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.