Help Protect Wild Chimpanzees

 
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Jun 2, 2011

On the Trail of Gombe’s Twin Sisters

In a recent blog update, Dr. Deus Mjungu, Gombe Stream Research Center’s director of chimpanzee research, wrote of observing the interaction between Gombe National Park’s twin sisters, Golden and Glitter. Dr. Mjungu also hinted about some potentially exciting news—fingers crossed!

It is the end of an unusual rainy season. Chimps are scattered all over their range because food is not in abundant supply. For the past two hours, we have been following the twins, Golden and Glitter. During this time, Glitter has been busy checking each termite mound she encounters. In contrast, her sister, Golden, has spent much of her time feeding on scattered fruits and leaves.

Now, the two have arrived at another termite mound. Glitter has cut a piece of twig vine, removed some leaves and is staring at Golden. Golden, on the other hand, seems to want to continue to travel. After about two minutes of indecision, both agree to termite fish. Termite fishing, however, does not seem to be rewarding and every now and then Golden switches from termiting to feeding on fruits or leaves.

Glitter persists with termiting. After about two hours, Golden’s patience for waiting on her sister diminishes. She moves very close to her sister and shows some signs of wanting to leave. Glitter does not pay attention. However, after she sees her sister move far away, Glitter stops termiting and slowly follows her.

Recently, Glitter has been seen looking particularly tired and resting frequently. Her belly seems to be a little bit distended. Is she pregnant? Keep tuned!!!

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Brittany Cohen-Brown

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Arlington, VA United States

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