BLOG #8 – 30TH AUGUST 2012
Elizabeth Winterton

EARLY MORNING WAKE-UP CALL

When I was preparing myself for coming out to Africa I started reading Anna's blog. One particular entry stuck in my mind and it was the account of the elephants roaming around camp early one morning, and ever since I’ve hoped to have this experience too.

If you've read any of my previous blogs you will know back in July I had the fortune of an elephant visiting me in camp during lunch-time. However, apart from the occasional rumble and snap near the tent in the middle of the night, I've never been fortunate enough to see them at camp early morning until last Saturday.

Planning on having an extra 15 minutes in bed before work I was awoken at 5.30 by a low rumble outside the tent. Ever curious I cautiously peeped my head outside to have a look, and 30m from me was a huge bull elephant happily munching on a monkey bread tree.

Typically that night I had put my camera battery on charge, so as there was no wind I crept to the dining room to grab my battery snapping a few photos and attempting to get some video footage on my way back to the safety of the tent.  Unfortunately the elephants didn't hang around for too long, but it was truly amazing to see them so relaxed & up close.

Elephant at camp early morning

CHANGING PLACES

Since the demise of Jojo there has definitely been some shifting of rank taking place within the Fibwe group with seemingly more aggression, some of which directed at us (I'm not sure whether to be flattered they think we're baboons, or slightly concerned!). Mr Cookies, the oldest and biggest male in the troop seems to have taken a fancy to fighting anyone, and is usually joined (either with or against) Otis and Short Tail. Whether this increased aggression has something to do with the rapidly increasing infant population I'm not sure.

Something else which has changed is the female-female relationships, with females seemingly becoming 'friends' because of their recent foray into motherhood. For example, Godiva who seemed pretty lonely before is now commanding the majority of female attention, and Janis who was the 2nd lowest ranking female only to be seen with L.P. is now friends with Ella and even tries to hang out with the likes of Clover who is much more highly ranked than her!

With Ella, Dolly and the high rankers of Patsy and Indigo still to give birth, I'm pretty sure there are more changes to come.

Dolly, Dylan, Aretha, Axel, Godiva and Guns
NOT A GOOD DAY TO BE A BLUE MONKEY

On the 27th August we were happily watching the baboon troop, when all of a sudden the troop started barking and going crazy. After originally thinking they had come into contact with the other troop of 100 which shares some of their home area, we were shocked to see Mr Cookies leading some of the males in hot pursuit of an adult male blue monkey seemingly trying to kill it!

After managing to grab it once, the blue monkey somehow managed to escape & flee without getting injured.

This is the first time I've seen the baboons chasing something so large, so it was pretty amazing!
Usually the kindas and blue monkeys appear to live in relative harmony, using the same sleeping sites, but after the previous day’s battle I was surprised to see the blue monkeys at the same mushitu as the baboons the following morning.


Blue Monkeys


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