U.S. asked to consider designating 300 primates at Oregon research center as threatened lesser slow loris, Nycticebus pygmaeus; Philippine tarsier, Tarsius syrichta; white-footed tamarin, Saguinus leucopus; black howler monkey, Alouatta pigra; stump-tailed macaque, Macaca arctoides; gelada baboon, Theropithecus gelada; Formosan rock macaque, Macaca cyclopis; Toque macaque, Macaca sinica; long-tailed langur, Presbytis potenziani; and purple-faced langur, Presbytis senex. Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, relaxing in a hot spring. By Meredith WadmanMar. 8, 2017 , 3:45 PM Andrew Sproule/robertharding/Newscom The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has been asked to consider repealing a rule that exempts captive members of 11 threatened primate species from protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). If the agency agrees to the request — and a decision might not come until 2018 at the earliest — the captive animals would be designated as threatened, like their wild counterparts, and researchers would need to apply for permits for experiments. To be approved, studies would have to be aimed at species survival and recovery. A rule change would affect biomedical researchers who work with several hundred captive Japanese macaques housed in Oregon.People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a Norfolk, Virginia–based animal rights organization, petitioned FWS this past January, asking it to extend ESA protections to captive members of the 11 species housed in research labs, zoos, and held as pets. For obscure reasons, a “special rule” exempted these captive populations from ESA protection in 1976. Among the 11 species, the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) appears to be the only one regularly used in U.S. research. A troop of roughly 300 resides at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Hillsboro. That is where the main impact of a successful PETA petition would be felt by scientists. 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There is precedent indicating that the agency might agree with PETA. In 2015, it designated captive chimpanzees as endangered, like their wild counterparts. In doing so, it wrote that its reading of the law indicated that “Congress did not intend for captive specimens of wildlife to be subject to separate legal status on the basis of their captive state.”PETA’s Goodman says a listing change would allow animal rights activists to better track—and challenge—research involving captive Japanese macaques. When a researcher applies for a permit to conduct an experiment on a species listed under ESA, the application is published in the Federal Register and open to public comment. That means, says Goodman, “We have the opportunity to stop experiments before they happen. And we have more information as to what the animals are actually being used for, how invasive the experiments are.”The Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, have been housed at the Oregon center, part of Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), since 1965. The troop has provided animal models for multiple sclerosis and for an inherited form of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of human blindness. Ongoing work studies the effects on offspring when pregnant dams are fed a high-fat diet. Several years ago, some males were castrated and received hormone replacement to study the effect of androgens on neurons thought to motivate aggressive behavior. Females with their ovaries removed have been used to study the effects of hormone replacement therapy on stress and anxiety, with potential applications to mood and stress in menopausal women.OHSU declined to make senior officials at the Oregon primate center available for comment.Others who support nonhuman primate research did weigh in.“PETA’s actions have nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with pushing forth a political agenda, which is ending the use of all animals in biomedical research,” says Thomas Rowell, former director of the New Iberia Research Center, a large primate research facility affiliated with the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and president and chief operating officer at Primate Products, an Immokalee, Florida, company that imports and houses nonhuman primates bred for research.Allyson Bennett, a developmental psychobiologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who works primarily with rhesus macaques (which are not covered by the PETA request), argues that if the animals are removed from research, they may end up in zoos or other settings with a lower standard of care and less public oversight and transparency. “That is not a win for the animals,” Bennett says.Though much of PETA’s petition addresses abuses of the 11 species by roadside zoos and exhibitors, the group also points to lapses at the Oregon facility. A 2014 government inspection report notes that a Japanese macaque died of respiratory distress during an imaging procedure because a pop-off valve on an anesthetic machine was left closed. A 2016 report documents the death of an animal whose species is not described when it became entrapped in a chain securing an enrichment device. In 2013, 21 rhesus macaques were hospitalized and six died after a fight apparently prompted by loud construction noise beside the animals’ enclosure. