In a troop of baboons the social order is key in achieving goals.
Last weekend I went tiger fishing at Tiger Safaris in Chirundu with my friends Proud, Day and Stillo from Bulawayo. For three consecutive days I chased shadows while my friends from the City of Kings and Queens enjoyed themselves.
Over the years I have learned the art of finding something interesting in any negative situation. Having lost the battle in the river I shifted my focus to enjoying nature. The urbanization of Chirundu has to some extent disturbed the ecosystem in the border town. Predators such as leopards have moved farther downstream thereby boosting the population of baboons and monkeys.
I took an interest in observing the fascinating behavior of a troop of baboons which was permanently patronizing the lodges (we were renting) and its environs. The troop appeared to be organized in a hierarchy which is led on patriarchal lines unlike elephants which are led along matriarchal lines.
The leader of the troop is a male baboon commonly known as “Hombiro” in Shona. Within the hierarchy are other male baboons. There are also mothers and children within the group. The entertainers are known as mangoi.
In any troop of baboons, the Hombiro is the most powerful and influential baboon. Depending on the situation at hand its leadership style can alternate from servant leadership to an autocratic leadership.
I observed that in this animal kingdom the social order is key in achieving their economic and social objectives. A small baboon can not eat a scorpion in front of a big baboon. Any young baboon which fails to observe this standing rule will be thoroughly beaten by the Hombiro or any other older baboon.
This implies that in any situation at work, a leader is supposed to instil discipline among their subordinates. In the baboon world, discipline is not a negotiable requirement so is in business.
Leaders have a responsibility of defending their followers from potentially dangerous environments. When Stillo tried to intimidate baboons, one of the amazing occurrences during last weekend’s excursion is.
The Hombiro responded by attacking Stillo viciously. Stillo only survived by back-pedalling and taking to his heels. The Hombiro was not afraid to stand its ground. Leaders must be willing to take personal risks to ensure safety or success of the followers.
In addition to inspiring and motivating followers to work hard, there are times when leaders are required to get their hands dirty by going into the thick of things to solve problems which might be affecting their subordinates/followers. At times simply issuing instructions from afar without getting in the thick of things will not achieve the desired results. At times demonstrating how things are done can serve as a form of positive behavior reinforcement rather than merely lecturing on how things are supposed to be done.
One of the key success factors of leadership is the ability to take calculated risks. Leaders play a double role of being the last or first line of defense depending on the situation at hand. When its troop was crossing a gully, I was also fascinated by the Hombiro’s behavior. It led the way and then stopped in the middle of the gully and stood there until all the members of the troops have passed. It only proceeded after noticing that all other baboons had crossed the gully. A leader who crosses the gully and proceeds while his or her followers are still on the other end of the gully is not worth his or her salt. The Hombiro was actually practising servant leadership. It has an obligation to serve the troop. It must ensure that the whole troop is moving in the same direction and above all that it is safe from other predators.
Leadership is not defined by how much or how far you are in front of your followers, but by how close your followers are to you in terms of the vision and running with it. Even though he is supposed to inspire others to perform interchangeably he or she can be at the last or first line of defense depending on the situation.
There are three species – the red-shanked, black-shanked (P.nigripes) and grey-shanked (P.cinerea) douc. The black-shanked has black legs and the grey-shanked has speckled grey legs and orange markings on the face. They are sometimes called douc langours but are more closely related to the proboscis monkey than to the langours.
Doucs are native to southeast Asia and can be found in Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam. The red-shanked douc is believed to be confined to north and central Vietnam and Laos.
The douc frequents a variety of habitats and can be found in lowland areas and mountainous terrain. It is not found much past elevations of 2,000 metres. It is seen in mid to upper canopy levels in deciduous, primary and secondary rainforests.
Doucs are long and slender. Males are slightly larger and the tail is nearly as long as the body. It measures 61 to 76 cm tall with a tail of 56 to 76 cm. Weights range from 5 to 7 kg depending on sex.
