Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hunting update

My current project manager, Kelly Boyer (formerly of the Houston Zoo and now a graduate student at Iowa State) has sent me a few updates lately. I'll just paste one here.  Another observation (of Tumbo hunting bushbabies with a tool) brings our sample size up to 56 records of tool-assisted hunting!  Most hunts are still by females and young males, with only a few adult males ever exhibiting the behavior.  The picture at right is one taken by Kelly.  It is of adult female Nickel (one of the most prolific hunters) with her 1.5 year-old infant Teva and Nellie (Nickel's juvenile sister and Teva's aunt).

The observation described below of David hunting (and not sharing the meat of!) a vervet monkey will be added to a manuscript Stacy Lindshield (Ph.D. student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at ISU) and I are currently preparing.  Here is Kelly's news (I've noted the age-sex classes of individuals in parentheses):

...I did see them this week! AND (subadult male) David had a vervet!  I didn't see the hunt, but I believe it was the hunt that helped me find them because I had just heard one loud WRAA bark and then nothing... David kept nearly the whole monkey for himself, despite Mamadou (adult male), Tia (adult female) and Bo (adolescent male) begging and begging... Yopogon (alpha male) acted as if he didn't care for most of the morning, until one moment when he stood up, piloerect and swaying, charged David and gave him a good beating! Twice! But still, David kept the monkey! In the end, he gave the skin and what little was left to Mamadou. What a pal.  

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