Thursday, January 24, 2013

Project NIM: Or How Not To Treat Our Closest Known (Or Unknown) Living Relatives

Project NIM
No matter how close our DNA, they are not we, and we are not they.....        - Nadia Moore

I have not yet had a chance to watch this film in it's entirety myself, but from everything I have read, viewed and discussed with those who have, I think it serves as a chilling example of the arrogance of humankind when it comes to the other creatures sharing our planet.  Yes we are all fascinated by finding out what Sasquatch are, how they think, how they are like us and how they are different, but I hope no one's curiosity, especially in the name of science, puts a Bigfoot in this kind of situation, ever, even with the best of intentions. This failed attempt at raising an infant Chimpanzee as a human proved that he was incapable of adapting to the ways of the humans around him, and subjected him to years of physical and psychological mistreatment.
"From the Oscar-winning team behind MAN ON WIRE comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Following Nim's extraordinary journey through human society, and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way, the film is an unflinching and unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about his true nature - and indeed our own - is comic, revealing and profoundly unsettling." 
"Project Nim" Trailer One: Researcher's Perspective
 IN THE CAN: Project Nim - Director James Marsh:
"Project Nim" Trailer Two:  Film Maker's Prespective
Other "Project Nim" Videos:  Facebook Video's
  "The premise of the experiment was to treat him as much like a human child as possible and to give him the nurturing of a human child in order [to see if] he would behave like one," Marsh says. "And it was quite striking that there wasn't an investigation into what chimpanzees actually were or what they're like. And the wild animal comes out in him very quickly, and [no one] was prepared for that."  
     -  NPR  'Project Nim': A Chimp's Very Human, Very Sad Life
 "Watching, I couldn't help but think of HBO's "Cinema Verite," a scripted drama about public television's 1970s "reality" series "An American Family."  Like that film, "Project Nim" is as much a story about the times in which Nim and his keepers lived as it is about the chimp they used to ask questions whose answers were probably always going to be more about themselves than they were about Nim."   

    - Ellen Gray  'Project Nim': Bad experiment goes awry

"Nim is as unforgettable as the treatment of him is unspeakable."

     - Carrie Rickey   Reviews at "Rotten Tomatoes"
Sponsor A Chimp Here!


"Chimp Haven stands ready to discuss the possibility of retiring hundreds of federally-owned chimpanzees with the National Institutes of Health, following expert recommendations yesterday by the agency’s Council of Councils Working Group. The Council unanimously voted on limiting the future use of chimpanzees in biomedical and behavioral research and placing hundreds of chimpanzees in The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary- known as Chimp Haven."

You can sponsor a Chimp for as little as $25.00.  They will need donations to help house the hundreds of new residents coming their way:  You Can Donate to Chimp Haven Here 

And another way you can help out our Chimpanzee Cousins is by supporting the great work being done by the Jane Goodall Institute!

Jane Goodall, Groundbreaking Researcher


Saturday, January 5, 2013

(UPDATE) IF There Is A "Daisy" Is He/She Dead?

Animal Rights Advocacy

I have been trying to ignore this story until more was known since it first broke at the end of December, because it
arrived shortly on the heals of the recent "Ed Smith / Confirm or Deny" incident and it involves the same people, giving it numerous red flags of invalidity waving freely in the wind.  And because I was hoping it would just fade away like so many other tales of glory with no verifiable evidence to garner them believable.  This was my immediate reaction:

"The pre-announcement of the possible announcement by a team that cannot be confirmed or denied to actually exist has been confirmed to not be the responsibility of the person making the announcement. I mean the pre-announcement....."

But the latest news today by the "Daisy" camp has taken a disturbing turn to me as a Zoologist and advocate for all fellow members of the Animal Kingdom.

First If you are not familiar with the history of  the "Daisy" event, Jeffrey Kelley has done a great job recapping the timeline here on the Bigfoot Evidence Blog in:  As The Squatch Turns. 

