Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Aged Violet is finished!

Aged Violet has been the largest research site we’ve worked on so far – and we finally finished it a few days ago! Thanks to everyone who was involved in the classification of nearly 100,000 clips and with chimp matching! 

A review blogpost of this site needs to start with its most discussed feature – the very many duiker videos. Those small to medium-sized antelope- or deer-like herbivores (small grey duikers aka Maxwell’s duikers, as well as the red ones: Brooke’s and Bay duikers) have been just everywhere. Even very patient and enthusiastic long-term volunteers spoke about that we should re-name the project to “DuikerWatch” as there were so many videos of them. Sometimes the duikers reacted to the camera and stretched their necks very long to see (but mostly sniff) what might be there. They are usually getting along very good with the monkey species and forage together on the forest floor.

Only three of many duikers we've seen at Aged Violet

Aged Violet also presented us the best footage of leopards of all sites. We were able to watch powerful big males on prowl in bright daylight – allowing us to identify them on the individual level in the leopard matching project. We’ve seen at least two leopard moms with a cub and a first for us – a leopard female with prey after a successful hunt. We will work furthermore on these videos in the leopard mini-project.

But the highlight of this site – well, of every site – have been the chimpanzees, of course. The Aged Violet chimp community is not very big, but has some members that were at the same time easily recognizable and outstanding as individuals. There is Filou – an older male with torn ears and scars on the back, who adopted and carries around a male infant we named Marlyn, and is seen often with his “kindergarten”: Marlyn; Kamala, another small juvenile that accompanies them almost permanently; and Sabirah, a young adolescent female is often around, too.
On the other hand, Jojo-Crann, an adolescent male, spends most of his time closely following his mom Makena who cares for a young infant. Makena’s slim figure, gray back and a damaged right ear made her easily recognizable to us. In addition, she does not like carrying her infant girl ventrally and swoops her on her back, when the little one managed to get on her belly in frightening situations, like when Makena crosses a small river.
Another individual to remember is smiling Lya. She is a young female with an enormous swelling that should be very attractive to the males here. Her broad face, the coloration of it and the form of the muzzle let her look like as if broadly smiling all the time.

We could observe the Aged Violet chimps in big traveling parties, skillful cracking nuts, and just relaxing and playing. We still have a number of open matching discussions at Aged Violet and did not name all the cute chimp infants, so your help is still wanted and maybe you get the chance to name a chimpanzee!

The project is, of course not finished with this site! Recently, we opened a new site in Eastern Africa – Green Snowflake – with new chimps and great footage of red colobus monkeys.  

Jump over to Chimp&See to help us classify African wildlife and try your hand at chimp matching!

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