Extinct gibbon found in Chinese tomb a warning for the world

The piece of skull found in a Chinese royal tomb that uncovered the new genus of gibbon.

(CNN)Researchers have uncovered the skull and jaw of a now-extinct, but never-before-seen genus of gibbon, which they’ve named Junzi imperialis.

Importantly, the remains — which were uncovered from a 2,300-year-old Chinese temple — have evidenced the direct role of humans in Junzi’s extinction, the first extinction of its kind among primates, according to a new study published in the journal Science on Friday.
A female Hainan gibbon with an infant. The imperial Chinese revered gibbons.

“What’s outstanding about this study is that it represents a unique genera, that it’s something that is genuinely new to science,” said James Hansford, one of the authors of the study. “But it also represents the first known human-driven primate extinction that we know of as well.”
Many species have gone extinct. But since the end of the Ice Age, when humans started affecting species, there’s been no evidence of any human-driven ape extinctions, according to Hansford.
“All the evidence points to humans being the dominating factor behind the loss of this species,” said Susan Cheyne, a director of the Borneo Nature Foundation, who is familiar with the study.
“We thought that they had historically been much more resilient to human effects, but in fact they’ve actually been suffering for much longer than we thought,” said Hansford. “This will hopefully highlight the plight of gibbons and other primates in particular.”
A male Hainan crested gibbon.

Gibbons may be the smallest of apes but their behavior and presence are striking. They sing loudly and melodically, have developed an elaborate language, and can swing from branch to branch at speeds of up to 35 mph.
The bones were found at a royal temple in China in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province, which was formally an important imperial city. The temple is thought to be the tomb of Lady Xia, the grandmother of the Qin dynasty’s first emperor, according to the study.
The imperial Chinese revered gibbons, considering them regal members of the primate family — compared to monkeys, which were seen as rascally. As such, it was unsurprising to find these bones in a royal tomb, according to Susan Cheyne. Junzi means scholarly gentleman, and testifies to how the Chinese regard the primates.
Gibbons are found across Asia, with several species — including the Hainan black crested gibbon and the Cao-vit crested gibbon — being threatened by imminent extinction. There are only 26 remaining Hainan gibbons in the world, according to Hansford.
Hainan gibbons are found only on Hainan Island, China.

Living gibbon species are suffering more and more from both habitat loss and the illegal pet trade in Asia, according to Cheyne.
“We now know almost exactly if we don’t deal with this double whammy of habitat destruction and hunting. Eliminating one without the other is not enough,” said Cheyne.
Hansford hopes that we can use the study not only to inform the present but to improve it too.
“I hope we can highlight the plight of the living gibbons as well. We use the past to help understand the modern era and look to the future as well, so we can start to conserve what we have and regenerate the things we’ve lost.”

Police arrest pet owner who killed dog hunter in China

  • Tribune Desk
  • Published at 11:45 AM January 21, 2018
  • Last updated at 12:33 PM January 21, 2018
Police arrest pet owner who killed dog hunter in China
Screenshot of the CCTV still posted taken from Asia Wire via Metro. It shows the assailant shooting the dog and leaving

The pet owner is now being questioned by police

Police arrested the pet owner who reportedly killed a dog hunter at Yangzhou in Jiangsu province of China.

The dog hunter has allegedly killed the detainee’s dog with poison dart.

The pet owner chased and slammed the assailant “into a brick wall [of a shop] with his car” when he discovered his dying dog.

Meanwhile, the deceased is accused of killing half a dozen dogs using the darts, according to the Metro.

CCTV footage, which was shared online, reveals the dog hunter on his scooter shooting a dog with the dart gun and leaving.

Yangzhou city police confirmed that the man died at the scene.

The pet owner is now being questioned, they added.

The owner’s family have reportedly claimed that he got “the pedals confused as he was driving and did not intend to ram the suspected dog thief with his car.”

In December last year, eight gang members were reportedly arrested after 200,000 dogs were poisoned. The vendors hunted dogs and traded dog meat in restaurants, reports The Telegraph.

The dart, which instantly kills dogs, contains a large dose of muscle relaxant suxamethonium which could harm people who ate the dog meat.


