• Behavior coding and ethogram of Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi)

      Cui, Duoying; Niu, K.; Tan, Chia L.; Yang, M.; Zhang, Y.; Zhang, J.; Yang, Y. (2014)
      We observed the behavior processes and habitats of free-ranging Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi) in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) and captive Guizhousnub-nosed monkeys in Wildlife Rescue Center in FNNR and Beijing Zoo from October 2009 to April 2014…. We found that there were some behavioral differences among Guizhou snub-nosed monkey, Sichuan snub-nosed monkey and Yunnan snub-nosed monkey in individual and social behaviors, and these might be related to the different habitats.
    • Diet Versus Phylogeny: a Comparison of Gut Microbiota in Captive Colobine Monkey Species

      Hale, Vanessa L; Tan, Chia L.; Niu, Kefeng; Yang, Yeqin; Knight, Rob; Zhang, Qikun; Cui, Duoying; Amato, Katherine R (2018)
      Both diet and host phylogeny shape the gut microbial community, and separating out the effects of these variables can be challenging. In this study, high-throughput sequencing was used to evaluate the impact of diet and phylogeny on the gut microbiota of nine colobine monkey species (N = 64 individuals)....
    • Effect of preservation method on spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) fecal microbiota over 8 weeks

      Hale, Vanessa L.; Tan, Chia L.; Knight, Rob; Amato, Katherine R. (2015)
      …Gut microbes play an important role in human and animal health, and gut microbiome analysis holds great potential for evaluating health in wildlife, as microbiota can be assessed from non-invasively collected fecal samples. However, many common fecal preservation protocols (e.g. freezing at ?80°C) are not suitable for field conditions, or have not been tested for long-term (greater than 2weeks) storage. In this study, we collected fresh fecal samples from captive spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) at the Columbian Park Zoo (Lafayette, IN, USA)….
    • Effects of field conditions on fecal microbiota

      Hale, Vanessa L.; Tan, Chia L.; Niu, Kefeng; Yang, Yeqin; Cui, Duoying; Zhao, Hongxia; Knight, Rob; Amato, Katherine R. (2016)
      Gut microbiota can provide great insight into host health, and studies of the gut microbiota in wildlife are becoming more common. However, the effects of field conditions on gut microbial samples are unknown. This study addresses the following questions: 1) How do environmental factors such as sunlight and insect infestations affect fecal microbial DNA? 2) How does fecal microbial DNA change over time after defecation? 3) How does storage method affect microbial DNA? Fresh fecal samples were collected, pooled, and homogenized from a family group of 6 spider monkeys, Ateles geoffroyi....
    • Fostering "Little Green Guards" through a collaborative partnership to create an effective conservation education program in Guizhou, China

      Tan, Chia L.; Yang, Y.; Niu, K.; Shi, L.; Zhang, W.; Riondato, I.; Giacoma, C.; Balleto, E.; Gamba, M.; Phillips, J.A. (Turin, 2014)
      San Diego Zoo Global (USA), Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve Administration (China), and the University of Torino (Italy) have partnered in a collaborative effort to promote environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation in Guizhou, China. The objectives of the partnership are twofold: (i) train researchers and wildlife professionals using a multidisciplinary program that employs the latest methods and tools in order to deepen their understanding of wildlife and the environment, and (ii) foster positive attitudes and behaviour toward wildlife in rural children through a creative education program called the Little Green Guards.…
    • Fostering “Little Green Guards ” through a collaborative partnership to create an effective conservation education program for rural children in Guizhou, China

