poachers completed banned. However, according to Bessarab, there is now an absurd situation where state agencies seize animals from criminals and then hand them over to dolphinariums for ‘safekeeping’, despite these institutions not being equipped to rehabilitate the animals.

READ MORE: Fight for freedom: Last batch of belugas on a doorstep of ‘whale prison’ ready to go to the wild (VIDEO)

In 2018, activists discovered around 100 whales living in tightly packed aquatic ‘pens’ in Russia’s Far East. The animals were later declared as having been illegally captured, and the local governor said they would all be released back into the wild. In November 2019, the last of the captured whales were finally returned to their ocean home.

Future Vaccines Depend on Test Subjects in Short Supply: Monkeys

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The Coronavirus Outbreak

Veterinary techs distribute food every morning to more than 5,000 monkeys at the Tulane University National Primate Research Center outside New Orleans.
Veterinary techs distribute food every morning to more than 5,000 monkeys at the Tulane University National Primate Research Center outside New Orleans.

Future Vaccines Depend on Test Subjects in Short Supply: Monkeys

Veterinary techs distribute food every morning to more than 5,000 monkeys at the Tulane University National Primate Research Center outside New Orleans.Credit…

By Sui-Lee Wee

Photographs and Video by Bryan Tarnowski

  • Feb. 23, 2021


Mark Lewis was desperate to find monkeys. Millions of human lives, all over the world, were at stake.

Mr. Lewis, the chief executive of Bioqual, was responsible for providing lab monkeys to pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which needed the animals to develop their Covid-19 vaccines. But as the coronavirus swept across the United States last year, there were few of the specially bred monkeys to be found anywhere in the world.

Unable to furnish scientists with monkeys, which can cost more than $10,000 each, about a dozen companies were left scrambling for research animals at the height of the pandemic.

“We lost work because we couldn’t supply the animals in the time frame,” Mr. Lewis said.

The world needs monkeys, whose DNA closely resembles that of humans, to develop Covid-19 vaccines. But a global shortage, resulting from the unexpected demand caused by the pandemic, has been exacerbated by a recent ban on the sale of wildlife from China, the leading supplier of the lab animals.

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The latest shortage has revived talk about creating a strategic monkey reserve in the United States, an emergency stockpile similar to those maintained by the government for oil and grain.

The United States has as many 25,000 lab monkeys at its seven primate centers. The majority are pink-faced rhesus macaques, like these at Tulane. 
The United States has as many 25,000 lab monkeys at its seven primate centers. The majority are pink-faced rhesus macaques, like these at Tulane. 
The monkeys may work for peanuts, but they are invaluable as test subjects for coronavirus vaccines.
The monkeys may work for peanuts, but they are invaluable as test subjects for coronavirus vaccines.

As new variants of the coronavirus threaten to make the current batch of vaccines obsolete, scientists are racing to find new sources of monkeys, and the United States is reassessing its reliance on China, a rival with its own biotech ambitions.

The pandemic has underscored how much China controls the supply of lifesaving goods, including masks and drugs, that the United States needs in a crisis.

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American scientists have searched private and government-funded facilities in Southeast Asia as well as Mauritius, a tiny island nation off southeast Africa, for stocks of their preferred test subjects, rhesus macaques and cynomolgus macaques, also known as long-tailed macaques.YOUR CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: We’ll send you the latest data for places you care about each day.Sign Up

But no country can make up for what China previously supplied. Before the pandemic, China provided over 60 percent of the 33,818 primates, mostly cynomolgus macaques, imported into the United States in 2019, according to analyst estimates based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The United States has as many 25,000 lab monkeys — predominantly pink-faced rhesus macaques — at its seven primate centers. About 600 to 800 of those animals have been subject to coronavirus research since the pandemic began.


Scientists say monkeys are the ideal specimens for researching coronavirus vaccines before they are tested on humans. The primates share more than 90 percent of our DNA, and their similar biology means they can be tested with nasal swabs and have their lungs scanned. Scientists say it is almost impossible to find a substitute to test Covid-19 vaccines in, although drugs such as dexamethasone, the steroid that was used to treat President Donald J. Trump, have been tested in hamsters.

The United States once relied on India to supply rhesus macaques. But in 1978, India halted its exports after the Indian press reported that the monkeys were being used in military testing in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies searched for an alternative.

ADVERTISEMENTContinue reading the main story

Eventually, they landed on China.

The pandemic upset what had been a decades-long relationship between American scientists and Chinese suppliers.

The Tulane lab is one of seven national primate research centers. When not undergoing research, the monkeys live in colonies with access to the outdoors and enrichment activities.
The Tulane lab is one of seven national primate research centers. When not undergoing research, the monkeys live in colonies with access to the outdoors and enrichment activities.
The United States once relied on India to supply rhesus macaques, but India halted its exports in 1978.
The United States once relied on India to supply rhesus macaques, but India halted its exports in 1978.

“When the China market closed down, that just forced everyone to go to a smaller number of available animals,” said Mr. Lewis.


Last songs – Paris to close its historical bird market

Last songs – Paris to close its historical bird market (

By Michaela Cabrera  2 hrs ago

Butter Isn’t Melting at Room Temperature in Canada. Should Americans Be…Dr. Fauci Just Said This is the Best Vaccine to Get

By Michaela Cabreraa group of people in a dark sky: FILE PHOTO: The Eiffel tower is pictured as the sun sets on a winter day in Paris© Reuters/Pascal Rossignol FILE PHOTO: The Eiffel tower is pictured as the sun sets on a winter day in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – Canaries, parakeets and zebra finches will no longer chirp from small cages in the shadow of Notre Dame cathedral, after Paris voted to close its 19th-century bird market, deeming it inappropriate for this day and age.