Kangaroo Dies After Visitors At Chinese Zoo Hurl Rocks To Force Her To Jump

April 20, 2018

One kangaroo was killed and another injured at a zoo in southeast China
after visitors to their enclosure
sitors-throw-rocks/9682220> pelted the animals with rocks and other objects
in an apparent attempt to get the kangaroos to hop around. The abuse has
sparked fury online and prompted renewed scrutiny into the
-and-why-theyre-still-thriving> mistreatment of animals at Chinese zoos,
several of which have gained notoriety in recent years for cramped and cruel

Zookeepers at the Fuzhou Zoo in Fujian Province
<http://www.hxnews.com/news/fj/fz/201804/19/1500695.shtml> told the Haixia
Metropolis News this week that at least one visitor threw “multiple”
sharp-edged rocks at a 12-year-old female kangaroo in March to compel her to
jump, leaving her badly injured and in “deep pain.” She died a few days
later of profuse internal bleeding, her caretakers said.

A 5-year-old male kangaroo in the same enclosure was reportedly also injured
last month after a visitor threw part of a brick at him. The younger
kangaroo was not seriously hurt.

“Some adult [visitors] see the kangaroos sleeping and then pick up stones to
throw at them,” a Fuzhou Zoo attendant told the Haixia Metropolis News.
“Even after we cleared all the stones from the display area, they went
elsewhere to find them. It’s abhorrent.”

Pics of the bricks that visitors hurled at kangaroos at the zoo in Fujian,
killing one and injuring another. Zoo staff say visitors often throw objects
at animals despite it being ‘prohibited’.

– Bill Birtles (@billbirtles)
<https://twitter.com/billbirtles/status/987263932636151808> 5:37 AM – Apr
20, 2018

12-year-old kangaroo at zoo in eastern China died after being stoned by
visitors hoping to make it hop <https://t.co/HyrP46HQij>

– Sixth Tone (@SixthTone)
<https://twitter.com/SixthTone/status/987243239941050370> 4:15 AM – Apr 20,

Netizens in China and elsewhere have
> expressed their horror at the behavior of the stone-hurling visitors.

The Metropolis News <http://szb.mnw.cn/2018/0420/1368203.shtml> said on
Friday that their social media pages were flooded with readers’ angry
comments, with many calling for visitors who mistreat animals to be
“blacklisted” from zoos.

The Fuzhou Zoo said it had
applied for funding to install high-definition surveillance cameras to
better identify perpetrators. They added that now only three kangaroos would
be on display to reduce the risks to the animals.

Several Chinese zoos have made headlines in recent years for mistreatment of
animals. Last year, visitors were horrified when a
ers-zoo/> live donkey was fed to tigers at a so-called safari park near
Shanghai. In 2016, hundreds of thousands of people called for the
us_578c8b3be4b03fc3ee514af2> closure of Guangzhou’s Grandview Aquarium,
dubbed the “saddest zoo in the world,” after photos of the facility’s barren
enclosures went viral.

Such incidents have increased concerns in China about the country’s lack of
movement-calling-change> animal welfare laws.

Without such legislation, “we can only try to persuade people using common
sense and referring to animal welfare laws in Western countries,” Tong
Yanfang, an animal welfare advocate,
-and-why-theyre-still-thriving> told the South China Morning Post last year.

“For children and many adults who lack judgment, a wrong perception has been
built [in China] that animals are there for the entertainment of humans,”
Tong said. “When they see animals perform in a zoo, they won’t consider how
the animals acquired those skills.”

. This article originally appeared on
a572ce4b00a1849cf477d?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313> HuffPost.

Restaurant owner admits to hunting dogs with crossbow after being chased down by “vigilante”

A restaurant owner in Hubei’s Yichang city who hunted and killed neighborhood dogs for use in his signature dish was caught by police on Wednesday after being chased down by one vengeful pet owner.

On Wednesday morning, police in Yichang received a call from one man who said that his dog had been killed and that he was currently in a vehicle pursuing the culprit. When police arrived in the area, they found a black car abandoned on the sidewalk with one wheel missing and a severely dented back bumper.