This very attractive little monkey has maroon knee-length stockings, white ‘gloves’ on the forearms, a white ruff round a golden face and black hands and feet. As if this wasn’t enough colour for it, it has soft powder blue eyelids. The tail is white. In addition, males have a white spot on both sides of the rump and red-and-white genitalia. The male has a much fluffier ruff than the female. The body is a dappled grey.
The tail is used solely for balance and is not prehensile. It moves along established pathways using all four limbs. Adult males lead the way followed by females and infants with juvenile males bringing up the rear.
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Doucs are arboreal and diurnal. They are also social creatures generally living in groups of 4 to 15 although much larger groups have been recorded. Groups consist of one or more males and double the male number of females. Males are dominant and both sexes have their own hierarchy. At some stage, both males and females will leave the family group into which they were born and will seek a new group.
It is a very agile monkey with incredible balance and an expert aerialist in the canopy, leaping 6 metres with its arms outstretched and landing on two feet. When travelling, they crash noisily through the forest, swinging through the trees and making their spectacular leaps but it can also flee soundlessly from predators or perceived threats if necessary. If startled it will bark loudly and rush around, slapping the branches with its hands and feet.
When feeding and resting it is much quieter and spends a lot of time eating or just digesting its bulky food, dozing and grooming each other.
Facial expressions are important in the communication between members of a group. A special ‘play face’ is used with the mouth open and chin thrust forward. They sometimes close their eyes and attempt to grapple with each other, even when high in the treetops. Fixed stares and low-pitched growls are used as threats and it gives a short, harsh squeal when in distress.
The diet of the douc consists of leaves high in fibre. It prefers small, tender leaves but also eats figs, buds, flowers, bamboo shoots and seeds. It consumes some 50 different species of plants and is a messy eater, often dropping much of its food to the forest floor. Unlike some monkeys, it does not have food pouches in the cheeks.
The douc has a large, multi-compartmented stomach. Bacteria in the stomachs break down the cellulose through fermentation. This gives the monkey a pot-bellied look and causes it to burp frequently. Its food supplies sufficient moisture for its needs and it almost never comes to the ground to drink. It is generous in its feeding habits and will share food and even pass pieces of vegetation to others in its group. This is unusual among Old World monkeys.
Not a lot is known about the mating habits of the douc in the wild. Pairs mate between August and December and a single offspring is born after a gestation of 165 and 190 days. Twins are very rare.
Before mating, either sex will signal their readiness by thrusting the jaw forward, raising and lowering the eyebrows and giving the head a shake. The female will lie face down on a branch and look at the male over her shoulder. The male stares back and may look away at what he considers a more suitable spot for copulation.
The young have their eyes open from birth. The body colour is lighter than the adults with short, downy grey hair and a dark stripe down the back, black face and two pale stripes below the eyes. Then the lighter colours begin to darken and the darker colours to lighten until, at 10 months, it has its adult colouring. Under captive conditions, females may look after another’s baby, even to the point of suckling it and males may also share in the care.
Females are sexually mature at 4 years of age. Males take six to twelve months longer before they are ready to mate. The life span is about 25 years.
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The main predator of the red-shanked douc is humans. Habitat destruction is also a problem and hunting is rife. The douc is hunted by local tribes for food and body parts which are used in traditional medicines. The illegal wildlife trade is very difficult to curtail and high prices are paid for the douc on the black-market.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES I) prohibits international trade in the red-shanked douc but protection laws are difficult to enforce. The species is listed as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN.
FORGET gorillas in the mist, these are the monkeys in the steam.
Japanese macaque macaque (məkäk`), name for Old World monkeys of the genus Macaca, related to mangabeys, mandrills, and baboons. All but one of the 19 species are found in Asia from Afghanistan to Japan, the Philippines, and Borneo. monkeys beat the chill in their snowy snow·y
adj. snow·i·er, snow·i·est
a. Abounding in or covered with snow: a snowy day.
b. Subject to snow: a snowy climate. home with a
dip in a hot spring.
It’s a proper steam bath pampering session too as they groom
Some 250 monkeys live in the mountains at Jigokudani Wild Monkey
Park in Yamanouchi, Nagano, central Japan. They get fed – and
there’s free hot water too.
