During the last few weeks, many of Anzac’s companions have been transferred to the island of Tchindzoulou. Mbebo and Mambou, her two best friends, were two of the chimpanzees who were transferred and integrated with other chimpanzees on the island to form part of a huge group of about fifty chimpanzees.
The aim of these transfers is to create a group of chimpanzees who could be potentially reintroduced into the jungle in the future. Now Anzac’s group at the original sanctuary site has only eight individuals, and is much calmer than before, with minimal fights or shouting. Anzac’s missing left arm and young age are part of the reason why she has still not been transferred to the islands.
At the moment, Anzac has to settle for the daily routine at the main sanctuary site of Tchimpounga. Although her personality remains affable with JGI caretakers, Anzac always tries to play tricks.
One favorite involves a bottle with peanuts that the caretakers use to attract the attention of the chimpanzees to take their temperatures. It's amazing how Anzac, despite missing a part of an arm, has the ability to reach behind the distracted caretakers and steal the bottle with the delicious peanuts. The caretaker tries to run after Anzac, but she is very fast and always manages to climb up one of the high wooden platforms. The caretaker asks her to return the bottle, but Anzac only laughs and eats the peanuts very quickly. Other chimpanzees come up begging to share the treasure, but Anzac eats them all. When the bottle is empty she plays with it for a while and then drops it to the ground from the top of the platform. While the caretaker catches her, she wonders how it is possible that this little chimpanzee can always steal the bottle; she is very smart!
Lousingo is a young male who arrived at Tchimpounga about eight years ago. When the caretakers opened the box he was transported in, they found a small chimpanzee dressed as a person, with trousers and a striped sweater.
Lousingo is a victim of poachers who killed his mother and then sold him as a pet to someone who dressed him like a human baby. Fortunately, Lousingo has recovered from the trauma of his early life and is enjoying life on the island of Tchibebé Island.
Lousingo has always been a bit reserved. He cried a lot when he was little, and his chimpanzee peers pushed him around. But now Lousingo is growing into a strong chimpanzee, and is capable of defending himself. Lousingo occasionally performs displays to show others that he is a strong male, but nobody cares. Everyone knows that Lousingo is still very young and that his displays of strength are just that and nothing more.
Lousingo’s group has a new alpha-male, Loufino. Until recently the alpha male was Kefan, but over the last few weeks Loufino and other chimpanzees united to dethrone Kefan in a revolt. Lousingo stayed on the sidelines and clearly did not want to participate. He was not sure which side to join and preferred to be neutral.
Now that Loufino is the boss, everything has returned to calm. Caretakers have transferred Kefan to Ngombe Island to avoid any more serious aggression.
In recent months, the caregivers of Tchimpounga have watched Mambou try to consolidate his position as the leader of Group Four.
Mambou may not be the strongest male group, but his personality is that of a leader’s. JGI’s team is confident that in a few years Mambou will become a dominant alpha male.
As with children, one can get a sense of a future adult chimpanzees’ personality by observing that chimpanzees personality as a youngster. Some are submissive, some dominant, some are gregarious, some are misunderstood, and others, like Mambou, are leaders.
Gradually Mambou and other chimps are getting a group together to support him in his future leadership bid. Antonio and Sam have now joined the clan. They are all forming a select group of males who will dominate the group within a few years. Now it seems like a game, but gradually everything will be taken much more seriously.
A group of chimpanzees requires that the hierarchy is well organized, as it is in human society. A successful group needs a leader who is bright, intelligent and knows how to make the right decisions in difficult or dangerous situations. Mambou seems to possess these leadership qualities.
At the moment Mambou is content to stroll through his group’s enclosure with slightly bristled hair, performing regular displays and reminding other chimpanzees with a kick or shove who the leader is!
Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.