Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A grooming session with old friends.

This great shot was taken yesterday by Brian Vogelsan, it shows Fanana (33 years old) being groomed by Alofu (28) who is in the center and is being groomed by Orion (20). It’s great to see the reunion of old friends after Alofu’s 5 week absence. Yesterday our trackers watched Alofu challenge Pimu the alpha male, they tell me that Pimu is looking worried. I would be too knowing how much the Mahale chimps respect Alofu.

Alofu returns

After one month in exile Alofu is back. Yesterday our guests found the Chimpanzee’s one hour’s walk from Greystoke camp. To our surprise and relief, Alofu, who last month was being challenged for his number 2 position in the community by young, strong Primus, was again socializing with his friends and family. In August after repeated violent challenges Alofu decided his best course of action was to disappear. Often when a male Chimp leaves his main group to live on the outskirts of the territory he is susceptible to the war like raiding parties of male chimpanzees living in surrounding communities. They will not hesitate to kill a solitary Chimp from another community.
Our guests watched as again Primus started challenging Alofu, but this time the Alpha male, Pim, was never far from Alofu’s side.
Perhaps Pim realizes that his best chance to hold onto his number one status is to win over Alofu’s support by defending him against Primus, forming a strong alliance. The next question is who will Alofu side with?

I wonder what it was like for Alofu away from his friends and family for a month, missing the close interaction that chimpanzees are famous for.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Powerful ape

Pound for pound the Chimpanzee has to be one of the strongest primates. Researchers estimate they are 3 times stronger than an adult male human.
I love watching the big males swing down out of the tree's. These photos don't catch the cacophony of noise that the Chimps are making.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chimps chilling out in camp

It always amazes me how the Chimps can walk into our busy camp and then sit down as if they were anywhere in their 15 square mile territory. I wonder what they are thinking?

Bonobo and Kalunde watch the staff go about their jobs in Greystoke camp.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chimps playing in Camp

Yesterday we witnessed something special. Finally the Chimpanzees decided the fruit on the Pseudospondia Microcarpa tree in camp was ready to eat. The first Chimps arrived at 11am, during the day over 30 visited the tree next to our office.
Primus the number 3 ranked male is trying to move up the order and we noticed that he arrived in a separate group to the Alpha male, Pimu. With Primus was Nkombo who was in heat but not receptive to Primus’s advances. Also with Primus were Kalunde ‘the King maker’ and Bonobo the number 4 ranked male. Nkombo is a long time friend of Kalunde and she was hiding behind the old male in order to escape Primus’s advances. Suddenly Primus and Kalunde swung to the ground and started grooming each other. After a lengthy session they started playing, unusual in adult males, and then finally finished with a kiss. When they moved back into the tree Primus approached Nkombo who climbed behind Kalunde again, but instead of defending her Kalunde moved out of the way and let Primus do his thing.
I wonder what was said during their private grooming session?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sue's big catch.

It’s possible to fish from Greystoke Mahale. We call it sports fishing but it more resembles a leisurely cruise on Lake Tanganyika with a maximum of two hand lines trawling behind the boat. With drink in hand you can watch the scenery and catch one of the many species of fish that inhabit the lake.
You can imagine Sue Anthony’s surprise when she hooked onto a Greystoke record Tanganyika Perch.

The fish may be bigger than Sue.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Baby update

There are lots of little of Chimpanzee's climbing around the Mahale forest at present. With Vera's new baby the count is now up to 12. All the youngsters are doing well including Cristina's baby boy who was looking sick just 2 months ago. Keep up the good work, mums!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I can see something in there.

Chimpanzee’s have a brain size averaging 400 cubic centimeters which is about the same size as our early bipedal ancestors, Australopithecus. Compare this to our brains which average 1100 cubic centimeters. It seems like a big difference, however, the cerebral cortex of a Chimpanzee has large amounts of folds, an indication of their high intelligence level.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kissing butt.

Chimps love to groom and be groomed, but sometimes it seems as if they go a little too far. In these great photos taken by Debra Warren you can see Ceaser having his private parts groomed.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The human tree

We all know Darwin has the cheekiest sense of humor, especially when it comes to his antics with tourists. Yesterday Darwin took a liking to 6 foot 6 inch Michael Schubert. Darwin walked right up to Michael and grabbed hold of his legs as if he were a tree, he then held on as Michael tried to walk down the path.  No harm was intended, just a bit of Darwin fun. 

 Darwin walks past our guests, you never know when he might take a liking to you and say hello.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Can a safari guide swim?

Robert John is one of Greystoke Mahale’s guides. Robert was born in Tanzania but not near a body of water where he could learn to swim. Our guests have taken it upon themselves to teach Robert the basics and it seems he is a good student. Robert now swims regularly with the guests, when invited, and he is even jumping off the boat out in the middle of the lake. Go Robert.

 Here he is taking the plunge at the waterfall pool.