Spring has come around once more, bringing with it some beautiful sunny days and clear blue skies, stimulating much activity and excitement amongst the chimp group. It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the chimpanzee group was relocated to their new Sanctuary!
Maturing males Furahi and Samaki have undergone the most radical transformations since the big move, taking on rather impressive physiques. 10 year old Samaki can now be crowned as the heaviest individual out of all 17 chimps, and as for Furahi, he is now the spitting image of Lubutu, albeit slightly smaller. I think it would be true to say that all the primate keepers have done a double take at least once whilst walking past the chimp exhibit! As for our ears, we keepers have become all too accustomed to the shrieks of the chimps, as maturing males Furahi, Samaki and even the younger of the juveniles, Shikamoo, practice their displays and intimidation tactics on the females.
Despite all the surging testosterone, false bravado and “Days Of Our Lives” style drama, Lubutu has managed to keep all the younger lads in check, showing them what behaviours are and aren’t acceptable. His unwavering confidence and fair play amongst the other families within the group has ensured his ongoing leadership.
Interestingly, one individual who has managed to steer clear of these dramas is Shabani, who has recently celebrated his 18th birthday! Could this behaviour reflect his new found maturity or is Shabani working on some fresh “campaigning” tactics? Regardless, Shabani seems quite content for the moment to keep a low profile, groom a female or two and enjoy a tasty slice of watermelon.
Drama galore, like sands through the hour glass, these are the days of Taronga’s Chimpanzee Family…
Primate Keeper Diane