It has been a long, hard 3 months for Boyze, going through the integration process to join Phillip’s group. Introducing an adult male into a well established group, including several adult males is indeed a challenging task!
Boyze’s initial introduction to the alpha male – Phillip – started off well (see earlier post), but after a couple of weeks Boyze made a wrong move and was punished badly by Phillip. It took a month for one of his wounds to heal. Thankfully the incident was a one-off and both chimps worked hard to patch it up. Phillip was still keen to accept Boyze, who learned from his mistake and tried his best to be submissive towards Phillip.
As this friendship grew, we were able to introduce Boyze to all the females and juveniles in the group. Boyze worked hard, very hard… sometimes he even faked playing with the little ones to win the hearts of their mothers! (We have 4 juveniles who were born into this group about 4 years ago, before we managed to improve our contraceptive routine.)
Phillip too, was keen to strengthen his relationship with Boyze. He wants to succeed in building a strong alliance to keep his rank as he is aware the other adults in the group like Ole, Perform, Tito and Jido have been regularly making moves to topple him. Ole inflicted a nasty injury on Phillip a few weeks ago.
Phillip and Jido greet each other
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Boyze reached another milestone three weeks ago when he was given a chance to enter the forest enclosures with the group except for the other adult males. He was brilliant! He made all the right moves and got himself accepted by the whole gang. He even managed to get a long grooming session from Mama Julie in full view of the entire group.
This gave us the confidence to introduce the rest of the adult males one by one. He did very well to avoid any confrontation with Perform, Tito and Jido and left Phillip to take care of any aggression from them. It worked well for Phillip too, to show the others that he has a new pal and he is keen to defend him.
The final moment, the icing on the cake, came on 4th November! Ole (our Senator McCain) the main contender for the alpha male status was brought into the group. It was a tense moment and to the pleasant surprise of all – Ole came out with his mind set on avoiding any conflict with Boyze. He has obviously been carefully watching every step of Boyze’s introduction into the group. Tuesday was a satisfying moment for everyone at camp.
As the world marks the historic victory of Obama, we are doing our bit too – celebrating Boyze’s successful introduction into the adult group! It’s by no means the end of the story but it’s a great step forward.
Many thanks for your recent support to Theresa, Wanda, Leigh, Joanne and Lucia. You really help us to keep our work going.