Saturday, July 9, 2011

10 years of the Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project

This past week we had a party to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project. Thanks to everyone (and there are many!) who helped along the way!

People from the villages of Fongoli, Djendji, Petit Oubadji, Tenkoto, Seekoto, Ngari, Bantako and probably a few others came, as well as some folks from Kedougou and beyond! There was much dancing (traditional, as in the video I've posted a link to here, as well as more of the modern style once the DJ got started!) and feasting!

Chimps were given a day to party on their own too - without ANY observers! They were nice enough to let me find them quickly the next day and, to my surprise, Bo was back after being gone for about two and a half weeks. That made the community complete - 31 together - except for a couple of peripheral males we see once or twice a year...

Also, the day before our 10th anniversary fete, I saw, heard or found evidence for TEN different hunts. I saw 7 cases of tool-assisted galago hunting, another case where I heard the hunt and saw the adolescent female leaving and found the tool, a case where an adult female examined a hunting tool that had recently been made and, finally, I witnessed a vervet monkey hunt (with Lily, the newly transferred subadult female in the lead)! I'm sad to say no one I observed got lucky (except for the prey!).

Here is a link to the fantastic Bassari dancers from the village of Petit Oubadji who danced most of the day for us at the anniversary party:

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