Some of  my original questions and concerns with the "Daisy is in the box" claim, beyond the fact that it again involved the mysterious Mr. "Smith", started out with the fact that "Ed" as the spokesperson for this just does not make sense.  "Ed" supposedly received the news of Daisy's capture as an accidental email, since his "Original-6" Group no longer existed, having been sold to the now in charge "Quantra" Group.  So even if "Ed" did receive this unverified message in error why on earth would Quantra continue to feed him so much non-information and allow him to act as their spokesperson without making their own announcement to either confirm or refute what he was implying.  "Ed" by his own admission had signed an extensive non-disclosure and non-competition agreement upon turning over the research to Quantra, so why is he now acting on their behalf?  He also stated that he is not allowed to even conduct his own, private research for the extensive period of seven years. The idea that Ed is prevented from his own personal research is ludicrous. What are they going to do, haul him  to court if they catch him walking in the woods?  And wouldn't his mere participation in the MABRC Forum be breaking that commitment, let alone blabbing about all this publicly in the first place? This sounded like a lot of overgrown little boys playing commando in the woods, and creating dramatic scenarios to act out, a Dungeons and Dragons for the "Camo crowd".

If this is a real operation being carried out in a planned and methodical manner by serious researchers following a detailed protocol, then why on earth would they continue to let this be handled by Mr. "Smith", and why are they allowing him to now name members of a "Conference" who are going to convene on the matter, and why was Dr. Meldrum's name mentioned before he had even heard of this incident.  It also seems that some kind of documentary has been in the works all along, before O-6 handed everything over to "Quantra", and this event was just the completion or a step towards the completion of that "project".  

My initial response was that this was all just another ploy for web hits or to get certain peoples names back into the forefront of discussion. 

Then I read today's news in Rob Guadet's Blog Squatch Unlimited, "Ed Smith Answers Questions".  These questions and answers again appeared on the MABRC Forum, but instead of "Ed" handling this session himself, it was conducted by another party, which only reinforced my belief that this whole thing was part of a plan to get certain people back in the headlines.  But what shocked and disturbed me, and the ENTIRE reason for this post, was what I read after one of the questions (Please see red highlights below):

"Question: Do you have any information on the alleged cage that was built and allegedly used to capture, "Daisy"? What is it made of, and the specs?

Ed Smith: I retain the rights to my written work so I can talk about the trap unit, but photos, video and CAD drawing are the property of the Quantra Group.

Yes, I designed 95% of the trap unit. It is not a clam shell trap as has been reported in some of the blogs. Those reports are entirely inaccurate.

We attempted to modify a shipping container at first but found it was in satisfactory for our requirements.

The materials used are steel, aluminum and carbon fiber.

The dimensions are 11.5 feet in width and 17.8 feet in length, 8.2 feet in height, excluding the pressure bottle rack.

The unit is transported in parts to a staging site and assembled. The assembled unit is skid mounted can be moved by a tractor or wheeled loader. It is also designed to be lifted by helicopter.

Explosive cylinders much like an over loaded 12ga shot gun shell. Would blow the trip laches on the door and actuate the tensioned springs snapping the sliding door shut.

A weight sensing module is placed at the entrance to the unit covered in ground material would allow a reasonable weight to be attained.

A second weight sensing module is embedded in the floor of the trap unit allowing the electronic controller to activate the explosive latches and servo valves on the nitrogen gas cylinders in the knock down gas system which forces all oxygen out of the space an forces the specimen in to an unconscious state. Side panels could be opened a tranquilizing agent (dart) could be administered.
The dosage could be determined because of the weight data collected at the entrance would be available at this point.

The trap unit can be camouflaged made to look like a hut (out building) or a stone out crop this is achieved by using modular or gunite concrete (shotcrete) units then painted or stained to match the surrounding rock features.

Then baited with temptation materials.

The unit would be under video observation at distance and video coverage would be inside the unit and at the entrance. Small video cams and lipstick cameras would be utilized for this application.
Power for the unit would six to eight 12 volt deep cycle battery configured in a 24 volt parallel configuration this would allow for long duration soak times without disturbance. Battery box and DC circuit breaker unit mounted on top of the trap unit.

Engineers work on problems, Designers work on needs and we needed a trap.

Question: Are you being told anything about the condition of, "Daisy"? What are the conditions she is being kept in? Is she still in captivity?

Ed Smith: I have been told there is a health issue with the specimen but no details have been given to me."
So their method of rendering "Daisy" unconscious is "suffocation"?  And then they thought they could just open the doors back up, and immediately "tranquilize" it?  If this is real then the "health concerns" they are dealing with are probably because they KILLED it....