      Tan, Chia L.; Yang, Y.; Niu, Kefeng; Lei, Shi; Weiyong, Zhang; Riondato, Isidoro; Giacoma, Cristina; Balletto, Emilio; Gamba, Marco; John, A. Phillips (2013)
      San Diego Zoo Global (USA), Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve Administration (China), and the University of Torino (Italy) have partnered in a collaborative effort to promote environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation in Guizhou, China. The objectives of the partnership are twofold: (i) train researchers and wildlife professionals using a multidisciplinary program that employs the latest methods and tools in order to deepen their understanding of wildlife and the environment, and (ii) foster positive attitudes and behaviour toward wildlife in rural children through a creative education program called the Little Green Guards. A recent development of the education program is the Little Green Guards Club for children whose houses border nature reserves. During club meetings, staff of the three cooperating institutions and volunteers participated in teaching English and natural history lessons. Club activities included animal themed art projects, games, movies, and field trips designed to cultivate empathy for animals and appreciation for nature in these children. Evaluations conducted before and after implementation of the education program showed a significant increase in children’s knowledge of and affection for wildlife, and sometimes coincided with positive behavioural changes toward native species. Here we feature our collaborative effort in China as a model which can be adopted in other geographic regions where species and habitat conservation must become a top priority. We will discuss the role of Universities in critical assessment of previous experiences in order to enhance the effectiveness of cooperation with other development stakeholders (e.g. governmental and local authorities, civil society and NGOs, foundations and private companies, and local associations).
    • Into the night: camera traps reveal nocturnal activity in a presumptive diurnal primate, (Rhinopithecus brelichi)

      Tan, Chia L.; Yang, Yeqin; Niu, Kefeng (2013)
      Most living primates exhibit a daytime or nighttime activity pattern. Strict diurnality is thought to be the rule among anthropoids except for owl monkeys. Here we report the diel activity pattern of an Asian colobine, the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus brelichi, based on a methodology that relied on using 24-h continuously operating camera traps. We conducted the study in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in Guizhou, China from March 22 to May 19 and from June 17 to October 14, 2011. After standardizing all time elements to a meridian-based time according to the geographic coordinates of the study site, we showed unequivocally that the monkeys, though predominantly diurnal, exhibited activity beyond daylight hours throughout the study. Specifically, their activity at night and during twilight periods suggests a complex interplay of behavioral adaptations, among others, to living in a temperate environment where day length and food resources fluctuate substantially across seasons. We contend that, under prevailing ecological conditions, so-called strictly diurnal primates may adjust their activity schedule opportunistically in order to increase energy intake. We also discuss the advantages of using camera traps in primate studies, and how the standardized use of meridian-based time by researchers would benefit comparisons of diel activity patterns among primates.
    • Local people’s knowledge and attitudes matter for the future conservation of the endangered Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi) in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China

      Ellwanger, Amanda L.; Riley, Erin P.; Niu, Kefeng; Tan, Chia L. (2015)
      Ethnoprimatology seeks to untangle the complex relationship between human and nonhuman primates, and in doing so, can provide a better understanding of how the local cultural context affects conservation initiatives. Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in China is the last stronghold for the remaining global population of the Endangered Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi). In an effort to contribute to conservation management plans, we aimed to explore local people’s knowledge and attitudes toward the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey and conservation in the reserve using an ethnoprimatological approach. We conducted ethnographic interviews, involving structured, semistructured, and open-ended interview techniques, with 104 households in 11 villages located in and around the reserve. The results indicate that knowledge about the reserve and the monkey is unevenly distributed among respondents; men are significantly more knowledgeable about the reserve than women and women are significantly more knowledgeable about the monkey than men. Respondents are aware of the rules of the reserve but do not always agree with the rules or understand the rationale behind them. Nonetheless, respondents describe conservation as a trade-off and their attitudes toward the monkey and efforts to conserve it are generally positive and supportive. They expressed a feeling of connectedness with the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey because of its observable, humanlike behaviors; a mutual dependence on the forest; and a shared ancestry. Although our goal was to provide specific recommendations to park officials at our study site, our results also more broadly inform conservation management efforts for protected areas globally. For example, we recommend improving communication between reserve officials and local communities, appreciating the role local folklore can play in conservation, incorporating villagers’ perspectives into conservation planning, and implementing educational programs that target a wide demographic, with a particular emphasis on women.
    • Low levels of fruit nitrogen as drivers for the evolution of Madagascar’s primate communities

