Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nan

Nan

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

This is Nan, another Matriarch, and mother of big boys Shaun and Glenn. Nan was born at the Los Angeles Zoo on December 12, 1979. She was very close to her mother, Bonnie, and like her sister, was a very good mother to Shaun (once Alpha Male) and Glenn (current Alpha Male???). She was gentle and loving, but very timid and anxious, especially when there were changes. She often looks quite shy. Yet, when it comes to her sons and their positions, she is not afraid to let her mind be known ... loud and clear. Like Pandora, Nan is not afraid to get involved in the hierarchy struggle.

Lately, though, the dominance position seems to be up in the air. Is it still her son Glenn, or has Pandora's younger son Ripley finally succeeded? After Shaun and Glenn's recent injuries, including the removal of Glenn's finger, they just often don't seem to want to get hurt in the struggles anymore. So, Ripley, and his older brother Jerrard have been displaying more, but there also have been a lot more peaceful moments between these brothers and their "rivals" Glenn and Shaun.

Anyway, back to Nan. I have had a hard time gathering pictures of Nan and her sister JoAnna because the two have very dark faces. As well, Nan likes to stay in the shadows as much as possible ... probably because her dark color only adds to the heat she feels.

Nan with son Glenn:
Mother and Son

Nan with the other Matriarch, Pandora, and Pandora's son Ripley:
The Two Matriarchs and a Son

Nan observing some visitors:
Mother Nan

Nan? looking through the shadowed glass:
Nan Through the Smeared Glass

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Diverting Back to Bruno and Eloise

Bruno's Back!

Ms Eloise

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

Since I'm struggling getting a good picture of Nan, the next chimp I'll blog about, and since, Bruno and Eloise really made an impression on me yesterday, I just have to blog about them today....

As I watched the two of them at the observation window yesterday, a couple with their two beautiful Newfoundland service dogs came to watch them as well. Bruno was sitting near a family when the couple with their dogs arrived. Knowing that other animals don't always enjoy the company of dogs, the couple cautiously approached. When the man felt it was safe, he slowly approached the window with the male dog. Immediately, an intrigued Bruno moved toward the dog ... in a friendly manner ... with his hands and face against the window. The dog was a little nervous, but calmed down quickly and relaxed easily beside Bruno. Bruno sat there as if making a new friend, and pressed his lips to the window several times. Then, after some time, the owner gave the male dog to his lady partner, and brought the female dog carefully to the window. The female was a bit more nervous, and whimpered a bit. At her whimpering, Bruno gently punched (yes ... gently) the window and looked at her as if to say, "See, it's ok ... I can't hurt you." I realize the words gently and punched don't normally belong together, but it is the best way I can think to describe his sweet action. For, he was calm and seemingly loving about it. The female dog calmed down almost right away. Then, the two of them sat together for awhile.

As the shade left, and the sun beat down upon Bruno, he finally retreated back to the shade where Eloise was sitting at the other end of the exhibit. Eloise, then, rolled quickly to see the dogs at the window. (Remember, Eloise has Cerebral Palsy, Mental Disabilities, and arthritis.) But, as any female orangutan, she was much more cautious. She sat at a distance, watched, and made many noises at them. She "zerbitsed," spit, gurgled, and groaned ... but the dogs just laid there. After awhile, she came closer and did the same. She was quite funny to watch, but acting as a wild female orangutan would ... cautiously! Then, one of the dogs moved closer. She, even with her disabilities, moved quickly away, but stopped and looked back, and began the noises again. It was obvious she was curious and wanted to see what would happen, but she was still careful.

As Eloise made her statements, Bruno watched contently from the shade. Often, when Eloise or one of the other females is getting a lot of attention from someone, Bruno will come between the female and the adoring fan. Sometimes he'll put his hand on top of Eloise's head or around her as if to say, "This is my girl." Or, sometimes, he just seems to want her fans to adore his handsome self. But, since Eloise didn't seem to be soaking up the attention as usual, Bruno seemed to enjoy her entertaining gestures.

