VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Living with chimps may not do wonders for your communication abilities, but it just might pay off in a better understanding of theirs.
With the scarcity of ripe fruit at Gombe over the last month and a half, the chimps have spread out across the park in order to avoid intense feeding competition. While, currently, this might be the best foraging strategy, it can be awfully lonely.
With foraging chimps coming up with little more than a few hard, bright green fruits, it wasn’t surprising when one tried his odds at catching a more satisfying meal.
The Gombe chimps have disappeared, turning us into detectives as well as biologists. While days can go by without any sign of the chimps, occasionally we get clues to their whereabouts.
Nowadays we don’t stop much to eat, balancing coffee in the car, scarfing a sandwich on the subway and grabbing a pretzel on the street as we race around town. For the month of April, the chimps have adopted our busy lifestyle thanks to the availability of their very own grab-n-go food, budyenkende.
Last decade, Frodo was the villain in Gombe, beating down chimps, monkeys, and humans alike on his journey to the top. Nowadays, the retired alpha-male has adopted a new lifestyle as distinguished as the grey hair coating his back.
What is it like to follow chimpanzees? Relaxing then action-packed. Strenuous but peaceful. Habitual yet unpredictable. While no two days are ever alike, here is a glimpse into a “standard” day in the life of a chimpanzee researcher at Gombe National Park.
Coinciding with celebrations of Spring taking place in the Northern Hemisphere, the return of the rains to Gombe National Park has brought a spray of a different kind to brighten up the gloom.
Bold chimpanzees from Gombe National Park’s central community ventured past the protection of their home territory to revel in the two things that may cause just about any male to risk his life.
Mpapa fruit is in season, and it’s making a big impact on the chimps of Gombe and my research into the sounds they make.