Later in the day, shocking video began circulating on Chinese social media showing how the car came to be there at the end of a dramatic car chase with an SUV bumping the vehicle from behind, sending it spinning onto the sidewalk. The vigilante told police that afterward the driver had quickly fled the scene. Officers inspected the car, finding its trunk and back seat lined with eight dog carcasses, many of which were later identified to have been pets of local residents.

The driver did not get far and turned himself into police a short time later. According to the Chutian Metropolis Daily, he admitted that he was the owner of a small local restaurant which was known for its dog hot pot. In order to provide this specialty for his customers, the man went out hunting for dogs early in the morning with a crossbow. His wife came along with him to collect the carcasses after he shot them.

Police are currently investigating the case. It’s not clear if the man will face any repercussions for his actions, China has infamously loose laws when it comes to the protection of domestic animals.

This incident comes shortly after Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers, an American EDM duo, ignited outrage online after implying that he would not bring his dog to China for fear that it would be eatenin a promotional interview with a Chinese reporter in China. Pall later issued a half-apology for his comments while also pointing towards a petition to stop the infamous Yulin Dog Meat Festival, where thousands of canines are slaughtered each summer for food in southern China.

[Images via Chutian Metropolis Daily]

Animal Rights Activists Disrupt U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s Fundraiser

Animal rights activists staged a protest both inside and outside of U.S.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s campaign fundraiser over her ongoing
refusal to call off her $50 million plan to lease pandas from China and put
them on display in New York City.


China wants to lead the climate-change fight. It better solve its milk problem.

China wants to lead the climate-change fight. It better solve its milk problem.

In its effort to lead the global push against climate change, the world’s second-largest economy has assigned soldiers to tree-planting duty, spent billions of dollars on cleaner energy (pdf), and has actively pushed some of its cities away from using coal.

Still, China has yet to figure out what to do about one of its biggest environmental hurdles—its demand for milk.

That’s because the world’s most populous country is expected to almost triple its consumption of dairy across the next 30 years, according to a study published this month in the journal, Global Change Biology. To figure out just how much the world would be impacted by China’s appetite for dairy by 2050, a team of researchers led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences set out to assess what factors in the country would drive milk consumption and measure the ultimate impact.

In short, the rising demand for for dairy in China will increase the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions coming from dairy herds by 35%, it’ll require 32% more land be dedicated to dairy, and it will boost nitrogen pollution from production by 48%, according to the study.

The bad news is there’s no way to avoid the increases. The possible good news is that by modernizing how farmers handle nitrogen-rich manure, changing dairy cow diets to reduce methane emissions, and improving land management, the increases could be more modest.

The world’s 270 million dairy cows live on farms that produce the manure, ammonia, methane, and nitrous oxide that are negatively impacting the climate. The agricultural sector accounts for about 14% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations.

“The consequences of sticking to a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario are unthinkable,” the lead author of the study, Zhaohai Bai, has said.

Between 1961 and 2016, milk consumption in China increased more than 25 times to 31 kg (68 lb) per capita each year. (Milk is measured by the weight of its milk-fat content.) It’s now the world’s largest importer of milk and per-capita consumption is expect to increase to 82 kg per year by 2050, according to the study.

It’s become a familiar narrative, one that’s been unfolding in the nation for some time. China is developing rapidly, creating a larger middle class with more purchasing power. With more money to spend, the more people are indulging in dairy and meat products.

“For a more sustainable dairy future globally, high milk demanding regions, such as China, must match the production efficiencies of the world’s leading producers,” Bai said.

Animal Rights Activists and Billionaire John Catsimatidis Clash Over His Plan to Import Pandas


Dec. 27 2017 BY 

John Catsimatidis, one of the two billionaires helping U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney raise $50 million to rent a pair of pandas from China and put them on display in NYC, defended his plan during a dramatic confrontation with animal rights activists:


During the confrontation, Mr. Catsimatidis defended the importation of pandas on the grounds that New Yorkers want them: “We’ve taken polls. Ninety percent of New Yorkers say, ‘We love pandas, and we want them in New York.’”

The day after the clash, Mr. Catsimatidis invited protest organizer Donny Moss onto his radio show to debate the issue:

“I think that Mr. Catsimatidis genuinely cares about animals,” said protest organizer Donny Moss. “If he took the time to learn why holding wild animals captive for our entertainment is outdated and inhumane, then he might change his mind about renting pandas from China, and he might understand why the animal advocacy community in NYC must continue protesting his plan.”

