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Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre New alpha for Paddy's former group!!!

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by DenApe, 21 Jun 2018.

  1. DenApe

    DenApe Active Member

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    It has come to my attention that the group of 16 chimpanzees previously ruled by Paddy has a new leader. It is now referred to as Cindy's group....which means the now 39 near old Cindy, second oldest female in the community, has risen to take charge of the whole group...atleast for the time being. As I'm sure we all know by now, chimpanzees live in a patriarchal society where males are the dominant sex and take charge, therefore a group is usually led by a male. The exception to this rule is if there are no males old enough or bold enough to take charge and it falls to the top ranking female instead. Females do play a big role too in chimpanzee politics considering that it is they whose support any male needs to not only acquire the top spot but also retain it. A female in charge would make much difference to the dynamics of a group, that she may lack the brawn of a male to discipline troublemakers. She can still put on impressive dominance displays and rely on the support of her female friends. In the case of Cindy, she rose to power most probably because of her previous long term bond with the deceased alpha. She was already high ranking for years, but had to compete for the top spot in the female hierarchy with the likes of Beth and Bixa (the oldest primate at the park at the age of 40 now by the way). I always assumed Beth was the top female...but there have been alot of mixed opinions about this with Bixa sometimes identified as the highest ranking. But now, it seems the fun, naughty Cindy has taken the top spot. She is neither the oldest nor the largest female, therefore she must have taken charge with the support from the other females rather than bullying her way to the top. At 39 she is still in her prime, lots of experience and even though she may not be able to do some of the things that a male does she will still be a figure of reassurance, comfort to the others and is well familiar with handling politics, and this makes her 'qualified' to lead the way for the remaining individuals, especially the younger female Eddi. This is not to say that there will never be a male to lead this group..as since Busta hasn't stepped up it looks like Bart may be the one but at only 10 (he'll be 11 in July) he still has at least another 9 years to go before big enough to take charge. Until then its queen Cindy at the top!
     
    Last edited: 21 Jun 2018
  2. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    IMO, this just underlines what is "sub-standards" about and out-of-place with the management and overall ethics of some of these high profile rescue facilities.
     
  3. Sand Cat

    Sand Cat Well-Known Member

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    Why??? This statement seems very harsh on Monkey World. These are complex animals and I would have thought it was potentially a good thing to see them sorting out their own hierarchy, even if it is in a rather unconventional manner.
     
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  4. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I think the inference here is that it would be better to have new adult males in the group than for a female to have to take on the unusual role(for a female) of dominance. However introducing fresh adult males would be time-consuming and disruptive to the group, and its younger males in particular, which is why I think they prefer to leave them in this more unnatural situation. Some will think that's sensible, others will think its an unnatural situation. IMO its both really.
     
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  5. marmolady

    marmolady Well-Known Member

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    Really, the situation would likely not have arisen if not for Monkey World's practice of castrating almost all the males. Only the adolescent Bart is intact. Had they not been castrated, Gamba, Micky or Busta would likely have had very different roles in the group. It is an unnatural situation, but then so are pretty much all social groupings of chimpanzees in captivity (true fission-fusion communities are hard to replicate when animals are in relatively close quarters).

    I have no doubt that moving more adult males into the group would have been considered (Paco- formerly living in that group and intact- may have been a possibility), but there are a whole lot of contributing factors that go into the social situation, and it is impossible to make a judgement from 'the outside' over whether moving animals around is in their best interests.
     
  6. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Did Monkeyworld castrate these males themselves? I had presumed that that was done by former owners, maybe not.
     
  7. marmolady

    marmolady Well-Known Member

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    Yes, they use it as a management technique to lessen aggression within the groups, with just a few individuals chosen to be left intact (presently Paco, Hananya, Bryan and Bart). Perhaps some arrived that way, but the vast majority would have been very young upon rescue. Seamus and Rodders, for example, were born at Monkey World and have been castrated.

    The intact males don't seem to have survived as well compared to their castrated counterparts; Paddy, Tikko, Alberto, Rodney and most recently, Ben, died from heart complications. I am iffy about the behavioural ramifications of castration, but can't help but wonder if there are some health benefits, with heart failure so prevalent in captive male apes.
     
  8. Sand Cat

    Sand Cat Well-Known Member

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    I tend to accept that Monkey World know best in these situations. We have to remember its a sanctuary, whose priority is to use their available resources to rescue animals - so breeding is not really on the agenda, with a few notable exceptions. Castrating animals may seem odd to some on here but its the sensible attitude to take here.
     