After a while, the owners and dogs left, Eloise quickly followed them around the exhibit until they were out of site. At the other side of the exhibit, Eloise built up a human fan base. She enjoyed the attention from the humans. That's when Bruno stepped in. He moved over and sat right in front of her ... between Eloise and the visitors adoring her. When their adoration directed toward him, he was happy, and moved against the netting to hear their wonderful remarks about his handsome being. Awww... Bruno.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gracie

Timid (Not really)

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

Gracie
, once called the “Wild One,” was born January 26, 1987, at Los Angeles Zoo to Pandora and Judeo. She was mother to Jean by Shaun, and is sister to Jerrard, Ripley and Regina. She was also once known as an "escape" artist because she got out of her exhibit up to 8 times according to some articles, though she never was really trying to "escape." She only really did it for a puzzle to solve and a little adventure, but always returned happily to her own territory. One of these escapades on Jan 19, 2004 caused the evacuation of 9000 visitors, it was her 5th caper since arriving at zoo. She was very precocious and always getting into mischief. One time, she even threw an exit sign at veterinary.

As she grew older, and was "put in her place" by the dominant males, Gracie became much more content to watch, and interact with her other tribe members. Now, she can usually be seen observing, grooming other members, or socializing with her mom or sister.

Though she is a very pretty chimpanzee, I only have a couple of pictures of her because she is normally amid other group members. She has short hair on her head, and beautiful brown eyes. Her sweet look tells nothing of her former mischievous days.

Gracie with Shaun:
Gracie and Shaun

Gracie with Shaun through the morning fog:
Through the Fog and the Glass

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Regina

After Lunch

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

Regina was born October 23, 1983, to Pandora at the Los Angeles Zoo. She is the oldest sister to brothers Jerrard and Ripley, and sister Gracie. Regina is mother to Yoshiko by Judeo, and to Jake by Shaun. According the zoo’s bio, she was a very young mother, and had an unstructured style of mothering, and so her offspring were very independent. Regina is bald on top, and can be quite the goof-ball.

Regina is not the brightest of the bunch, but can be very sweet. When her brothers compete with Shaun and Glenn for dominance, Regina can usually be found hiding from them on a rock ledge ... screaming as loud as she can. And, she often walks around with her top lip flipped up ... really looking goofy. Sometimes chimps do this if they are excited or stressed. She becomes both quite easily.

She seems to be quite family oriented as she spends a lot of time with her adult daughter Yoshi, her mother Pandora, and her brother Jerrard. (Ripley is usually too worried about how he can become alpha.)

Regina looking at me as if asking, "Can you get me more fruit?!"
Can You Get Me Some Fruit?!

Regina's turn for more fruit (she's in background)
Regina's Turn!

Regina likes her fruit (background with orange):
How 'Bout Me?!

Apparently, Regina likes cucumbers, too:
A Couple Handfuls

Regina plays "see"-food:
Regina Plays "'See'Food"

Regina, the goofball, walking around with her upper lip flipped up:
The Goofball

Regina on a tree branch:
It Isn't "Monkey" - Business ...

Regina with daughter Yoshi:
Regina and daughter Yoshi

Regina with brother Jerrard:
Jerrard and Regina

Regina taking a walk:
About Their Daily Business

Regina watching the crowd:
Watching the Crowd

Regina relaxing:
Relaxing

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Matriarch: Pandora

Pandora Watches

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

Pandora was born at the Los Angeles Zoo on March 5, 1967, making her the oldest chimp at the LA Zoo currently. And, her mostly bald body reveals her age, but she certainly doesn’t act elderly. She is the mother of Regina, Gracie, Jerrard, and Ripley. She is the grandmother of Regina’s children Yoshiko and Jake, and of Gracie’s daughter Jean. Her family, like her, have a tendency to bald from the forehead down. Yet, they all have beautiful features and intimidating muscle structures.

Since her oldest son's displacement from the Alpha position, and now that her youngest son wants the position, as their mother, Pandora finds herself involved in many of the male dominance spats. As in the wild, mothers are often a big part of the disputes. For, it is important that their family remain in a dominant position ... as they have choice food picks, and mating rights.

Though bald, Pandora can appear very intimidating because she has very powerful muscle structure, even at 42 years of age.

Pandora watches other chimps in her group:
Pandora

Pandora with young Zoe:
The Bald

Pandora chilling with big guy Shaun:
Sitting and Waiting

Pandora holds daughter Gracie in the shadows:
In the Shadows

Though scary looking, Pandora and son Jerrard were just playing around:
Go Ahead ... Make My Day!

Pandora at play again with a younger female:
Ape Play

Pandora - one limber old lady:
One Limber Old Lady

Pandora at rest:
Pandora Takes It Easy

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jake, the Lovable Chimp

Jake

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

Jake, the third baby chimp born at the Los Angeles Zoo in the year 1999, was born June 14, 1999 to Regina and Shaun, but was hand-raised, along with half-sister Jean and adopted Zoe, from 2 days old by keepers to keep safe from rough juvenile chimps. After 2 years the 3 chimps were introduced to the group, and after a long and careful process, became part of the group. They get along quite well within the group.

