December 1, 2008
Welcome to our Budongo web log! In camp we were feeling a little guilty about being the only ones lucky enough to experience all of the interesting and entertaining stories that make up daily life here in the Budongo forest; so we thought we’d set up a blog so that everyone else could have as much fun keeping up with the Sonso chimps as we do! We hope that this helps all of our existing friends (and hopefully some new ones..) keep track of the characters they know and love, and meet a few others along the way. We’ve filled the site with lots of interesting features about not only the chimps, but also the research and other projects here at camp. So scroll down for the latest stories or have a look around the rest of the site, and don’t forget to let us know what you think!
Who’s Who – Check out our chimp profiles in the Sonso Who’s Who pages for the latest up to date information and pictures on the members of the Sonso Chimpanzee community.
Current Research - Check out the ongoing projects at the field site.
Local Projects – See how the project has extended it’s links through the local community.
November 5, 2012
OK folks, we’re now a proper page on Facebook so check out the link on the right, come on down and please Like away – feel free to post stories, photos and news of your Budongo friends, furry or otherwise!
November 5, 2012
Kalema has been a familiar face to many of the researchers and staff on the chimpanzee team here in Budongo. Around from the earliest days of the project she’s easily recognized from her badly disfigured hand, the result of an old snare injury, or the unusually pointy head that she appears to have passed on to all of her children – leading to them being affectionately named the ‘coneheads’..
At 33-years old she’s had three children: Bahati her eldest daughter who emigrated to our Waibira group, Kumi her middle daughter who recently emigrated too, although we’ve yet to work out where, and Klaus, her youngest son who, as the apple of his mother’s watchful eye, constantly gets himself into scraps and scrapes which she frantically smooths over for him. As Klaus just turned 6, it was about time that they had a new arrival in the family but sadly this just hasn’t been our year for baby chimps, and following the losses of both Oakland and Nora’s babies – Kalema also lost her new infant, apparently to natural causes. To add to our worries this had clearly been a difficult birth and Kalema was left with a prolapsed uterus – a potentially life threatening situation. A natural risk of childbirth there was nothing for us to do but monitor her carefully and keep our fingers crossed that Kalema would battle through. Now after a couple of nervous weeks we can at last report that she seems to have turned a corner, and despite needing a little more rest than usual is getting back to her daily routine.
Maybe our luck is starting to turn as Bahati (who’s name means Luck in Swahili) has just made her a grandma! We’re keeping every set of fingers and toes crossed in the forest that our new mother lives up to her name – and gives us our first Waibira baby born to a fully habituated female. If it’s a little girl perhaps she’ll emigrate back to her grandmother’s community one day!
September 12, 2012
We see lots of changes over the years at Budongo: births and deaths, immigrations and emigrations. One of the most exciting parts of now having two neighbouring groups is that we can start to see some of those changes unfolding. Female chimpanzees emigrate to another community when they reach sexual maturity (somewhere between 13-15years old), there are a few, such as Kewaya, who stay in their natal community but these are rare exceptions. Usually once a young female has started to have the regular cycles of her sexual swelling she’ll also start to disappear off for a few days, weeks, and eventually months at a time. This year Katia, Janet and Kumi all disappeared for longer trips and so far only Katia has made it back to us. Hopefully Janet and Kumi are settling into new groups somewhere, they’re on the young side to immigrate but they were both always fairly precocious girls who started cycling early and had the attitude to match.
On the other side of it we see new faces popping up in Sonso – recently a fluffy young girl who can’t be more than 11 or 12 years old has become a regular visitor and seems to be settling in for the time being. She seems to have buddied up with Simon who can usually be found grooming her for long periods of time in the swamps to the south. Excitingly a couple of weeks ago, when the big fig that stands tall over camp came into fruit another new face cropped up – this one seemed half familiar to us and we realised that while we don’t know her she is the spitting image of several of our Waibira females.. Perhaps as Nora and Bahati went from Sonso up into Waibira, we’ll now start to see some of our Waibira girls comes south-west into Sonso. Kipepeo and Rachna are our best bets for young girls at the right age to immigrate – but with the results to the DNA analyses that the team have worked hard to get now coming through, we’ll hopefully be able to even check out individuals who we haven’t yet met.