New kids on the block..

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.

our fluffy young visitor who looks a lot like Pascal

are the Waibira girls starting to come to Sonso?

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