THAT FEELS GOOD: A monkey; relaxes in the hot pool, left, while
another is groomed, above
Capuchin monkeys had their name derived from the Franciscan Capuchin whose cowl is similar to the coloration of the monkeys. They belong to the Cebinae family and Cebus genus. These monkeys are found in Central America and South America. Also known as sapajou, these species of monkeys are considered to be the most intelligent of all present species of monkeys.
The face, neck and chest of capuchins are white colored where as the rest of the body is either brown or black colored. Their body grows up to twelve to twenty two inches in height and their hairy tails are also usually the same length as the body. Their average body weight is two pounds. The males weigh more than the females. When they are held in captivity, they can live up to forty five years, but in the wild habitat they can live only for fifteen to twenty five years. They stay awake during the day and sleep at night except for the midday nap they take. During the day, they spend most of the time looking for food and at night, they sleep on the branches of the trees.
Capuchins are very social and live in a group of eight to forty males, females and their children. The area where the whole group lives together is marked with the smell of urine and intruders are not welcomed. A strong male controls the whole group and mates with the rest of the females in the group to produce offspring. Male and female capuchins smell each other to know whether the other is sexually mature or not. A female capuchin monkey has the capability of reproducing after every two years. Their pregnancy period lasts from five to six months.
The offspring clings onto the chest of the mother and when they grow big enough, they shift to their back. They expect their mothers to babysit till they are three months old. Male capuchins have no participation in the upbringing of their offspring. But if people want to keep them as pets, before keeping them as pets, they can be neutered. The whole group finds solace in grooming, which they also use as a means of expressing their feelings. They even reduce millipedes to pieces so as to rub that on their body to repel insects and mosquitoes.
Capuchins are very intelligent mammals and have been known to use various tools which assist them in their daily life. They drink the juice of palm nut fruits from the tip and then let them dry. After they dry, they will collect them and break them with the help of a big boulder collected from the rivers. They have the ability to walk on their feet with food and tools in their hands. They are also clever enough to find food on ground as well as on trees. Unlike other monkeys, they are omnivorous. Along with eating food like seed, nuts, fruits, flowers they also feed on eggs of birds, small birds, insects, spiders, reptiles, bats and even small mammals. Some of them who live near water bodies also feed on shellfishes and crabs, which they crack open with the help of stones.
They aren’t fussy about their environment; hence it is easy to maintain them as pets. People also favor to keep them as pets because they are good organ grinders and also as service animals. They are also kept as pets to help quadriplegics (people whose all four limbs are paralyzed) around the house. They are trained for this purpose by many organizations. They have capability to open bottles, microwave food and even wash the face of the patient. They are also safe around kids in the house as they are very gentle in nature. They can also be taught tricks and some have even starred in movies. Capuchins are also the most oppressed among the pet animals. They also become troublesome when they reach sexual maturity, which often confuses the owner.
Woodworking & Storage Sheds
If you’ve been thinking about getting involved with woodworking yourself by doing a bit of D.I.Y, then there are a number of key reasons why it is a great idea to get started with it.
The first of these is that you can save a lot of money compared with having to go out and hire someone privately to do the woodworking required for your home. When you think of all the different items you have in your house that have been made with woodworking it doesn’t take long to realize how much can be saved; everything from wooden cupboards to kitchen tables all the way to storage sheds and bunk beds requires woodworking and so, it goes without saying, if you can do it yourself you will save thousands of dollars that you would otherwise need to spend.
The second benefit to being able to do your own woodworking is that you can do the work at your own pace and to your own convenience. The simple fact is that a lot of general repairs around your home and furniture replacements, upgrades, etc., are best down little by little over time. However, you will only be in a position to do this if you can actually handle the bulk of the woodworking by yourself; this is because most woodworking firms won’t work on that sort of basis and will want to complete it all in one go.
The third important benefit of learning how to do woodworking is that it is really fascinating once you get into it and can allow you to get your home, and the furniture within it, looking exactly how you want it to without paying a fortune to an expensive designer. Once you get involved it can be incredibly enjoyable and satisfying to build items of furniture for your home as well as be in charge of the upkeep of everything else. There are tons of things to discover from learning how to inlay, how to use a sander properly all the way to trying out the newest gizmos and gadgets for woodworking which make it fantastic fun.
