14 Mar 2014

The bonobos that walked forever!

My legs feel pretty tired too this afternoon - Kame Kake: the bonobos that walked forever. They're mosika penja! [very very far] In the North-east quarter of their range, near mai Bohongogo and mai Kofola (two rivers). This morning we left at 4:30, and arrived at the nest-site at 6:05. We didn't hear the afternoon trackers over the motorola until 12:30, (normally 11:00), and we met them at 12:50. Then the walk back took until 14:35. And it rained. Hard. Starting at 13:00 and lasting all afternoon. So at least it was a cool, refreshing walk back.

Now that I'm also following males, whereas last time just females and infants, I get to see another aspect of bonobo behaviour. Lots of branch dragging, solicitation, post-conflict reconciliation, even tree-drumming. Before Yumoto left, he and Sakamaki and I talked about how to identify individuals. Yumoto said it's a lot like identifying tree species. First, you look for some obvious physical trait - scars, missing fingers, fur colour, genital swelling. Once you know a few individuals like that, then you start to identify by process of elimination - I know it's not that one or that one, so it must be this one. Finally, you can just see the way the individual is. And know by the face or the movement, hey, that's Nobita. That's Dai. I know the females this way, and it's pretty satisfying to start identifying the males like that too.

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