Wamba Diary #5
Lots of things happened over the past two weeks –some exciting, some others a bit less. Let’s start with exciting stuffs! First, earlier this week, some E1 females hunted ‘itere’, a flying squirrel constituting the only known source of meat for bonobos at Wamba –something very rare to witness. Kiku, the alpha female of E1 group caught it and shared with Sachi -an adolescent female asking for a piece while offering her genital in exchange. Kalin, Kiku’s juvenile daughter got a piece too, as well as Fua and Namie, two other young females. Males got nothing this time. Then, another rare event happened in Wamba bonobos' life: both groups encountered! I could not witness it myself as something less exciting, called Malaria, knocked back at my door at the same time but Toda, Bafaluka, Isolumbo, Emike and Mboka did. E1 group fled at first and later, the trackers observed some agonistic interactions between both groups but Fua did not seem to mind and was the one initiating affiliative behaviors towards members of PE group such as grooming. Both groups nested in the vicinity and interacted again the next day. Fua remained in PE group while the rest of E1 returned to their part of the forest. Meanwhile, at camp, we started discussing conservation education activities with the school director of the locality and some teachers. We also got the visit of an anthropologist, Dr. Lys Alcayna, a postdoc at the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale and at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, who works on the perception of Conservation NGOs by local people as well as on the recent Ebola outbreak (2014) in the region (–it was nice meeting you Lys!). And then, we got another surprise visit from the Ministry of Environment which came to witness some deforestation issues happening within the Scientific Reserve of Luo… -an experience to say the least.
Some momentum as supplementary material:
- Not understanding Besao, the ‘sentinel’ (-I made progress in Lingala but not yet enough…), who is asking me to remove my clothes that are drying outside because the woman who usually does it is at a funeral and he can’t touch my "women clothes"… I only understood ‘morte’ (= dead in French) and was wondering who died and what he was trying to tell me…
- At the church, the priest is reciting the Bible in Lingala and a pig just outside the window is snorting between verses while everyone is keeping its seriousness...
Cheers from the forest!
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