Saturday, January 12, 2008
We (Jill and Michael) were on our way to Djendji to look for chimps so that Michael could film some for the Primate Behavior distance course. Lupin was the only chimp seen yesterday. Lupin is a young adult male who appears to be moving his way up the dominance hierarchy of 11 males. Fiona (a Ph.D. student from Cambridge University) and Johnny (my head field assistant) last saw him there at 6:30 in the evening. Djendji is about an hour's walk from Fongoli village camp, but on the way we actually heard pant-hoots not far from Sakoto (which is only about a kilometer from Fongoli village) and found Karamoko (an adult male and number 9 in the hierarchy) and some females (maybe Farafa with her infant daughter Fanta and her juvenile male Frito), and heard some males. We could never find the males so went on to Djenjdi, where they finally showed up. It was Yopogon (adult male, number 2 in hierarchy), Bilbo (adult male at about 5 in the hierarchy) and Jumkin (an adolescent male who hangs out with the adult males these days rather than his mom) and they all made their usual noisy appearence. After spending a very long time drinking, they rested awhile and then preceded to eat a lot of bamboo pith, which can't taste like much of anything at this time of year. We left them there at Djendji after losing sight of them in the bamboo at about 5pm. They were a little skittish around the video camera, but Michael got a few shots of them, especially a good one of Jumkin drinking inside the small cave that is the source of the water here at Djendji. We thought we might hear other chimps on the way back to Fongoli but no such luck. They appear to be scattered around in small parties, eating Lenke seeds and Bombax costatum flowers. It was great to see them on the first day out after a long time anyway...!