Jul 22, 2009 | 6
Wild chimpanzees can become ill and die from a simian version of the AIDS virus, according to a paper to be published tomorrow in Nature (Scientific American is part of the Nature Publishing Group). The findings challenge long-held assumptions that chimps, our close relatives, could carry a simian version of HIV but not get sick from it.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) found its way into people from a similar virus carried by monkeys called SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus). Researchers studying chimpanzee populations in the Gombe National Park—where Jane Goodall worked—have found that some chimps infected with a certain strain of SIV were indeed contracting a simian version of AIDS. Autopsies of some of the dead chimps revealed similar organ degeneration similar to that found in long-term human AIDS patients.
Feb 25, 2009 | 3
After a 200-pound pet chimpanzee mauled a woman in Stamford, Conn., many people wondered how the animal, Travis, came to be living a suburban existence. But it could become tougher for chimps and other primates to move to the 'burbs if legislation passed by the House yesterday becomes law.
Lawmakers, by a 323-to-95 margin, passed the Captive Primate Safety Act, which is designed to keep primates (read: humans) from owning other primates by banning the interstate sale or purchase of monkeys, apes, orangutans, marmosets and lemurs. Soon after his birth in 1995, Travis was transported from Missouri to his home in Stamford, according to the Hartford Courant, where he last week attacked a 55-year-old woman who had been visiting his owner. Police called to the scene shot Travis to death; his victim is being evaluated at the Cleveland Clinic, which specializes in reconstructive surgery, for massive trauma to her face and hands.
Feb 20, 2009 | 3
Charla Nash, the woman who was badly disfigured when she was attacked by her friend’s pet chimp earlier this week, has been transferred to the Cleveland Clinic, which specializes in reconstructive surgery.
Nash, 55, was flown there yesterday after four teams of surgeons at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut stabilized her following Monday’s attack, the Associated Press reports. Officials at the Cleveland Clinic aren’t saying what the next step is in her care, other than that she’s being evaluated by a head and neck surgeon.
Paramedics who treated Nash described a gruesome set of injuries, telling the AP that the 200-pound pet chimp, Travis, badly wounded her eyes, ripped out her hair and left her mouth bleeding. She still had her nose, they said, but her hands had machine-like, “crushing” and “tearing” wounds. (Read more about what may have set off the pet chimp, Travis, in our Ask the Experts column on why chimps attack humans.)
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