Held on Sundays, the market on the Ile de la Cite island in the Seine river has been a magnet for tourists and Parisians with children for decades, but an animal rights group’s campaign against it and plans to renovate the site led to a city council decision to close it.a group of people standing in front of a building: FILE PHOTO: Paris on lockdown marks one year anniversary of Notre Dame cathedral blaze© Reuters/GONZALO FUENTES FILE PHOTO: Paris on lockdown marks one year anniversary of Notre Dame cathedral blaze

“The market had become the epicentre of bird trafficking in the Paris region, including of endangered birds,” Paris deputy mayor Christophe Najdovksi told Reuters.

“A second reason for closing it is that the conditions in which the birds are presented are no longer acceptable,” he said.

Dating from 1808, the bird market is expected to close when the city completes renovation of the flower market hall, with historical cast-iron awnings, on the same spot in 2023-25.

Until then, bird lovers can still buy a parakeet for 10 euros ($12) or canaries and other songbirds for 25 euros.

The city said 13 people have a licence to sell birds at the market but only seven use it and most of them also sell other things like pet supplies.

“In coming months, we will help the bird sellers transition towards a new business model,” Najdowski said.

Albert Badalamenti, who has been selling birds on the market for 38 years, acknowledged that some sellers were not respecting the rules but said it was up to police to enforce those.

“They said they would recycle us, find us another job. What I fear is bankruptcy. What are we going to do with all this stock?” he said, pointing at outdoor aviaries holding hundreds of birds at his breeding station north of Paris.

Animal rights activist Amandine Sanvisens of Paris Animaux Zoopolis said the bird market closure is long over due.

“Animals are not merchandise. They should not be sold like shoes or handbags.”

($1 = 0.8175 euros)

(Reporting by Michaela Cabrera, additional reporting by Clotaire Achi; writing by Geert De Clercq, editing by Alexandra Hudson)

Two Sumatran tigers escape Indonesian zoo, one shot dead

AFP  6 hrs ago

Two Sumatran tigers escape Indonesian zoo, one shot dead (

Fox News cancels Lou Dobbs’ programTwo Sumatran tigers escape Indonesian zoo, one shot dead

A critically endangered Sumatran tiger was shot dead on Saturday while another is still on the loose after they escaped from a zoo on Borneo island, leaving a zookeeper dead, an official said.a zebra standing on top of a tiger: Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild© JUSTIN SULLIVAN Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild

The tigers, both female and about 18 months old, escaped from Sinka Zoo in the town of Singkawang, West Kalimantan late Friday after days of torrential rain caused a landslide and opened a tunnel allowing their exit. 

A 47-year-old zookeeper was found dead with scratches and bite wounds on his body.

Authorities also found dead a cassowary, ostrich and monkey near the tiger cage. 

Police and conservation officials were immediately dispatched to search for the tigers. 

Nearby tourism attractions were ordered to close and locals were told to stay at home while police searched for the animals. 

“We tried with a tranquilliser gun first but it didn’t work, so we were forced to shoot the tiger because it was already behaving very aggressively,” Sadtata Noor Adirahmanta, the head of a local conservation agency, told AFP.

“We were afraid it would escape to the nearest neighbourhood. Although we tried our best to catch it alive, our priority is humans’ safety,” he added. 

Authorities are still looking for the other tiger in the jungle surrounding the zoo.

A cage with animal prey inside has been prepared in hope the escaped tiger will return to the zoo at her feeding time.

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild.

Tiger parts are widely used in traditional medicine — particularly in China — despite overwhelming scientific evidence they have no beneficial value.

Oklahoma judge orders ‘Tiger King’ zoo to turn over big cats

January 19, 2021, 11:40 AM

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — A federal judge in Oklahoma has ordered the new owners of an Oklahoma zoo featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary to turn over all the lion and tiger cubs in their possession, along with the animals’ mothers, to the federal government.

U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III issued the order last week in the case against Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe and the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park based on claimed violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.

“The Lowes have showed a shocking disregard for both the health and welfare of their animals, as well as the law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jonathan D. Brightbill of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Jeffrey Lowe’s attorney, Daniel Card of Oklahoma City, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The Lowes took over operations of the zoo, which was previously run by Joseph Maldonado-Passage — also known as Joe Exotic — and featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”

Maldonado-Passage is serving a 22-year sentence in a Fort Worth, Texas, federal prison for his conviction on charges that he participated in a murder-for-hire plot and violated federal wildlife laws. Maldonado-Passage has formally requested a pardon from outgoing President Donald Trump.

New owners of Tiger King zoo ordered to surrender cubs

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Joe Exotic and a tiger
image captionJoe Exotic is currently serving a 22 year jail sentence

The new owners of an Oklahoma zoo featured in the hit Netflix documentary Tiger King have been ordered to surrender all tiger cubs and their mothers to the federal government.

The case was filed against Jeff and Lauren Lowe, owners of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.

They are accused of violating the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.

Mr Lowe is the former business partner of Joe Exotic, star of the hit show.

Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 22-year sentence for his involvement in a contract killing plot and animal abuse.

“The Lowes have showed a shocking disregard for both the health and welfare of their animals, as well as the law,” said the acting assistant attorney general Jonathan D Brightbill of the Justice Department’s environment and natural resources division.

Both Jeff and Lauren Lowe appeared in Tiger King.

The court found that the pair’s “failure to provide safe conditions, proper nutrition, and timely veterinary care resulted in harm to a number of animals, including the death of two tiger cubs less than a week apart”.

The court rejected claims by the Lowes that they were not “exhibitors” under the Animal Welfare Act as the zoo was still under construction.

Joe Exotic has formally requested a pardon from US President Donald Trump, who is expected to pardon dozens of people in his final hours in office.