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the Animal Welfare Act, fined the Oregon center $11,679 for repeated violations of the law.It could be years before FWS makes a final decision. In its letter to PETA, the agency noted that it is bound by law to respond to other pending work first, and doesn’t expect to focus on PETA’s petition before October 2018.FWS designated the wild Japanese macaque as threatened in 1976, because the Japanese forests needed for its survival had been heavily logged. The other species listed in the PETA petition are: The petition lists a 12th species, the Tonkin snub-nosed langur, Pygathrix (Rhinopithecus) avunculus, which was also exempted from ESA protection in 1976. The wild snub-nosed langur has since 1990 been categorized as endangered in the wild—the most vulnerable category under ESA. Because of this, the agency wrote, FWS will this year extend ESA protections to captive members of the species.Correction, 10 March 2017, 4:48 p.m.: The FWS has not yet decided whether it will consider protecting the species listed in the PETA petition, as an earlier version of this article reported. Instead, the agency has simply confirmed to PETA that it has received the petition, and explained that it is not likely to review it until 2018, as a result of prior work commitments. Once it has reviewed the petition, the agency can reject it or agree that it has merit. Acceptance of the petition would trigger a fuller review of the conservation status of the species in question.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels playing a Test series in India just ahead of the Ashes at home will require major adjustments in the squad.”It’s obviously vastly different, if you look at the squad that we could probably put out for the first Test in Brisbane compared with the squad you’d think about playing on a spinning wicket in India, they’re probably two completely different squads,” Ponting was quoted as saying by ‘The Age’.”It’d be nice to get some match hardness into the guys, having not played a lot of Test cricket at that stage, but we’ll come home then and be back into one day cricket in Australia anyway so we’ll just have to manage that as well as we can,” he added.Australia’s tour of India later this year was supposed to be a seven-match ODI affair but after India became the world number one Test side, the BCCI requested Cricket Australia to include five-day matches during the tour.CA is yet to respond but there is a possibility that it would not have any problem in accommodating the Indian Board’s request.The Aussies are busy gearing up for the Ashes, aiming to beat old rivals England in the historic series at the end of the year.”We won’t be underdone, there’s no doubt about that, we’ll make sure that hopefully every player will get at least two Sheffield Shield games under their belt leading into that first Test, which I think would be really good preparation,” Ponting said.advertisement
Madan La1 square driving Shivalkar to the fenceWith the first cricket test against New Zealand starting in Bombay on November 10, interest in cricket circles is now riveted on the Indian line-up. The national selectors will be waiting for the Duleep Trophy final, commencing in Madras on November 4, before,Madan La1 square driving Shivalkar to the fenceWith the first cricket test against New Zealand starting in Bombay on November 10, interest in cricket circles is now riveted on the Indian line-up. The national selectors will be waiting for the Duleep Trophy final, commencing in Madras on November 4, before finalizing the Indian team.Nobody is likely to grudge Bishen Singh Bedi’s appointment as captain for the first two tests. He may not have proved himself a great captain so far, but in terms of seniority, experience, shrewdness and accomplishment as a player he appears to be the best choice for the post at present. That he has yet to gain full confidence of the selectors is reflected in his appointment for the first two tests only. While it is hoped that his generalship will grow in stature, he should guard against his penchant for faux pas. The selectors are not likely to have forgotten how he gave up the Sabrina Park test against the West Indies by declaring at 97 for 5 when the rivals needed only 13 runs for victory! The Vivian Richards incident in the Port of Spain test, when the “black Bradman” was not allowed by Bedi to resume his batting early after he had got hurt, also generated controversy, although, to be fair, it is matter of debate whether the Indian skipper was right in exercising his prerogative under the cricket law.We will again be dependent on spin attack for the simple reason that there are just no fast bowlers on the scene. Mohinder Amarnath and Madan Lal are not even medium pace; more like slow-medium. Both are good enough only to take the shine off the ball and sometimes keep the runs down if the spinners lose their rhythm. Frankly, both of them are in the side not because of their penetration as bowlers but because of their additional utility as batsmen.advertisementThe spinning department will be led by Bedi, who, with his smooth and easy left-arm bowling action, is functioning with his usual efficiency, as could be seen in the Irani Trophy match. It is tough luck for the competent Shivalkar that he has had to remain on the sidelines because he bowls the same stuff as the Indian skipper. The off-spinner’s job should go to Venkatraghvan, who can also lend some support to the batting. Prasanna, not getting any younger or fitter, seems to be past his prime but could be recalled if his sharply-turning spinners are needed on a helpful wicket.As for leg-spinning, Chandreshekhar will take top honours. But he pushes the ball through at almost slow-medium pace and cannot be regarded as a genuine wristy leg-spinner of the Subash Gupta vintage. Because of his polio-affected hand, he has the natural advantage of an occasional, undecipherable turn, and can, therefore, prove a trump card. But when out of his element, as happens not uneaten, he can be a miserable performer because of his inability to command the nuances of flight and spin.The batting side will be led by Gavaskar and Vishwanath. Although some believe that the Indian opener is the best batsman in the country, I am inclined to give the pride of place to Vishwanath, who is cast in the same mould as technically superior batsmen of the past like Vijay Hazare, Vijay Manjrekar and Chandu Borde. The other two specialist batsmen are likely to