Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Integration of Mangé

Integration of another chimpanzee into a pre-established group is always tricky, but does tend to be easier when the chimpanzees are all as young as the Aketi Five are.

Still, when it comes to the integration of a chimpanzee with as obvious social deficiencies as Mangé, it’s always going to be a challenge.

Troubling too was the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to be present at the integration, since my responsibilities to Aketi Kigoma left me stuck at the house.

Regardless, I have excellent faith in Polycarpe, even if his patience as a chimp mother was noticeably absent during Mangé’s last month at the house. So off he went on the back of the moto with Seba, and Seba recorded it all on video for me to watch later.

It strikes me as remarkable that one of one species can be so utterly afraid of others from his own species. That Mangé felt more at ease with Polycarpe than he did with other chimpanzees is a troubling statement, but one we had to try to counteract nonetheless.

I might consider being afraid too at first especially when all three chimpanzees at the sanctuary -- Kathé, Bolungwa and Django Mayanga, all descended upon Mangé at once, curious to see who had arrived!

As he fled and the three followed, Djodjo did eventually intervene and collect Mangé from the ground, though he continued to scream.

Djodjo sat with Mangé and the most remarkable thing happened. Django Mayanga came in to jealously swat at Mangé (he has enjoyed thus far being the “baby” of the sanctuary), Kathé, the biggest chimp there (a female) came running over to Mangé’s rescue, chasing Django away while beating him.

It gives me such hope that perhaps Mangé can form normal chimpanzee bonds with the others!

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