A softer side to Nick?

January 25, 2011

Nick, the Sonso alpha male has never been known for his steady or diplomatic nature – he rose to the top as a young powerful male with a definite bent for brawn over brains. The deaths of several of our large males in recent years left the Sonso males in a weakened and vulnerable position which seemed to be associated with a worrying trend of the neighbouring group encroaching ever deeper into Sonso territory. More recently, as the crop of young subadult males (Musa, Kato, Squibs and co.) have developed into strong mature adults, this situation seems to have eased; and Nick in particular seems more comfortable with his position at the top of the hierachy. Still we were surprised to see him revealing a much softer side recently when, following the death of a female chimp in a trap, a young orphaned infant turned up in the group. We suspect that, sadly, the female was the Sonso chimp Sabrina, and that it is her youngest daughter Sharlot that has now been left to fend for herself at only a few years old. The little chimp appears to prefer the company of the big males, and is regularly seen following Squibs and Zalu, but perhaps her most surprising choice of companion though is Nick, who treats her with a gentle tolerance we didn’t know he had in him. Other Sonso chimps have been orphaned at a young age and gone on to survive – Zed and Rachel are two – but both of these had older brothers who cared for them. At the moment we can only wait and see with our fingers crossed if, after her difficult start, she will be one of the lucky individuals who manage to win through to adolescence and beyond. She certainly seems to have started at the top when choosing her new friends!

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