be Anshuman Gaekwad and Brijesh Patel. There would be one more place for a specialist batsmen and the four likely contenders are Ashok Mankad, Vengsarkar, Surinder Amarnath and Parthsarathy Sharma. I would plump for Vengsarkar. In his knock of 90-odd runs for Bombay in the Irani Trophy match Mankad did not show much self-assurance. If Mankad and Vengsarkar were to be considered on par as regards their batting ability, Vengsarkar is the younger man. Sharma should be left out because of his poor fielding, although he is one of the best strikers of the ball in the country off the front foot. Surinder Amarnath has not done much after his century in New Zealand as his batting continues to lack anchorage.The wicket-keeping job is Kirmani’s, unless Farookh Engineer makes a last-minute appearance. In that case, Kirmani will have to be sidelined again as Engineer, his advancing years notwithstanding, continues to be the best in the country, apart from his forceful batting. Thus the Indian team for the first test against New Zealand in batting order could be: Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, A. Gaekwad, Vishwanath, Brijesh Patel, Mohinder Amarnath, Madan Lal, Venkatraghvan, Kirmani, Bedi, Chandreshekhar. 12th man Surinder Amarnath. It is necessary to emphasize that nobody should be selected who is a poor fielder and all the above-mentioned players are fairly good in the field with the possible exception of Chandreshekhar.advertisementWhile the game of cricket has a pronounced element of chance, it may not be out of place to make a prognostication on the basis of some indicators. The most probable outcome of the series would be a draw. India cannot be rated a very strong side in world cricket today. Even Pakistan, with their superior batting and pace bowling, are a stronger side. New Zealand has never been a front-ranking side in international cricket and the present team is regarded as somewhat depleted. Over the years India-New Zealand confrontations show that neither has been able to establish supremacy over the other. Some may feel that India, playing on her home ground, may just scrape home the winner. On the other hand, New Zealand has the advantage of pace bowling. India, being totally dependent on spin attack, is to that extent at a disadvantage. Spin bowling has severe limitations in terms of penetration. If a batsman decides to just stick to the crease and not take any initiative, it is rather difficult for a spin bowler to dislodge him. But pace bowling can shatter an obdurate batman’s defence by sheer speed and hostility.Roy Gilchrist of the West Indies, who annihilated our batsmen in the 1958-59 West Indies-India series, is reportedly keen to come to India for coaching. He is presently working in a rubber factory in Manchester. But Gilchrist is mentioned as just an example and we could spread our net far and wide and look for other speed merchants.
Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Imtiaz Ahmed has died in Lahore, aged 88. He had been suffering from a chest infection and was Pakistan’s oldest living Test cricketer.He played for Pakistan in 41 Tests between 1952 and 1962 and was also captain for four matches. Imtiaz scored 2079 runs in Tests at an average of 29 and as a wicketkeeper he had 77 catches and 16 stumpings to his name. His highest score of 209 was against New Zealand in Lahore in 1955.Imtiaz had a prolific first-class career after making his debut as a 16-year-old for Northern India before partition. From 180 games, he scored 10391 runs, took 322 catches and effected 22 stumpings.After retirement, Imtiaz was a selector for 13 years and between 1976 and 1978, he was the chief selector of Pakistan cricket team.
Patna: As the “captain” of the NDA in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is hitting fours and sixes and inflicting defeat on rivals, his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi said on Wednesday, in an obvious rebuff to a BJP leader who had advocated a change of guard after the next assembly polls. The remark by Modi, one of the seniormost leaders of the BJP in Bihar, comes in the wake of a “personal opinion” expressed by party MLC Sanjay Paswan a couple of days ago that Kumar should move to the Centre instead of running for the fourth consecutive term. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “@Nitish Kumar is the captain of NDA in Bihar and will remain its captain in next assembly elections in 2020 also. When captain is hitting fours and sixes and defeating rivals by innings where is the question of change,” the deputy chief minister said on Twitter. Paswan had named Modi, besides state BJP president and Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai as potential chief ministerial candidates. The MLC’s remark evoked angry outbursts from leaders of the JD(U), headed by Kumar, who urged the BJP high command to rein in people like Paswan who, in their view, was exceeding his brief. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Notably, Modi – in a rare gesture – had said in July on the floor of Assembly that the NDA would contest the polls next year under the leadership of Kumar, rubbishing speculations that the BJP might insist on having an upper hand after achieving unprecedented nationwide dominance. The state unit of the saffron party had earlier distanced itself from the views expressed by Paswan, who had served as a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. “We have formed a government led by Nitish Kumar for Bihar’s development. Our alliance with the JD(U) and the LJP (headed by Ram Vilas Paswan) is a collective decision taken by the central leadership of all three parties. “The BJP respects its allies and their leaders. We abide by the coalition dharma. Expression of a personal opinion, or even that of sentiments of workers or general public must not be confused with the party’s official stand,” BJP state spokesman Nikhil Anand tweeted on Tuesday.