Monday, November 28, 2011

What should I do with this?

Emory is 12 and has just reached sexual maturity but he is getting all the practice that he can.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Alofu fights Primus

Our guests had another fascinating day with the Chimpanzee’s. After a one hour walk to reach the community they witnessed what could well be a significant moment in the leadership battle.
Primus who we suspect is the new Alpha male was busy grooming and mating with Effie who is in estrous. We know that Effie is a special friend of Alofu and it seems Alofu got jealous, who wouldn’t. Suddenly Alofu violently attacked Primus chasing him around the forest. When 2 big males came in support of Alofu, Primus didn’t take long to get the picture making his escape. Interestingly, Bonobo hugged Alofu to restrain him from continuing the attack. Nervously Primus sat by himself at the top of a large tree.
It doesn’t seem as if Alofu is happy slotting back into the number 2 position.
The battle continues.
The guests caught the fight on Video, great veiwing.


Alofu followed by Kalunde the 'King maker'.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

When will the Chimpanzees hunt again

We have not witnessed the community hunt for at least 2 months. Mahale Chimpanzees favorite food is the Red Colobus monkey. They work as a team and surround the monkeys then usually it’s the Alpha male, the community leader that shoots up the tree to snatch the helpless Colobus. I wonder if the grizzly murder of Pimu is still too fresh on their minds, or is it the current fight for Alpha male between Primus and Alofu that is preventing them from hunting and eating meat.
One thing is for sure, when they do finally decide to hunt the male that holds and distributes the meat will no doubt be the new Alpha male.
 Kalunde the 'King maker' needs to decide who is the Alpha male if he wants to eat meat soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mahale Chimpanzee leadership update.

Depending on whom you ask there are still two contenders for the Alpha male position within the Mahale community of Chimpanzee’s. More than one and half months have passed since the murder of Pimu the former Alpha male and it seems that Alofu and Primus are still vying for the leadership. The Japanese researchers are pretty sure that Primus is in charge due to the submissive posture that Alofu adopts around him. However, Alofu is a political individual and has the support and friendship of more big male Chimps. He also seems to be in the middle of the community and often leads the way while Primus is more often than not seen on his own slightly separate to the main group. Yesterday our trackers witnessed Alofu beating Primus which doesn’t sound like he is being submissive at all! Today I watched as Alofu casually sat below the feeding community watching life go on around him, he was very cool, calm and collected, we could hear Primus calling not far off.

Alofu gazing into the tree's watching the community feeding on Saba Florida fruit.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is that an elephant on your shirt?

When our guides give the guest briefing on what not to do around the Chimpanzee’s, one of the rules is not to wear clothing that has images of animals.
Of course Richard Knocker and his merry group played a trick on poor Filbert by turning up to breakfast in t-shirts with photos printed on the front from their last trip to Africa.
Filbert was in right fluster until we broke into laughter and it clicked that he was being fooled.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

That's mah boy!

When Jane Goodall first observed chimpanzees in the wild using tools, it was an epoch-making discovery. In October 1960, in Gombe National Park just one hundred kilometres north of our camp in Mahale, Jane watched as a chimp she had named David Greybeard poked a twig into a termite mound to ‘fish’ for his dinner.

For the first time, the ability to conceptualise the solution to a problem and then create a tool to put that solution into practice had been observed in an animal other than a human. In fact, before this event, the use of tools was considered to be one of the defining characteristics that separated homo sapiens from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Which is why our guests at Mahale, the Marks family from Oxfordshire, were so thrilled to see almost identical behaviour among our very own community of wild chimpanzees. Tani, one of our females, broke off the thick stem of a forest leaf and poked it into a hole in the trunk of a fallen tree to attract a tasty meal of live ants. She then demonstrated the technique to her young son, Ckriti, who got the hang of the idea in no time at all as the pair settled down together for a tasty snack. That’s mah boy, indeed!

Greystoke Mahale
Richard Madden

Photos: Tani & Ckriti feeding courtesy of Martha Marks