Saturday, July 14, 2012

The grooming hand clasp

Chimpanzee communities in the Mahale Mountains NP may spend up to 23% (!) of their daytime hours grooming. The purpose of all this grooming is to remove parasites such as lice and ticks, as well as to strengthen social relationships between individuals. Not a unique position to Mahale Mountains NP but certainly not practiced in all other chimpanzee communities either, is the grooming hand clasp. 

An interesting position in which two chimpanzees groom each other simultaneously - both arms upheld in the air - clasping their hands together while they groom armpits or underarm parts.

As we observed these two chimpanzees taking all the time in the world to meticulously groom each other, they moved from a variety of grooming positions to the hand clasp and back. You can really see why it’s comfortable to groom and to be groomed.
There is some sort of peacefulness that falls upon you while seeing these apes do this.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A new stove…

Excitement is the right word! Excitement about our old AND our new stove. Where our old stove is a wood fired traditional beauty that gives us the greatest wood fired pizzas, it did have to make place for a new and modern version of stove.

But a great help that serviced us for the past 15 years you don’t just get rid off!
Ezekiel - our head chef – inspected the new oven together with his kitchen team member Mfaume from top to toe. And what a shiny new beauty that is!

All in all we decided to keep the traditional stove but at a different spot. Just to service us with those great creations. And the new stove … Yes, we have to learn it – by sampling I suppose!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ceasar & me…

Yesterday afternoon – excitement again! At around 17.15 hrs, a large group of chimpanzees visited camp. As the party moved in from the north, they split up into smaller numbers. Some of them moving into the ficus mologasa tree to eat, others moving a little further choosing different fruit bearing trees.

As I followed two chimpanzees that passed the office to the back of room number 5, I sat down on the forest floor. Right opposite of me - less than 4 meters away - is this magnificent chimpanzee called Ceasar. As I sat with Ceasar for about 10 minutes I can’t tell you what an experience this is.

Gee… do they move you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Everybody knows the popular sentence of this enticing fairy tale. It was the first that came to our mind when we accidently witnessed this chimpanzee (Michio) looking into the mirror. I have to say he took mirror watching to a new level…

 As a big group of chimpanzees came rather unexpected through camp, hair clipping of our head chef was abruptly halted when Michio saw the mirror. Walking towards it he screamed when he saw himself – doubting who it was. As he came closer he inspected the mirror, pulled faces and kissed the mirror.
Puzzled as he still was, he put his left arm around the wall straight into the chefs room and felt behind the mirror to see if any chimpanzee was present. 

Lucky we were to have our camera on us!!
Another few looks in the mirror and Michio decided to do a more thorough inspection on the other side of the chefs room. Basically pulling apart the wall and sticking half his body through (!), he inspected another time. He then looked puzzled again, walked away for a couple of meters – and although not on picture – he carefully checked underneath the building to see if any chimpanzee feet were present!!

Absolutely one of the best and most hilarious moments we had with these great apes !