Animal rights activists in NYC are protesting a plan to rent pandas from China and put them on display in NYC.

In February 2017,  Mr. Catsimatidis, Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and billionaire Maurice (Hank) Greenberg held a fundraiser called the “Black & White Panda Ball” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to raise money for the project, which is estimated to cost $50 million.  The gala raised approximately $500,000. Their charity, The Pandas are Coming to NYC, continues to raise money.

Your Turn

Please sign the Care2 petition asking Carolyn Maloney to call off her plan to import pandas into NYC for display.

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.

No infectious diseases found in illegal pig disposal clean up


2017-09-11 16:23Ecns.cnEditor: Mo Hong’eECNS App Download

(ECNS) — Three disposal sites where diseased pigs were dumped have been excavated and refilled after disinfection work was completed on Friday afternoon with no infectious diseases found, according to a circular released by the Huzhou government in East China’s Zhejiang Province.

The authority said over 223.5 tons of decomposed carcasses and sludge have been excavated and will be incinerated.

Local police found Huzhou Industrial and Medical Waste Treatment Co. had shipped pigs that died of disease to a landfill rather than for incineration between 2013 and 2014.

Digging and cleaning work began on Sept 1. A sample test by the city’s agricultural department said that no human-infecting pig diseases such as H5 and H7 bird flu viruses and foot-and-mouth disease had been found.

The local environmental service center will carry out an environment impact assessment, according to Xinhua News Agency. The Zhejiang provincial government has also sent inspectors to oversee the treatment process.

Five people have been detained following the inquiry.

Five detained after 300 tonnes of dead pigs dumped in east China


Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-11 12:28:44|Editor: Song Lifang

HANGZHOU, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) — Five people have been detained on suspicion of dumping 300 tonnes of diseased pigs in a mountainous area of Huzhou city, eastern China’s Zhejiang Province.

The city government issued a circular Monday accusing the Huzhou Industrial and Medical Waste Treatment Company of sending pigs that died of disease to a landfill rather than for cremation between 2013 and 2014.

Police investigation shows that the company, which is responsible for disposing the city’s dead pigs, has a refrigerated storage facility with a capacity of 50 tonnes. For six times, the company dumped diseased carcasses at three sites at Dayin Mountain whenever the facility was full.

Over the last week, the Huzhou government had dug out 224 tonnes of decomposed carcasses and sludge, which will be cremated.

A sample-test report by the municipal agricultural department said that no human-infecting pig diseases, such as H5 and H7 bird flu viruses and foot-and-mouth disease, had been found.

The authorities have ordered that the public security bureau, agriculture and environmental department and the local government to collectively ensure no carcasses are left in the soil. Later, local environmental service center will carry out an environment impact assessment.

The Zhejiang provincial government has sent inspectors to oversee the treatment process.

East China provinces are known for breeding pigs, and there are rules for disposing of carcasses. However, illegal dumping occasionally occurs when dealers try to save on bio-safety costs.

A big win for Asian bears and a big loss for bear farmers

A Moon bear is seen at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bears Rescue Centre in Tam Dao, outside Hanoi, Vietnam July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

A Moon bear is seen at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bears Rescue Centre in Tam Dao, outside Hanoi, Vietnam July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

For thousands of years, cultures in southern and eastern Asia have reached for bear bile to combat a whole range of aliments. Today, science has shown this wasn’t just superstition: bears are the only mammal to churn out large qualities of an acid shown to help the treatment of liver and kidney disease, as well as severe eye problems.

But in the modern age, the potential medicinal effects of bear bile have led to a rapacious underground of “bear farms” where the animals are basically squeezed like lemons for juice – only here, the process involves invasive, unregulated surgeries where bears are repeatedly tapped for their bile while captive in terrible conditions.

On Wednesday, however, opponents of the bear bile industry notched a significant win in Vietnam, one of the currents centers for farming. In Hanoi, representatives of the country’s Administration of Forestry signed a memorandum of understanding with Animals Asia, a Hong Kong-based nongovernmental organization. Per the fine print, the government and organization agreed to work together to rescue and relocate the 1,000 bears believed to be living on bear farms across the country. The agreement comes after years of campaigning by Animals Asia.