      Donati, Giuseppe; Santini, Luca; Eppley, Timothy M.; Arrigo-Nelson, Summer J.; Balestri, Michela; Boinski, Sue; Bollen, An; Bridgeman, LeAndra L.; Campera, Marco; Carrai, Valentina; et al. (2017)
      The uneven representation of frugivorous mammals and birds across tropical regions – high in the New World, low in Madagascar and intermediate in Africa and Asia – represents a long-standing enigma in ecology. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain these differences but the ultimate drivers remain unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that fruits in Madagascar contain insufficient nitrogen to meet primate metabolic requirements, thus constraining the evolution of frugivory. We performed a global analysis of nitrogen in fruits consumed by primates, as collated from 79 studies. Our results showed that average frugivory among lemur communities was lower compared to New World and Asian-African primate communities. Fruits in Madagascar contain lower average nitrogen than those in the New World and Old World. Nitrogen content in the overall diets of primate species did not differ significantly between major taxonomic radiations. There is no relationship between fruit protein and the degree of frugivory among primates either globally or within regions, with the exception of Madagascar. This suggests that low protein availability in fruits influences current lemur communities to select for protein from other sources, whereas in the New World and Old World other factors are more significant in shaping primate communities.
    • Use of an outdoor enclosure by captive Malayan tapirs (Tapirus indicus) at Beijing Zoo

      Cui, Duoying; Tan, Chia L.; Jinguo, Zhang; Ning, Liu; Xiaolong, Che (2014)
      The use of an outdoor enclosure and behaviors of 5 Malayan tapirs (Tapirus indicus) at Beijing Zoo were studied by means of instantaneous scan sampling, focal animal sampling and all- occurrence recording methods in August 2013. Malayan tapirs were more likely to use grassland, bare soil, deep-water pool and concrete surfaces than shallow water, and tapirs avoided stony ground….
    • Using a mixed-methods approach to elucidate the conservation implications of the human–primate interface in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China

      Ellwanger, Amanda L.; Riley, Erin P.; Niu, Kefeng; Tan, Chia L. (Cambridge University PressNew York, 2017)
      To better conserve the rich biodiversity of Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China, we adopted an interdisciplinary approach based on ethnographic interviews, direct human behavioral observations and geospatial data collection to research into local people’s knowledge of and attitudes toward the nature reserve and its conservation flagship, the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey. This book chapter provides an excellent road map for conservation biologists to undertake similar types of studies....
    • Using the gut microbiota as a novel tool for examining colobine primate GI health

      Amato, Katherine R.; Metcalf, Jessica L.; Song, Se Jin; Hale, Vanessa L.; Clayton, Jonathan; Ackermann, Gail; Humphrey, Greg; Niu, Kefeng; Cui, Duoying; Zhao, Hongxia; et al. (2016)
      Primates of the Colobinae subfamily are highly folivorous. They possess a sacculated foregut and are believed to rely on a specialized gut microbiota to extract sufficient energy from their hard-to-digest diet. Although many colobines are endangered and would benefit from captive breeding programs, maintaining healthy captive populations of colobines can be difficult since they commonly suffer from morbidity and mortality due to gastrointestinal (GI) distress of unknown cause. While there is speculation that this GI distress may be associated with a dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, no study has directly examined the role of the gut microbiota in colobine GI health. In this study, we used high-throughput sequencing to examine the gut microbiota of three genera of colobines housed at the San Diego Zoo: doucs (Pygathrix) (N=7), colobus monkeys (Colobus) (N=4), and langurs (Trachypithecus) (N=5). Our data indicated that GI-healthy doucs, langurs, and colobus monkeys possess a distinct gut microbiota. In addition, GI-unhealthy doucs exhibited a different gut microbiota compared to GI-healthy individuals, including reduced relative abundances of anti-inflammatory Akkermansia. Finally, by comparing samples from wild and captive Asian colobines, we found that captive colobines generally exhibited higher relative abundances of potential pathogens such as Desulfovibrio and Methanobrevibacter compared to wild colobines, implying an increased risk of gut microbial dysbiosis. Together, these results suggest an association between the gut microbiota and GI illness of unknown cause in doucs. Further studies are necessary to corroborate these findings and determine cause-and-effect relationships. Additionally, we found minimal variation in the diversity and composition of the gut microbiota along the colobine GI tract, suggesting that fecal samples may be sufficient for describing the colobine gut microbiota. If these findings can be validated in wild individuals, it will facilitate the rapid expansion of colobine gut microbiome research.