Thursday, May 21, 2009
Jake, the Lovable Chimp
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:
Jake in deep thought:
Jake, still thinking:
Jake in the position he often rests:
Jake: Chimp Chit Chat: