Kwezi: King for a day.. well for five minutes.. sort of..

November 13, 2011

No matter how you look at it Kwezi is a mummy’s boy. At 16-years old he should be a fully fledged young adult male and at the point where most chimpanzees have been independent from their mothers for 6-7 years – not Kwezi though, on the rare occasion that he strays out of Kwera’s sight he’s clearly quite anxious to be back lounging about with mum. It’s not as though Kwera is overly protective, if it were up to her the apron strings would have been cut a long time ago! Her other two daughters are bright, active, independent young things, but for some reason Kwezi’s just not ready to fly the family nest. Despite this he’s clearly very keen on trying to act the part of the ‘big man’ in the family, and a couple of days ago when all the bigger boys (and some of the smaller ones that have just decided to grown up a little faster!) were off in the swamp he found himself surrounded by a veritable harem of females. Janie, Kalema, Kutu and Kwera had all decided it was far too hot to travel and they were going to hang out in the shady Mulberry trees around camp – the only other boys around were Kasigwa and Klaus, both little infants more interested in the possibilities for play than in the group social dynamics. Seeing a prize opportunity to strut his stuff Kwezi puffs out his chest, puffs up his hair and stretches out on the path to be groomed by his ‘adoring’ audience of ladies…

Initially fairly tolerant the girls give him the once over but he decides that he’s not getting his full dues and starts to display – slapping the ground, dragging branches, and generally making a nuisance of himself. That, unfortunately for him, is about as far as he got – while all adult and some sub-adult males are normally dominant to the adult females, no-one was convinced by his attempts to pass himself off as a contender. Janie (who’s been known on occasion to send our alpha male packing and certainly wasn’t going to take any nonsense from this upstart teen) promptly turns around, stands her ground and shouts right back at him. Kwera realizes something’s about to go rather wrong for her son and steps in, shaking a sapling and moving between Kwezi and Janie.

Kwera (center) grabs a sapling and intervenes (despite having baby Karibu on her back) - Kwezi is already out of shot...

At this point Kwezi could have a) stepped up and asserted himself with Janie, or b) at least supported his mother who’s doing his job for him, but unfortunately, and true to form, he chooses option c) run away as fast as you can and wait until your mum has it all sorted out for you..

One of these days he’ll make the break from mum but at this point it’s looking more likely that his baby sister Karo is going to leave the family unit first!

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