By HAUWA INDIMI
Andrew Halloran, the author of the lively book “The Song of Apes,” is an animal behavior professor here at Lynn. Halloran grew up in a small vibrant town surrounded by engineers. However, Halloran was struck by the nature part of his town.
“There were a lot of very interesting natural elements in Titusville. There were manatees and horseshoe crabs in the river, dolphins along the coast and even alligators that lived in the swamp behind my house,” said Halloran. “In fact, one ate our dog.”
Halloran is a primatologist who specializes in primate vocal communication. He earned his PhD from Florida Atlantic University. Having spent time observing chimps in Sierra Leone for almost a decade, Halloran has held talks about one of his greatest passions – the intelligence of chimpanzees.
His focus on how intellect animals, such as chimps are, has led him to realize that animals do better in their natural habitats. Halloran believes that animals like cats and dogs can make great pets. However, he thinks other animals should not be domesticated.
“Monkeys require socializing with other monkeys to learn how to behave, eat, communicate, etc. When you isolate them, they no longer learn these essential things. Therefore you have an animal that is nothing like a monkey you would find in the wild,” said Halloran.
He emphasized his opinion on how isolating such animals is as isolating a baby human.
“If you love these animals, you cannot have them as pets,” said Halloran. He feels that working with students, as a professor is one of the best ways to raise awareness about the environment around us and at the same time helping the animal population. “I think one of the benefits of teaching something like Animal Behavior as a Scientific Literacy course is that I get to teach nonmajors who may have very little knowledge, or even interest, in animals.”
He holds programs that enable students to work first hand to help animals.
“For our program in Environmental Studies, we have an amazing group of students who are deeply committed,” said Halloran. “We have two students working at a chimpanzee sanctuary [for retired laboratory chimpanzees], we have several working at Gumbo Limbo preserve, among others. Some of our students have done projects at Lion Country Safari.”
He adds that other students are looking into internships at aquariums. Halloran mentioned that the beauty of being on a small, close-knit campus like Lynn is that the university could put on a program like this – where students can be active participants in what they are learning.