Many find it difficult not to like this guy. Not only is he "cute," he is playful and friendly, often playing at the observation window for visitors or down in the trench near the amphitheater. Being only 10 years old, he hasn't developed the "I'm the man!" attitude the other adult males have developed as dominance struggles continue. As I've stated before, these dominance struggles between chimpanzee males in a group are very normal and expected. But, Jake is still quite young and smaller than the other males. When the arguments begin between the males, he still sees them as opportunity to run around, make a lot of noise, and show off rather than political and important. If he gets hurt in the struggles, like by getting scuffs on his feet from jumping around on the trees, he still shows his "wounds" off to the visitors, and thinks they are a cool way to get attention, and show others he is "important," too.

Because Jake is not a threat to the other males' ranks, Jake still has all of his hair ... he hasn't been "plucked" by the other guys in effort to make him look less intimidating should he become piloerect. And, the other guys haven't had to put him in his place because he doesn't try to take over their position and ranking in the group. Jake, though, being so "cute," has caught the eye of all the troop's females ... even the 42 year old great-grandmother Pandora! The girls love Jake! And, recently, Jake has developed a strong interest in the females.

Of course, since Jake is the low man on the totem pole, he must secretly grab some romance time. So, lately, when the other males are elsewhere, he'll hand motion for a female to meet him somewhere. Or, a female will grab him and take him away. Not long ago, though, the other males, especially Shaun and Glenn, have caught on to this game. So, now they will keep their eyes on the girls, and also chase Jake around the habitat, keeping him far from the eyelash batting females.

Jake with a playmate since childhood:
Best Buds

Jake in deep thought:
Jake

Jake, still thinking:
I Wish I Knew What You Are Thinking...

Jake in the position he often rests:
Jake Rests

Wandering Jake:
Coming Back

Jake: Chimp Chit Chat:
Chimp Chit Chat

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ripley: The Guy that Wants to be Leader

Well?!


As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

This is Ripley, born March 23, 1996, to Pandora and Judeo. He was also a surprise birth because Pandora had a birth control implant. His siblings are Regina, Gracie, and Jerrard. When he was younger, being the youngest of his family, he was given a lot of attention, and got away with many mischievous things. His best friend for some time was Glenn … until the Alpha Male dominance struggle between he, Shaun, and Glenn began. He is missing a bit of hair on the back of his neck and has a scar above the upper lip on the right from dominance struggles.

As I've written previously, Jerrard, Ripley's big brother, was once Alpha male, but that position was taken over by the biggest guy of the tribe, Shaun. Shaun later gave the position to his little brother Glenn. But, big guy Shaun helps keep that position with his little brother by his intimidating size and standing up for his brother when he feels the need. For, it is important to keep the position in the family because he is still assured access to the females and the best food choices, etc. Of course, Jerrard and Ripley want the position in their family, which, based on size and the age of their mother, Pandora (42), is the dominant family, anyway. So, Ripley displays and challenges Glenn or Shaun quite frequently, causing some tension in the group ... just as was found in the wild troop Jane Goodall once followed. In studying the wild troop, it is obvious that the male tension and struggles for dominance are very normal and help keep the males strong and good protectors of the group.

Needless to say, instead of Ripley continuing as Glenn's best friend, he has become the thorn in Glenn's side. For a couple of years now, Ripley has tested Glenn. He is even as bold as to grab a female right in front of Glenn and Shaun ... which is quite a no-no in chimp politics. For, in chimp world, if a non-dominant male wants romance, he'd better get it secretly, away from the Alpha's eyes. Such behavior irates Glenn and Shaun, and invariable causes a spat.

I have very few pics of Ripley ... the only one with him alone is above. The others have him among some other members of his chimpanzee group.

Ripley (seated with an apple already in his mouth):
"Ooo ... Oooo ... Ooo! Pick Me, Mr. Kotter!"

