Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fongoli chimps' 2012 year in review!

A lot of things happened at Fongoli in 2012, but here are some highlights. New female transfer Eva arrived about the middle of the year, and other arrivals included Nickel's new baby boy Vincent, early in 2012, and Tia's son later on in the year. Lily (transferred in over a year ago to Fongoli!) also had a male infant late in 2012. Vincent, Toto and Louis, respectively, are doing fine although with the tragic loss of Tia to snakebite late in the year, Toto is no longer with his group. Toto was only 2 months old when his mother died, and he would not have lived without being nursed by a lactating female. The chance that a female that already had an infant would also adopt Toto was so slim that we chose to rescue him and are currently involved in his care. We have several options in mind for Toto and are hopeful that all will go well for him.

(Photo of Toto courtesy Stacy Lindshield)

Toto's sister Aimee was weaned when her mother died, but she was only five and a half and would have still stuck close to Tia for several years. She seems to have been adopted by the former alpha male Lupin. Older males Bandit and Siberut also look out for Aimee, waiting for her when she lags during long-distance travel. These males as well as others allow Aimee to take food from them sometimes, as she would have done from her mother. Aimee was taken from Tia in 2009 but confiscated by our team and returned to her within 5 days. She was able to spend 3 more years with her mom until Tia met her unfortunate fate.
(Photo of new alpha male David)

In other news, young male David supplanted alpha male Lupin early in 2012. David was able to do so because he had support from his brother, second-ranking male Mamadou. Exiled former alpha male Foudouko was seen quite a few times following David's rise and Lupin's fall. He is no longer habituated to human observers, after being peripheralized for several years, so the dynamics of what is going on with Foudouko and the rest of the community remain to be teased out over time. The chimps racked up over 35 more tool-assisted hunting cases, and we have a total of well over 200 cases overall and hope to examine individual differences in tool-assisted hunting behavior in new analyses.

In Neighbor Ape (our non-profit organization) news, we have made great progress on the OBRAR dormitory project and were once again able to fund schoolchildren of different ages in Kedougou and Tambacounda, as well as a nursing student in Dakar. We donated a year's worth of school supplies to the village of Djendji again, and we are embarking on a new collaborative healthcare project with the Senegalese OBRAR organization. Neighbor Ape also earned a permanent spot on the Global Giving website after a successful fund-raising campaign! Thank you again to all of you who have given us support!

All in all, even though there were definitely some sad events, 2012 was a pretty good year for the Fongoli chimps and for Neighbor Ape too. Let's hope 2013 is prosperous as well!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Congratulations Dondo "Johnny" Kante on being Educator of the Month!

Dondo Kante serves as the Conservation Steward for the Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project, as well as the Project Manager for the FSCP. He has worked for the FSCP since 2001, and he also helped initiate the OBRAR project, an organization based in Senegal that works to provide opportunities for the minority Beudick group. You can read more about Dondo's amazing work to help people as well as chimpanzees on the Primate Education Network's website. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Boyer of the Faleme Chimpanzee Conservation project in Senegal, with whom Dondo collaborates).