Noninvasive genetics is one of the tools for clarifying society and ecology of wild primates. Here, I reviewed the methods of DNA analysis using noninvasive genetics. Although various types of noninvasive samples such as feces, urine, hair, and saliva have been used in wild mammals including primates, fecal samples are most common. The success rate of DNA analysis using the surface of feces is higher than that using the whole or inner part of feces. Numerous protocols for preserving fecal samples have been proposed, and one of the important points is to collect comparatively small amount of feces irrespective of the protocols. Temperature and rainfall before the collection of feces have negative impacts on DNA analyses, while diets have little impacts. The best ways to extract DNA might be to use QIAamp DNA Stool Mini Kit (QIAGEN) or modified CTAB methods. Although hair samples from nests of great apes have been used as noninvasive genetics, we should be aware that quantity of DNA which is extracted from a single dropped hair is low. When we conduct PCR amplification for reliable microsatellite genotype using noninvasive samples, we should take measures for PCR inhibitors present in extracts and genotyping errors such as allelic dropouts and false alleles. Multiple-tubes approach is necessary for most noninvasive samples and multiplex PCR method is a good way to reduce genotyping costs. Although noninvasive genetics can give us the estimates of relatedness which is useful for studying social behavior, pairwise relatedness estimates using less than 20 microsatellite loci has been shown to be unreliable. Development of an easy method to give robust data on pairwise relatedness might be important to understand the effect of relatedness on social behavior in the wild primate groups which have limited information about kinship due to short research period.
The Great Ape Information Network has collated and archived information on captive chimpanzees within Japan since 2002. As of July 1st, 2014, a total of 323 chimpanzees were housed within 52 facilities across Japan, all registered in the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) studbook. JAZA has recorded information on captive chimpanzees within Japan since the 1980s. However, for individuals unregistered and/or deceased prior to this period, JAZA holds scant information. There are very few surviving reports on living conditions and husbandry of such individuals, particularly for the years preceding the Second World War (WWII) (up to 1945). Here we present the first detailed history of captive chimpanzees in Japan before WWII, following a systematic investigation of disparate records. The first record of any live chimpanzee within Japan was a chimpanzee accompanying an Italian travelling circus in 1921. The history of resident captive chimpanzees in Japan began in 1927 when a chimpanzee, imported into Japan by a visitor, was exhibited in Osaka zoo. In the 1930s, many chimpanzee infants were imported to Japanese zoos until in 1941 imports were halted because of WWII. By the end of WWII, there was only one single chimpanzee still alive within Japan, “Bamboo”, housed in Nagoya. In 1951, importation of wild chimpanzees into Japan resumed. In total, we identified 28 individuals housed within Japan before 1945, none listed previously in the JAZA studbook. Of these 28 individuals: 6 entered Japan as pets and/or circus animals, 21 were imported to zoos, and one was stillborn in zoo. Of the 21 zoo-housed individuals, 7 died within one year and 9 of the remaining 14 were dead within 5 years of arriving in Japan. Four individuals are recorded to have lived 7-8 years. Only one male individual, the aforementioned “Bamboo”, lived notably longer, to about 14 years.
The two experimental studies were conducted on a captive group of Japanese macaques at an enclosure in Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan. In Experiment I, ultrasonic sounds were used stimuli as playback experiment. We used the Yard Gard (Weiteck Inc.) as ultrasonic device, which can emit the sounds of three different frequencies (15kHz, 20kHz, and 26kHz) at the sound pressure level of 114 level of dB at 1m distance (Weitech 1995). Monkeys were exposed to three treatments consisting of 26kHz, 15kHz, and no sound (control) as one session in a day. The order of each treatment in a session was determined randomly, and the interval of each treatment was one hour. Total number of monkeys entering the experimental area and feeding durations did not differ among treatments, whereas feeding delay to the 25kHz sound was longer than that of other treatments. Feeding delay to the sounds of 25kHz and 16kHz was longer on the 1 st and 2nd experiment days than the other days. In Experiment II, turkeys vocalizations, which are emitted when they observe unfamiliar objects or hear big and/or unfamiliar sounds and one synthetic sound were used as playback. Monkeys were exposed to three treatments consisting of turkey vocalization playback, synthetic sound playback, and no sound (control) as one session. Monkeys fled immediately after the playback of turkey vocalization and took more than 50 sec to be back, but thus feeding duration to turkey vocalizations was longer than that of other treatments on the only 1st experiment day. Total number of monkeys entering the experiment area did not differ among treatments. Overall, the results of these experiments showed that unfamiliar acoustic stimuli may cause strong negative responses such as fleeing, but these responses will disappear in a short-term (ex. in a few days).
Mucuna macrocarpa (Fabaceae) is a vine plant that is distributed mainly in tropical and subtropical areas, as well as in a limited region around a village in Kamae within Kyushu, Japan, although no seeds were observed in this region until the late 1970s. This species requires a pollination partner for seed setting, which was recently found to be the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) in Kamae. We hypothesized that the recent seed setting observed is related to the change in the distribution of the Japanese macaque in recent years as a result of the afforestation policy introduced in the 1950s-1960s. The changes in afforestation activity, distribution of the Japanese macaque, and human population dynamics were investigated. Interviews with villagers revealed that Japanese macaques had seldom appeared in or near the village until the 1960s, but have frequently been observed within the village since the 1970s-1980s, which corresponds to the same period of time when the appearance of M. macrocarpa seeds was first noted. Depopulation and the decrease in farmers and foresters that occurred at the same time as afforestation might have enabled macaques to enter and settle in the village. One reason for the 10-year time lag between the first appearance of Japanese macaques and afforestation could be that the macaques only began to move out of the forest once the conifer forest had grown to a certain level. These results suggest that the afforestation caused a change in the distribution of Japanese macaques, allowing them to exploit M. macrocarpa flowers as a new food item. Consequently, afforestation might have indirectly caused seed setting of M. macrocarpa in Kamae.