Wamba Diary #8
Otomi, an adult female of Kamekake (E1 group), gave birth recently. Before that, she and Osamu, her 3-year-old son, went missing for a few days and when she came back she had a baby clinging on her belly -very dark and quite hairy already! Then, she disappeared again for 3 days and was spotted briefly the following day under a strong rain, the infant still on her belly. Sadly, that was the last time he (it was a male) was seen alive. When we found the group the next morning, she was carrying an inanimate body within her hands, followed by Osamu. Like the rest of the group, she went foraging high in a Boleka tree for breakfast, carrying the corpse in one hand. When she got down, Osamu tried to get the body, pulling its arms towards him but Otomi did not let it go. She then went on the next group activity: grooming. While others engaged in social grooming, she started grooming the face of the dead infant with her mouth. She was still protective of it and sat at the end of the dead tree trunk, keeping the infant against her when another individual approached. A few hours later, her behavior seemed to have changed as she was observed dragging the body on the ground and shaking it, potentially to get rid of the flies that started to gather around. Ten minutes later, she abandoned the corpse on the ground. At first, Kiyota, an adolescent male showed interest and touched the body but then quickly left with the rest of the group. The body had no apparent wound, did not yet smell and was not rigid either. We will never know what happened in between that rainy afternoon and the following morning but this reminded us how unpredictable life can be in the forest. (To end up on a positive note, Hoshi, another adult female of Kamekake, has an enormous belly so, we hope to share better news soon!)
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