Friday, May 15, 2009
Jerrard, One Time Alpha
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 with his sister Regina:
Jerrard eating his lunch:
Jerrard play fighting with his mom, Pandora:
Jerrard chilling with his neice, Yoshiko, aka Yoshi