It’s all about the girls..

July 3, 2009

So after a very quiet few weeks things have been heating up at Sonso as two of our adult females came into oestrus. The majority of the females in our community have young babies, a great sign of hope for the community, but it does mean that there’s not a lot of available skirt for the boys to chase after.. Chimps nurse and carry their infants for up to 5 years and won’t become fertile during this time. Tanja and Harriet both have 4 year old infants who are being weaned at the moment and have just started their first real fertile period – easily seen by the huge vaginal swellings they are both sporting. Our alpha male Nick seemed to have a particular fondness for Tanja and they have already disappeared for a couple of days together. Harriet seems more interested in some of the younger males like Musa and in particular Squibs. This might have been rather unfortunate for Squibs who was seen with serious injuries that bore all the hallmarks of an attack by Nick (deep bite marks on the back). After this while Harriet continued to show interest, his ardor had definitely cooled off!

Following suit, two of the older sub-adult females, Nora and Rachel, also both starting showing small swellings which caused plenty of interest among the younger males. Nora is now of the age where she would normally emigrate to another community but as the alpha female’s daughter she enjoys a dominant position in her home group and now that she is receiving serious interest from the adult males this might further reduce her incentive for moving to another group.

Otherwise the unseasonal rain continues to put a dampner on the behaviour of both the chimps and the researchers.. hopefully with the return of the sunshine some of the fruiting trees in the forest might also start to finally ripen and perk everyone back up again.

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