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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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World Monkey Day

World Monkey Day


Curious young monkey (credit: Twitter)


Twenty years ago, an art student at Michigan State University marked Monkey Day as a prank on a friend’s calendar. When the day arrived, the two undergraduates actually celebrated the occasion with fellow students and Monkey Day became popularized. Since then, it has become a more serious affair to celebrate both monkeys as well as apes, lemurs, gibbons, and all other simians. Monkey Day is popular among animal rescue and environment groups, and visual artists with events programmed at arts institutions, the National Geographic Society, Smithsonian and schools. It is a day to learn from and appreciate the highly intelligent fellow primates.

Species of primates populate Africa, Central and South America, and Asia and can range in size from pygmy marmosets to mountain gorillas. Monkey Day has become popular with environmental organizations and utilized by animal rescue and recovery groups to generate awareness of the challenges facing most primates. Loss of habitat; the illicit bushmeat trade and animal trafficking; and climate change impacts altering habitats is affecting primates worldwide. Celebrating these diverse creatures is now more important than ever.

Efforts in primate conservation is the priority of the Gibbon Conservation Center in California and a worthy example. Gibbons are considered the acrobats of the rainforest with their long arms that assist easy movement through the rainforest canopies of Southeast Asia. Like so many other primates, gibbon species are all endangered due to habitat lost due to tropical deforestation, often for export palm oil plantations. The Gibbon center maintains captive breeding colonies each gibbon species known, maintains a genetic database to avoid inbreeding, and provides the young apes to other zoos for further conservation breeding efforts. Eventually, the Center's goal is to restore gibbons back into protected natural habitats where they were once found. 

Monkey Day began as a university student's prank so there is room for a bit of fun. Grade school kids can wear a monkey costume or make a silly joke. It might be an easy way to begin learning about wildlife conservation as well. WHB

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