“Crucially, the government has agreed to close the loophole that has allowed bile farming to persist for the last decade,” Tuan Bendixsen, the group’s Vietnam director, said in a statement. With the accord, “they have agreed that there can be no bears kept on farms, because as long as they are there, they will suffer extraction.”

But problems remain, including how a cash-poor country like Vietnam can enforce regulation and also care for the rescued bears. This, coupled with a legal and profitable bear bile industry just over the border in China, could upset any full-court press to eradicate the industry.

Two species, the Asiatic black bear and the sun bear, are indigenous to the region. According to 2002’s “The Bear Bile Business: The Global Trade in Bear Products from China to Asia and Beyond,” medical texts reaching back 3,000 years to the Chinese Ming Dynasty first mention Asiatic Black bears as a species with curative properties. Studies would later tie these medicinal effects to the bear liver’s unique amount of ursodeoxycholic acid, a metabolic byproduct of bacteria in the intestine. In traditional medicine, however, the bile – which is sold both pure in small vials as well as an ingredient in other products – has been labeled a cure-all for everything from cancer to hangovers, National Geographic reports.

Traditional medical beliefs haven’t disappeared from the region due to a helping hand from the state. For the last 30 years, the governments in both China and Vietnam have invested in and encouraged traditional medicine as a parallel health system to the modern approach. The trend continues today: “The number of traditional medicine hospitals at provincial level in Viet Nam has expanded from 53 in 2010 to 58 in 2015,” a 2016 study on the bear industry conducted animal rights group TRAFFIC noted. “In 2015, 92.7 percent general hospitals in the country has traditional medicine department which has increased 3.2 percent in comparison with 2010.”

A Moon bear is seen at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bears Rescue Centre in Tam Dao, outside Hanoi, Vietnam July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kham
A Moon bear is seen at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bears Rescue Centre in Tam Dao, outside Hanoi, Vietnam July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

Bear farms reportedly first cropped up in the mid-1980s in China and quickly hopped the Red River south into Vietnam. The practice technically became illegal in the later country in 1992, according to Animals Asia, when the government passed a law requiring state approval to keep bears. A loophole, however, allowed people to have bears as household pets.

The legal gray area, coupled with the state’s inability to enforce the laws, led to a proliferation of bears in captivity on farms. Animals Asia determined that between 1999 and 2005 the number of bears on farms in Vietnam jumped from 400 to 4,000. In 2005, the government again passed legislation, this time outlawing bile extraction. But the agreement again allowed farmers to keep the bears they already had, and the industry continued.

The 2016 TRAFFIC report estimated there were still 13,000 bears in farms across Asia, with 10,000 in China, where the trade is legal. Around 1,000 bears are believed to be still on farms in Vietnam. Anti-bear-bile activists cite the conditions and treatment of animals as ammunition for their arguments. The bile extraction process is ugly stuff. Farmers conduct surgery on the animals to extract the bile, draining the liquid with a catheter or cutting passageways to the gallbladder.

In 2015, when Vice News visited a bear farm in the northern Vietnam “bears sat hunched over in cramped, rusty cages, panting from the heat and humidity. Their excrement sat in piles below each of their cages. The bears were thin and some were missing patches of hair.” A year earlier, Animals Asia toured a facility in Halong City, they found 20 percent of the bears emaciate, many severely malnourished, 20 percent missing a limb, 100 percent suffering from paw injuries from standing on bars.

Wednesday’s agreement between Animals Asia and Vietnam is the second major score for the group in as many years. In 2015, the Vietnamese Traditional Medicine Association promised to stop prescribing bear bile products by 2020. This week’s agreement with the government outlaws the private ownership of bears and calls for the confiscation and resettlement of the 1,000 animals currently living on farms.

The party next must move forward on securing funding for sanctuaries for the rescued bears. Animals Asia does have a location in Vietnam, but the relocation will take more space for the bears. Meanwhile, expert worry the bile market will simply move to nearby Laos or continue to flourish in China.

“This, of course, doesn’t end the work,” Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson said in a statement. “Quite the opposite, but it now means we work together with a common goal – to end this cruelty.