Although chimpanzees have been studied for decades at several sites, the Goualougo Triangle offers new and important insights for understanding great apes. It also provides a great opportunity to become acquainted with many individual chimpanzees and gorillas who each have a unique personality. Below are some brief introductions to the apes!
A Dominant Male with an Explosive Temperament
Due to his strong personality, Macallan was named after a Scottish whisky. His arrival at chimpanzee gatherings is often announced by buttress drumming and raucous calls. He is typically accompanied by an adolescent entourage, consisting of males who are jousting for positions of dominance within the group. Although his social status has shifted with advancing age, Macallan is still a strong force within the Moto community.
A Trusted Ally
Cole is an adult male of the Moto community. He is mid-ranking within the social hierarchy of males, and has been a trusted ally to both high ranking and up-and-coming males. He frequents gatherings within the community’s core area, and is very attentive to social relationships within the group. Cole’s relaxed demeanor was instrumental during the early years of ape habituation. He was among the first habituated to our presence.
A Young Female Arrives in Strange Community
Late one afternoon when we were returning to the base camp from our daily surveys in the forest, we heard a group of chimpanzees approaching the camp. There were several familiar faces in the party, and also a young subadult female chimpanzee that we did not recognize. Dorothy eventually became an established member of the Moto community. She is one of Moto communities most avid honey gatherers and tool users!
A Future Alpha Male
Leif is undoubtedly one of the most rambunctious members of the Moto community. He is the son of Theresa, a dominant female of the Moto community. His time each day is typically divided among foraging, traveling, and trying to work his way into the social hierarchy of the older males within the Moto community. One of his favorite activities seems to be spending time shadowing his older brothers, Lewis and Leakey.
Working Mom: Dominant Female and Fabulous Mother of Four
One of the first chimpanzees we encountered in the Goualougo Triangle was an adult female accompanied by her juvenile son. This female was named after Mother Theresa. Theresa quickly habituated to our presence and we soon realized that she was a dominant female within the Moto community. She is a very capable mother, and has had four offspring since 1999. Her latest is a daughter named Risa.
A Supportive Friend and Allomother
It is rare that female chimpanzees form strong social bonds. However, Fiona, an adult female in the Moto community has had a long “friendship” with Theresa, a dominant female within the group. Fiona is almost always found in association with Theresa and her offspring. While Fiona has never had offspring of her own, she spends much of her time interacting socially with Theresa’s infants. Fiona is easily recognized by white pigmentation on her lower chin.
A True Momma’s Boy
Donny was first encountered in 1999 with his mother Maya. At that time he was a juvenile and so still expected to be closely bonded with his mother. Donny is now a full grown and is working his way up the dominance rank with other male community member. However, he was still often found in close proximity to his mother and sister Malia. Donny is one of the few chimpanzees who have been observed hunting monkeys.
Skilled Tool-user featured in BBC “Africa” Series
Emma was orphaned when her mother “Ester” disappeared in 1999. She was a young juvenile at the time and we feared that she would not survive the loss of her mother. Emma beat the odds and proved us wrong by growing up to a healthy young adolescent. She developed into one of the most proficient honey gathering chimpanzees of the Moto community. Perhaps she learned honey pounding techniques from Dorothy who was a frequent companion of Emma’s and avid tool user. See Emma in action going after honey in the BBC series “Africa”.