Once you become pretty good at woodworking you can let your imagination really run wild with all the different things you can create. There are so many unique and attractive styles out there that you can build for your own home from scratch that allow you to take any wooden item concept, such as even the most humble of storage sheds, and make it look brilliant.
An additional side benefit of becoming competent and proficient at woodworking is that it can be a great way to earn a little extra cash throughout the year. Woodworking skills are in demand and you may well find that other people in your neighborhood who don’t have the skills are happy to pay you a reasonable hourly rate to help them out.
When you get started with woodworking you may have a few upfront expenses for things like saws, hammers and sanders. The important thing to remember is that over the years as you do more and more work it will more than pay for itself in return!
What is Family?
Teachers, read the following information about the scientific classification of Family to your students. Then, do the included scientific classification activity with your class.
What do you think of when you hear the word “family”? Chances are that you think of your own family at home or someone else’s family. The word “family” means something different when it comes to scientific classification. Family is a group in scientific classification that comes before genus and after order. Those in the family group have enough similarities to belong in the same Family but not necessarily to the same genus or species. However, all living things that belong to the same genus and/or species do belong to the same Family.
Scientific Family Activity
Teachers read the following information to your students or write it on the board.
Humans are called Home sapiens in the scientific classification system. Homo is the genus and sapien is the species. Home sapien actually literally means “wise man” because man is theoretically the most intelligent species on Earth. Apes are not in the same genus and species as humans, but they do belong to the same family, Hominidae. Can you think of what differences there are in apes and humans that make it so that they are in different species? Can you think of similarities that these two groups share that would make them be in the same family?
Discuss the similarities and differences of the following living things. Would these living things be in the same species or just the same family?
- Chimpanzees, baboons, gorillas and orangutans
- Blue spruce and white pine
- fox, dog and wolf
Note that as you get lower in the classification system, the requirements to belong to each group are more detailed. Do you see similar systems at work around you in every day life? If not, then think of tools. A hammer is a tool, but there are several varieties of hammers. Each type of hammer is made for a particular type of job.
The bonobo is one of the two species that make up the chimpanzee genus Pan, but unlike their chimpanzee relative, the bonobo has become an endangered species over the last few decades.
The bonobo is only found in the Democratic republic of Congo, where, due to the fighting, bonobo are being hunted for food. The Bonobo is the closest living Human relative along with Chimpanzees, but the Bonobos give a more Human like look due to their posture and as well as them walking upright about 20% of the time during their ground locomotion. Bonobos also have many other behaviors and characteristics that show the similarities between us Humans, such as their sexual behavior, diet, and so on.
Furthermore, the locomotion patterns of the Bonobos mainly include quadrupedal-knuckle walking as their primary means of transportation, but they are also known for their uniqueness when it comes to also walking upright on to feet like humans. On the ground Bonobos spend about 80% of their time on all fours (quadrupedalism), but they are distinctly known for being one of the only other primates who can and do walk upright other than humans. The Bonobos will be seen grazing around on the ground while walking in the upright bipedal positioning. The only real major difference between Bonobo and Human posture while walking is that the Bonobos seem to have to bend their knees slightly to be able to remain is that positioning. The Bonobos are mainly found within Central Zaire, although more recently they can now be seen in national parks in the Congo. They reside in dry tropical lowland forests at around shrub levels, this seems to be the case seeing as they seem to remain close to their foraging areas
Bonobos seem to be more like us each time they are observed, they are capable of passing the mirror-recognition test which is basically the ability to realize that you are looking at yourself within the mirror rather than another one of your species. The bonobos also communicate through primarily vocal means, based upon the bonobos reactions they seem to have a language and it may be somewhat structured such as ours perhaps with details and certain ways of describing certain things such as names and places. The facial expressions, gestures and movements can be easily understood by humans because they show the same types of reactions as humans do for the given situations such as smiling when excited or when they are sad you can see it in their eyes.