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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’..

Kalema

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.

Bahati’s new addition

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!

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