Ripley in profile (seated against the wall, with Zoe in front of him, and his sister Regina behind him):
How 'Bout Me?!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jerrard, One Time Alpha

Battle Scarred

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

Jerrard was born on February 20, 1990, to Pandora and Judeo, and is brother to Ripley, Gracie, and Regina He was once Alpha Male after Judeo, but that was before big guy Shaun took over. (Shaun since gave it over to his little brother Glenn.) He is very out-going, strong, and intelligent. In 1999, Jerrard took baby Jean away from Gracie in a power-play before Jean was moved to nursery to be hand-raised by keepers, along with her half-brother Jake, and adopted resident Zoe. As in the wild, males often make big power displays to show their dominance and in challenges to other males. Sometimes, little ones are unwillingly caught up in the power struggles. Jerrard is missing quite a bit of hair, the top of his left ear, and part of a thumb from dominance fights. As I've mentioned in other blogs, this is very normal for chimps, and is a reason they should never become "pets."

Nonetheless, these animals are incredible to study. I enjoy watching the BBC Worldwide videos on YouTube on the wild chimpanzee group Jane Goodall began studying. For, the videos of these fascinating creatures help me understand the behavior of those Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains in Los Angeles Zoo. LA Zoo should be proud to see their chimps behave so normally.

Anyway, back to Jerard .... He is the big brother to Ripley, and is also sibling to sisters Gracie and Regina. Ripley is currently bigger than alpha male Glenn, and would love to have that alpha position. Since Jerrard would like to have that position back in his family, he helps his brother in their struggles for dominance. And, even though he is balding on his head and front due to his family's genetics, and he has patches of hair missing due to plucking by the dominant males, his bulky, muscular structure can still make him look very intimidating.

As intimidating as Jerrard can look, though, he is normally pretty laid back, and grooming his family members ... or other females in the group. He's a great big brother for their family.

Jerrard
Jerrard

Jerrard with his sister Regina:
Jerrard and Regina

Jerrard eating his lunch:
Between a Rock and a Hard Place ...

Jerrard play fighting with his mom, Pandora:
Go Ahead ... Make My Day!

Jerrard chilling with his neice, Yoshiko, aka Yoshi
Lean on Me

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Real Big Guy, Shaun

Sitting and Pondering

As with all my blogging, please note that what I have written below comes from my observations and public articles I've read or viewed, and not from the LA Zoo itself. My blogs are not affiliated with the Los Angeles Zoo. I am not an expert, only a quiet observer, and reader on great apes. LA Zoo is near my residence and has been a convenient and wonderful place for me to observe these wonderful creatures. I began observing them when I started walking at the LA Zoo for my health. (The zoo's beauty and life kept me motivated to keep walking.) The great apes grabbed my attention, and so I began researching outside articles and videos as I continued to observe these incredible animals. Thus, my blogs.

This is Glenn's big brother Shaun. He was once alpha male, but decided he didn't like the responsibility, and so allowed his little brother Glenn to take over. He works with his brother to keep that position in his family, though. For, Shaun is by far the largest of the 13 chimps.

As I've watched the chimps so often, it seems Shaun is also the self-imposed enforcer on who gets the girls. If one of the other males (besides Glenn) tries to attract a female, Shaun will become piloerect and make quite the display of dominance in order to stop the advances. As in the wild, the less dominant (subordinate) males have to pursue any romance in secret, if at all. But, the other males usually find a way around the dominant males' watchful eyes. Otherwise, they have to make quite the display of dominance themselves.

Shaun was born July 8, 1988, at the Los Angeles Zoo to Nan and Judeo. As I stated, he was once Alpha Male after Jerrard, but gave it over to his younger brother, Glenn. He was always a good older brother to Glenn, and they look out for one another. He fathered 3, including Jean, daughter of Gracie, and Jake, son of Regina, but they don't know it, as they were handraised in order to keep them safe from the very rumbunkscious group of juvenile males at the time of their birth in 1999. He is large, has a broad face, and looks a bit like his younger brother, Glenn, but is missing a few handfuls of hair as a result of some dominance displays by other males. He also has more gray/blond hair on his back than Glenn. He is quite the sight to look at ... and can look very intimidating to the others if he wants to do so. But, most of the time, he is laid back ... sitting back against the wall, keeping an eye and ear on things for his brother.

Shaun on high alert:
On Alert

Shaun, the handsome one:
Smile big!

Shaun, after a visit to the observation window:
Chimps Visiting Their Visitors

Shaun, quietly observing:
Observing

Shaun, with a quick pose before crossing the stream:
A Quick Pose, and Off He Goes

Shaun, and an afternoon snack:
Shaun

Shaun with Gracie:
Gracie and Shaun

Shaun with Pandora:
Sitting and Waitingl