You cannot suffocate something to the point of unconsciousness, then think all you have to do is add the oxygen back in and it will just magically return to normal...Some sort of resuscitation would be necessary. And trying to tranquilize something, especially an unknown, is a tricky business at best and often leads to respiratory problems even in a healthy animal using tried and validated methods tailored specifically for that species!  I have myself assisted with animal restraint during anesthesia when I worked at U.C. Davis, and have witnessed unexpected complications first hand, while the animal was under the care of experienced professionals, so the idea that anyone without extensive experience in this area would think they could just easily tranquilize something nonchalantly, after they have suffocated it, is sickening to me.  Those who handle captive chimpanzees and gorillas avoid having to use tranquilizers or anesthesia at all costs unless the animals life or that of a caretaker depends on it, because it so often ends tragically even though they are well researched animals, and the individuals weight and medical background are not in question.  Here is an example of an unfortunate situation where tranquilizing did not work " Tranquilizing animals complicated, perilous"

This plan, if it was carried out in this manner, is reckless at best and criminal in the worst case. Even with Bigfoot not being a validated species they are still covered by all basic animal cruelty laws, and if this creature was captured in a way that resulted in it's death or permanent dysfunction then whoever "Quantra" is they need to be held fully accountable by the authorities of whatever state they are in. This was not a case of shooting something out of fear or mis-identification, this was the purposeful baiting and trapping of a creature they knew full well existed, in a manner that would most likely cause it harm.   No wonder all the secrecy and non-information regarding this case, if it is true.  These people probably realize they have stepped over the boundaries of animal welfare and into an area of full legal culpability.
I am shocked and appalled by this information, true or not.

UPDATE (January 6th):

I received this comment from David Batdorf who was unable to directly comment here at the time:

"Some very good points, Nadia MooreInert gas asphyxiation is used in some countries for capitol punishment and in the US for controlled mass-slaughter of livestock, such as chickens... Maybe, they should have done a little more research before making these claims? This is an efficient and somewhat humane way to kill.

My guess is that we don't have to worry, as this likely never took place... and if it did, nitrogen gas would not be the preferred method of sedation. Killing, maybe... but as a knock-out gas??? There are better/safer options.

 UPDATE 2 (January 9th):  

Whether of not she/he ever existed, I officially declare "Daisy" dead on arrival

Well in the last 5 days this story has continued to unfold with more claims by "Ed Smith" as the apparently self appointed spokesperson for the supposed "Quantra" group, an organization which no one had ever heard of before except via the claims of "Ed" himself.  You can read how the story devolved at the links to the Squatch Unlimited Blog below:

First "Ed" announced his formation of a team to investigate his own claims on behalf of the Bigfoot community:

 Daisy Bigfoot "Bridging Team" to Include Dr Meldrum

Then an explanation of how he and D.W. Darkwing chose the "Team".
How was the Daisy Bigfoot 'Bridging Team' chosen?

Then more information containing no real information, just the promise of information coming soooooooon.........

Date And Time Of "Bridging Team" Meeting Set TBA Shortly

Then the announcement that the Bridge Team had been informed their services were not required by "Quantra".

Official Announcement Regarding Ed Smith/Quantra from Indepenent Researchers 

Then "Ed's" explanation of his supposed meeting with Quantra where they informed him of the above news.  Apparently this could not be done via telephone or email, but required an onsite meeting, even though no pictures or evidence of any kind was divulged during this in person visit.

Ed Smith's post about independent researchers cancellation 

And suddenly the MABRC wants nothing more to do with this after having their organization in the spotlight for the last 2 weeks.

Ed Smith Suspended from MABRC Forums

For more understanding of this and other similar incidents please see Guy Edward's "5 Stages of Big Bigfoot Announcement" below:

I am personally greatly relieved that there seems to have never been any actual flesh and blood animal that has been killed or mistreated in any way.  Just another sad attempt at garnering attention from a group of people with nothing else to offer. 

 UPDATE 3 (January 11th):  

Steve Kulls, AKA The Squatch Detective, hammers in the final nail to the coffin of the "Daisy" Hoax by revealing who "Ed Smith" really is and why he is not someone capable of actually being involved in any of the things he has claimed since 2009:

The Bigfoot Media Machine (Ed Smith information is quite a ways down into the article)

Next Up: 

Peer Review: Why It Is Imperative To The Scientific Process and Bigfoot