Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mahale All Stars

With one good month to go before the end of this season in Greystoke Mahale, we’d like to have a quick look back on some of the real stars that the M group produced this season. 

Primus Time
Undoubtedly the big breakthrough of this season; Primus (25 yrs) crowned himself Alpha male in September last year. Initially based on a fragile alliance without full support of the high ranking females, the past 6 months he has increasingly become a respected Alpha male. Mistake not! Primus’ daily task isn’t small as he’s leading a group of 60 individuals through their 37 sq km home range in search of food. 

Primus, just after he became Alpha in September 2012.

Both physically big and strong, our take is that Primus will remain in his position for some time to come. However, competition from other males is present and it won’t be an easy position to maintain as he will be challenged. As you might be so lucky to trek the Mahale Mts, Primus is easy to spot by both his physical size, brownish face and the white dot on his bottom lip. 

Primus last week as we met with him just out of camp.

Michio – Mr lips
Meet Michio (17 yrs) - one of our absolute favorites. Michio is a low ranking male chimpanzee that is not even close to the likes of the real biggies such as Primus, Alofu, Darwin and Orion. But Michio’s charm is in his calmness and in his inquisitive behavior. 

Michio checking out who that other chimpanzee really is...

Featuring in the camp’s most spectacular video of the year – the chimp and the mirror - Michio’s reaction to our camp mirror was one never to forget! 

Michio - charming as always - having trouble keeping his mouth closed.

But there is more. Michio feels at ease with humans. He sometimes comfortably moves within the 10 meter range and makes a many heart beat faster. Last November, when we observed the M group eating mangoes from our tree in Greystoke camp, Michio approached the group to wait for his turn to get to the fruits. Together with our guests were observing the scene from the steps of the toilet building when Michio walked up to us within a meter. He had decided to wait for his turn together with us. Quietly he sat down on the step next to us, feeling totally at ease. 

Michio sitting at Greystoke toilet entrance, after we moved away a little from Michio's cozyness...

Michio is also well known for his hanging bottom lip. Certainly looking forward to see more this man soon!

Orion – The short fused one
Nr 5 in the group, Orion (23 yrs), belongs to the crème de la crème of de M unit and he likes showing it. Although Primus undoubtedly is his superior, Orion too is impressive if it comes to physics. 

Orion, as he chews away on freshly picked mango fruit.

He is the chimpanzee that loves power displays - in particular showing them to humans. Wildly crushing through the trees and jumping from vines to branches, when this chimpanzee is on a rage towards you standing your ground suddenly becomes very exciting! 

Numerous hilarious moments we had with this short fused chimpanzee. But make no mistake – never does he touch – but lasting impressions for the mind he brings. For sure!

Ceasar & Teddy – Sweet as honey
Both young adults, Ceasar (14 yrs) and Teddy yrs (12 yrs) are the handsome guys of the group. Not close to being ranked as decisive individuals, their submission to Primus and the other higher ranking individuals is vital for their existence. 

Ceasar posing for the camera, with hands under his chin.

Growing slowly further into adult hood will show how much physics and importance they will gain.
But for now the two pink and cute faced ones have the looks that makes one wonder if they really aren’t human. 

Teddy - or Mr Pose - himself...

Not shy at all, it’s the positions that both males tend to take for pictures. Arms crossed, hand under the chin, slightly turned head - marvelous material!!

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