Thursday, August 11, 2011

New faces, new names...lots of hunting!

An update on some of the happenings around Fongoli includes a little bit about some of the new faces, along with their new names (that we use anyway!) and, finally, an update on galago hunting!

Natasha's infant son is now about 3 months old, and he is quite active. He has been given a name courtesy of a generous donor, Carolyn Farris, to the Leakey Foundation, which auctioned off the name of Natasha's infant to raise funds for that organization (they have also kindly funded the research at Fongoli!). They also recently posted a blog entry that I wrote about an exciting day at Fongoli.

Ms. Farris noted, "I would like to name Natasha’s baby “Pistache” (French for pistachio nut), after my long hair Chihuahua. I adopted her from the Helen Woodward Animal Center and she was named after a character in a book. The chain of events that led to her adoption started on Bastille Day, so I thought a French name would be appropriate for her. The name is pronounced Pee-stash. My little dog is popular with everyone she meets, as she is loving, cuddly and playful. She is also tall for a Chihuahua, just as Natasha and her son are tall."

Pistache the Fongoli chimp is indeed tall for his age - and quite precocious! Natasha is careful to keep others away from him at his young age, but infant Aimee sometimes can sneak in and touch him. The other new group member, adolescent female immigrant Lily is often close by as well and sometimes seems to "accidentally" groom Pistache for a second before resuming to groom Natasha. Lily has been a member of the Fongoli community for several months now and has integrated well. She is quite outgoing, tends to challenge the resident females, likes to spend time with the alpha male (who doesn't?!), and still plays extensively with the youngsters. Hopefully, pictures of Pistache and Lily will be posted here soon (I've had technical difficulties this summer!).

Finally, we have already racked up 45 tool-assisted "spearing" hunting bouts this year! This ties our record, which was set last year. Although hunting peaks in the early rainy season, chances are a few more observations will trickle in, and we'll set a new record this year! Young female Fanta is currently the most prolific hunter, although adult female Tumbo (seen above in photo with infant Cy, courtesy National Geographic Society) still holds the record for the highest success rate. Well done Fongoli chimps!

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