Cheru Tessema in Ethiopia asked local farmers how they keep monkeys out of their fields, after reading our request for information in EDN35. “They catch one monkey in a trap and paint it so that it is a different color than the other monkeys. When they set the differently colored monkey loose it runs to join its group. The whole group runs in fear of the different looking monkey approaching them. The released monkey doesn’t know that it looks different and keeps on following its group, thus driving them far from a given farm.
Neem disease in West Africa. Mike Benge with USAID sent a copy of a telegram he received from scientists working on the problem, which I summarize: "While there are still many neem trees (particularly in plantations) that continue to suffer from decline, many other neems (in villages, along roadsides and in the Majjia Valley windbreaks) have leafed out and gone through a period of unusually heavy flowering. In some cases the same trees have flowered twice in the last several months. While this is a hopeful sign, it is still too early to tell whether the new foliage will be maintained. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely.” The disorder is clearly distinct from neem scale insect problem reported in the area. No evidence was found supporting earlier reports that a verticillium fungus is causing the disease. In fact there is no evidence for any “primary infectious disease.” Three fungi have been isolated at ICRISAT, but are believed to play only a secondary role. There are no signs of either viruses or mycoplasmalikeorganisms. “Hodges, Beatty and Boa have concluded that the disorder resembles a type of disease commonly known as 'decline’ and is most likely caused not by a pathogen but by one or several types of abiotic environmental stresses.”