Motambo is adjusting nicely to his new life at Tchimpounga. He has fully recovered from his tetanus infection, and his significant wounds have healed. A few small marks on his skin are the only reminders of the terrible trauma he suffered at the hands of poachers.
This post is the first of a two-part story about the development of three islands in the Kouilou River as part of the expansion of JGI's Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo.
At the end of April, Tchimpounga staff members welcomed a new arrival: a baby girl named Anzac. She was named Anzac because she came to the sanctuary on ANZAC Day (April 25, 2012)*, and because, like many war veterans, she had lost an arm.
When she arrived, Anzac was so small that the vet team had to weigh her using a food scale. She weighed a mere 2.7 kilograms, making her one of the smallest chimps to arrive at the sanctuary.
At 7:40 a.m. on October 30, sitting on her Peak, Jane heard a wild commotion in the treetops below her. She heard some "angry little screams," and finally saw 1 of 3 chimpanzees grasping something pink. Two bushpigs ran around the base of the tree, and chased a smaller chimpanzee up it. Baboons tried to get close, snarling and skirmishing with the chimps. Eventually the chimp with the coveted goods moved out onto a high, bare branch and Jane could see he was holding a piece of carcass.
A fossil discovery described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is inconsistent with common notions that our direct evolutionary ancestors looked more like chimpanzees or gorillas than humans.
Like the famous "Lucy," this fossil, dubbed "Big Man," is Australopithecus afarensis, a bipedal primate and direct ancestor of humans. Big Man stood about 5'5," had legs that would have been good for running, and had a rib cage similar to our own. He was much taller than Lucy.
After a few weeks at Gombe, Jane found a perfect vantage point for watching the chimpanzees. It was a high ridge that gave her a good view in all directions. She could see the chimpanzees moving in the trees, and she could hear if they called.
If you're a frequent visitor to our website or belong to our online community*, you may have heard us explain that entertainment chimpanzees generally can't be retired to zoos, because they haven't learned chimpanzee social skills and therefore don't fit in easily with established chimpanzee groups.
One of Jane's favorite places to visit and "recharge her batteries" is the Platte River in Nebraska. Her dear friend photographer Tom Mangelsen has a family cabin there and Jane tries each year to sneak a few days into her busy schedule to witness the migration of the sandhill cranes and snow geese. Every March and April, an estimated hundreds of thousands of these magnificent birds travel through Nebraska on their great migration to Alaska and even Siberia.
A new study shows that male chimpanzee groups move into the territory of other chimpanzee groups to attack them and ultimately take over the territory or mates. But the scientists who conducted the study say they are reluctant to draw comparisons to human warfare. Instead, they are emphasizing the individual cooperation involved.
The Guardian quotes scientist John Mitani, a primate behavioral ecologist at the University of Michigan:
Scientists have identified more than 40 gestures used by orangutans to communicate.
To initiate play, for example, the apes used gestures including back rolls and blowing rasberries, while, quite familiarly "nudge and 'shoo' movements meant an ape wanted to be left alone."
Two scientists from the University of St Andrews in Scotland observed 28 orangutans at Twycross Zoo in the UK, Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands, and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey.