Yes, it might seem unbelievable that our chimps moms here have managed to add new characters to the Kanyawara cast between July and December, especially given our incredible baby luck these last two seasons, but they continue to amaze me!!
To start, I’d like to introduce you to Delta. This adolescent female first appeared in our community about a year ago, but it can be so hard to tell if females will stick around that I hesitated to really feature her until now.
When I first met Delta she was ranging with Outamba & Co. and I kept transposing her with Omusisa. The adolescent daughter of Outamba, Omusisa is younger than Delta by a few years and slightly smaller, but they both have long-limbs and mottled faces. And of course a pair of young females cycling at the same time can be difficult if we don’t know the shape or average size of either of their estrous swellings. By now the difference between them is clear as day. The easiest diagnostic is Delta’s absolutely fantastic, saucer-like ears. Isn’t she gorgeous?
Delta arrived relatively comfortable with people, but she's not too sure about cameras...
Delta is an extremely expressive chimp and she’s quite sassy too. In the first week of this season she and Omusisa were both in estrous again, courting and competing for males. Early one morning, Eslom joined the party to the usual fanfare and both females rushed toward him, reaching him at the same time. Suddenly, Delta turned to Omusisa and slapped her square in the face sending her rival screaming and winning the opportunity to mate with Eslom. It takes a certain amount of guts for the new girl to compete like that with the daughter of such a high ranking female. Between that and her ears I think it’s pretty easy to see why I love her so much. I can’t wait to see what she’s like as a new mom!
Mucuso is named for a fig tree planted in the 90's by Chimp House that *finally* produced a big enough crop of fruits to attract the chimps in 2016. He was born about a week before I left the forest in July so I couldn’t begin to include him as a focal last season, but I started following him immediately when I returned in December. As he nears his half-birthday a rambunctious little personality is already emerging. Luckily for mom, Mucuso’s sister, Mango, keeps him busy with hours of gentle wrestling and tickling! Despite his high energy levels (or maybe because of them), Mucuso seems to have a relaxing effect on his mother, Michelle, who has become more and more comfortable with human observers watching her offspring. I must admit that I’m predisposed to like Mucuso as his mother is named for a hero of mine, First Lady Michelle Obama. And his big ears fit him so well! Apparently I have a thing for big chimpanzee ears… I like to think this pair would do both the First Lady and her husband proud!
I’ve got two more introductions for you next week, so stay tuned, guys!
This is Mucuso's "Eager Anticipation" face... he just can't wait for Part 2!
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This blog is a forum share my personal experiences as a field researcher and traveler.