  9. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    It would explain the easier management of groups there that contain a number of males. It is the same at Twycross where several of the males are castrated. It reduces dominance issues and fighting/heirarchal struggles too, though other zoos are able to manage cohesive multi-male groups without taking this rather drastic measure. I appreciate MW are not a breeding facility but hadn't realised they used this method themselves as a management technique.
     
  10. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Pertinax, do not confuse the two: Twycross has had its chimps castrated on the recommendations of the EAZA / EEP for no hybrids and 2 ssp. conservation breeding programs.

    What strategy Monkey World follows with its pure-bred chimps (and untested ...) is an entirely different affair.
     
  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure about that- at Twycross, some of their males I think have been castrated for a long time now, from much earlier on during the Molly Badham era. While there are others there that are hybrid that haven't been, apart from the recent new pure male Kibale. As far as 'breeding programmes' there is no pure male Eastern(Shweinfurth's) chimp there, only two females, and now of the three or four West African females still alive, only one (Josie- she is listed as such anyway) is possibly still of breeding age, so they are currently not really in any position to breed any pure Chimps, other than possibly from the one pair (Kibale x Josie). I don't know if they intend to make any changes or additions to promote any breeding in future, or just keep them as a large social group as a display only.

    On the other hand Monkeyworld is principally a rest home for Chimps and they have no policy of breeding, and actively discourage it I believe.
     
    Last edited: 27 Jun 2018
  12. BeakerUK

    BeakerUK Well-Known Member

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    Considering most of the chimpanzee births they have had there have ended up needing to be hand reared due to the mothers being unable to care for their youngsters, this would seem a prudent choice.
     
  13. DenApe

    DenApe Active Member

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    Agreed, Paco would have been an ideal candidate, because of his familiarity to this group and his mature age. However for one reason or another they have decided to not re-integrate him back. He seems happy where he is, so perhaps they did not want/do not want to stress an animal by removing him from a group in which he has an established high rank But who knows, perhaps they still consider it.
     
  14. DenApe

    DenApe Active Member

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    Now that you mention it, it does seem like the intact males were the first to die. The only thing to result from having their 'tools' intact is the production of testosterone, which as far as I know, does not negatively affect the health of the animal,if anything it is for the betterment of the animal in aspects of competing with others. I believe it is a coincidence that the apes who died are the intact animals. But what is clear is that of the male chimps who died most seemed to have succumbed to more or less the same thing: heart problems. Ben, Alberto, Paddy and Tikko died from heart-related problems. Could testosterone be the culprit?
     
    Last edited: 29 Jun 2018
  15. DenApe

    DenApe Active Member

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    The park does have a non-breeding policy for the already numerous chimps, and apart from the females being given human contraceptive pills on a regular basis (they initially used inter-uterine coils) some of the males have had the 'snip'. Their reason for this is that it reduces the level of aggression among the males to enable peaceful co-existence (for the most part). This is controversial, some (like myself) believe that if Monkey World's aim is to have the chimps live as natural a life as possible then the males should be allowed to behave as they would in the wild, with aggression (usually limited anyway) in sorting out their hierarchy. By 'snipping' some of the males, it removes that natural aspect of chimp life that the park claims to want to achieve. Another thing is that the practice of 'snipping' some and not all means the park is effectively deciding which males rule. The hormone, testosterone, contributes greatly to the ability of a male to grow strong enough to take charge, therefore obviously only the intact males will have this ability ( with the exception of the snipped Butch!) which in my opinion is an unfair disadvantage to the other males. Its become clear that the practice of 'snipping' males has less to do with preventing pregnancies and more about altering what is the natural behaviour of the chimps.
     
    Last edited: 29 Jun 2018
  16. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I think by'snipping' you are referring to actual castration, not vasectomies for which the term 'the snip' is usually reserved. I am sure the number of castrated males in their groups makes for easier management but it drastically alters their behaviour too- these are not 'real' males anymore. Its not a policy I admire either.
     
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  17. DenApe

    DenApe Active Member

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    Ah yes, I see now that the 'snip' means cutting off while the castration mentioned means 'crushing' instead of complete removal. I still think the males should have been left intact and allow the animals to sort out their hierarchy themselves.
     
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  18. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Particularly when a female now becomes the dominant animal in a group. Not natural and they tend to overlook that.
     
  19. DenApe

    DenApe Active Member

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    I believe only Sally has been an exception to this patriarchal chimp society but then again she got away with it because of her role as adoptive mother to rejected infants, but yes the fact still remains If the park's aim is to have the chimps live as they would in the wild then the male chimps should be allowed to exert their innate, natural, hormone-induced behaviours.
     
  20. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I suspect this is a case of ease of management (less friction, fighting etc) winning out over a more natural group composition.