UCLA-VA Vervet Monkey Research Colony
of California Los Angeles
This is Alani's story, ID #1984-016 at UCLA
This is the story of Alani, a Vervet monkey, ID #1984-016, who currently
resides at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). This
information was obtained from a letter I received from UCLA Records
Management and Information Practices. While I was reading through
the letter, (anticipating that all information in the letter is
correct) Alani actually has a sufficient life at UCLA. Most primates
that are in laboratory settings are forced to endure life in solitary
confinement in small, barren cages, depriving the primates the need
of socialization and their freedom to move around. In the wild,
these primates love to hang out in trees or grassy areas and are
always not far from their family group. Most primates in a laboratory
setting live off a diet of monkey chow, which is not what they would
normally eat in the wild. At least Alani has the opportunity of
living with a social group and having access to the outdoors, which
most primates in laboratories never get to see the outdoors, let
alone get to breath in fresh air and enjoy the sun.
I also have the Primate Freedom Tag for Pricilla #27276, who was
living at UC Davis (http://www.primatefreedom.com/tagreports/27276.html).
The response I got from UC Davis was very thorough, including many
pages of laboratory records, which detailed Pricilla's life and
what was done to her while she was at UC Davis. The response I got
from UCLA was a short, one page letter that tells about her life,
but does not go into detail, as the lab reports would show. That
is why I don’t have all the information I would like to have
to write her story, so I have to go with what I have received from
UCLA. I have no idea about Alani’s offspring, what date she
was brought to (or born at) UCLA, or any other further info except
what it here. I will try to get in touch with UCLA further and if
I am successful on obtaining her lab records, I will update her
story with that infomation.
Alani is alive and well and is 19 years old. She is used in a NIMH
sponsored research project on behavioral genetics of impulsivity.
Her role in this "research" is observational on genetic
and maternal influences on the development of individual differences
in behavioral traits.
She is living in a stable social group with 15 other animals, including
four adult males, six other females and their five offspring. The
adult males of the group are now vasectomized to limit population
growth. The group is housed in a large outdoor pen. Enrichment includes
continuous access to social companions, stimulation from the outdoor
environment, and provision of natural objects for manipulation.
She also gets daily supplementation with seasonal fresh produce.
Alani's future plans are for her to continue to live in her home
group as long as her health permits. Being that she is 19 years
old, she has already lived longer than most Vervets would in the
Some background information on Vervet's:
The average body mass for an adult male Vervet monkey is around
5 kilograms, and for a female it is around 3.5 kilograms. On the
abdomen the skin of both sexes is blue. Both males and females have
long, sharp canines. The Vervet Monkey is found throughout Southern,
Eastern, and Western Africa. This species prefers to live in riverine
woodland, although it is highly adaptable and can live in a variety
of habitats even living amongst humans.
The Vervet monkey is an omnivorous species that prefers grasses.
This species also likes to consume the various parts of the Acacia
Tree. Fruits and seeds are also a major component of their diet.
For protein the Vervet monkey eats arthropods and small vertebrates
such as lizards and fledgling birds. The diet does differ amongst
groups occupying different habitats. The group sizes range from
5 to 76 individuals. The Vervet monkey does respond to the alarm
calls of other animal species such as other primates, ungulates,
The Vervet monkey moves both on the ground and in the trees. This
species only occasionally leaps from tree to tree. This species
descends trees in a head first manner. The fastest mode of locomotion
is a bounding gallop on all of its limbs. The Vervet monkey is capable
of swimming. Spy hopping is a locomotory pattern that is used when
the Vervet monkey is traveling in tall grass, which restricts its
vision. When the Vervet monkey runs it will hop on its hind legs
to see over the tall grass.
The Vervet monkey has a multimale-multifemale social system. Males
are forced to emigrate upon the onset of puberty when their genitalia
begins to turn color. Females in the group form a linear dominance
hierarchy with the daughters inheriting their rank from their mothers.
High-ranking individuals have a priority access to food resources.
Adult females of a group mainly interact with close relatives. Both
sexes are territorial. Juvenile males will hold and care for infant
siblings, but adult males generally show no interest in infants.
Mothers will let other females handle her infants. Females tend
to favor handling of infants belonging to higher-ranking individuals.
Grooming is an important social behavior that reinforces social
bonds. The Vervet monkey gives birth to a single offspring.
Until the day that all animals are free from exploitation, we must
educate everyone about the lives these animals endure, whether it
is in a laboratory, factory or fur farm, circus, or any other company
that puts profit before animals.
One of my favorite quotes:
"Until he extends the depth of his compassion to all living
things, man himself will not find peace" -Albert Schweitzer
This is for all the animals that have suffered or are suffering
now; there are compassionate people out here that care about you
and are trying to make a difference for you and other animals!
- Kiayanna Eichert
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