On May 15th 2012 three chimpanzees have been transferred to Kumamoto Sanctuary.
On May 15th 2012 three chimpanzees have been transferred from a Japanese
pharmaceutical company to Kumamoto Sanctuary, Wildlife Research Center,
Their names are: a female Candy and two males Musashi and Shoubou.
They were captured in the wild and then taken to Japan when they were only
Ever since, now for 30 years they have lived in small indoor cages,
isolated from each other until this transfer took place.
In their new home at Kumamoto Sanctuary, They can
see the blue sky,
step onto the ground and
touch, laugh and even fight with their new group mates
again three decades later.
Please join us through this report and see how they are gradually returning to be more natural, more social, like real
chimpanzees' life enriched.
The 2nd day: The three chimps were let out from their indoor holding cages into
the indoor enclosure.
Musashi, Shoubou and Candy were transferred to KS yesterday.
They were let out of their cages during the afternoon today.
Candy and Musashi searched through their rooms slowly and silently. They
checked out their "furniture" - the hanging fire hoses for climbing and they also examined the wooden bench carefully.
On the other side Shoubou could not. Maybe he was scared in the new big room. Shoubou was just watching KS staff, all standing outside at the fence while
kept panting to people. Shoubou is maybe too dependent on people and wants
to call for help.
On the first day none of them managed to climb up using the fire hose, the
hammock made from fire hose or climb onto the wooden bench.
I guess it will take many days until they learn how to use the hammock and
the bed / bench.
The 7th day: Candy stepped onto the ground.
Candy was let out of her indoor room which is made of concrete and stepped onto the ground at three p.m. in the afternoon.
Candy seemed puzzled for a while, but then she checked out her surrounding carefully and slowly, and in a few minutes she stepped out to forward near the fence.
After stepping outside, she sat on the ground for a while and then started making a nest from grass!
This behavior is uncommon among Captive chimpanzees.
Perhaps she still remembers of her early years spent in the wild when her mother made nests for the two of them at nights to sleep in.
She is now scheduled to go outside every day and learn about her naturalistic environment.
Musashi and Shoubou can look to the outside today. The windows on their indoor enclosures are now fully open.
They can enjoy the scenery - look at trees and bushes and look down to the sea.
First, however, they only looked around with their hair abristle and didn't respond much.
Musashi and Shoubou were walking around making no noise at all, indicating they have been slightly nervous.
The 15th day
Musashi and Shobou finally have met each other yesterday.
Though Shoubou was willing to come close to Musashi, Musashi stayed away and avoided Shoubou. He only acted nervous and puzzled.
Unfortunately the very sensitive Musashi and the easy going Shoubou did not match today.
During the same period of time Candy made some progress: she climbed up a bit higher using those available fire hoses and platforms but she didn't push it too far, too fast.
She prefers the cool indoors.
Her skin is still white. She has not been exposed to sun due to being kept only indoors. Gradually she will gain tan while her skin gets darker, like all other captive chimpanzees are.
The 22nd day
Musashi and Shoubou finally have met each other in the outdoor enclosure this afternoon.
We are expecting them to become familiar with each other rather fast, due to unfamiliar circumstances. Chimpanzees tend to be dependent on someone who they already know in such unfamiliar circumstances.
These two males have been acquainted with each other visually since they lived in the same room for years though in separate cages. Facing with unfamiliar circumstances in the new environment helps these two chimpanzees to establish bonding, so they can handle fear and anxiety much better together.
Taking advantage on this simple but important phenomena, unfamiliar chimpanzees can usually be introduced at once without problem, however, before they learned enough about their new environment.
This was the first time Musashi stepped outside into the outdoors.
He looked around gingerly and began wondering around silently.
Upon stepping outside Musashi looked up to the sky while his mouth left open for a long period of time. He kept staring at the sky giving the impression that he was caught by surprise.
Shoubou after some minutes of hesitation has finally also stepped outside. He was encouraged to make the big step by offering him some mandarin oranges he could not resist. After he gangled a bit he sat down and started screaming.
Here, Musashi was slowly approaching Shoubou.
Musashi then suddenly bluffed at Shoubou. He stood upright and raised his shoulders, his arms stretched wide open with his fur standing and in that bipedal position he stomped his foot to the ground, then ramped Shoubou.
(After such, called semi-agonistic action chimpanzees normally embrace and quickly inspect each other's rump, expressing that the action was just a bluff to test trust.)
Shoubou, in response also ramped Mushashi.
In this short battle Mushashi suddenly got confused and ran away from Shoubou.
Musashi seemed to be puzzled by the action he got himself into. His facial expression - one might think - reflected a puzzling question, as if Musashi asked himself "Why...? What exactly had happened here?"
Musashi and Shoubou have failed to be friendly today. Neither of them was willing to compromise and offer friendly gestures or sounds.
The positive side of this first meeting is that neither Musashi nor Shoubou acted overly aggressive. They both were cautious whilst both might have thought - " I am greater than you! "
Musashi and Shoubou ramped each other with no eye contact.
Once or twice, they displayed at the same time.
This first introduction trial has ended for today since Musashi and Shoubou did not make any further effort to get closer to one another.
They kept the distance, except at the time when KS staff opened the door and let them back into their night quarters.
Musashi gently push-passed Shoubou as he rushed through the door back into his indoor enclosure.
Ironically it was the only moment today when Musashi and Shoubou were the closest to one another with no hostility at all.
Musashi's behavior indicated he was nervous. Its not a good sign when he would be introduced to other chimpanzee individuals.
Shoubou acts like he is passive and inexperienced in interacting with other chimpanzees. Unfortunately they did not progress much today.
They might need an extra individual who is friendly enough to both and capable serving to be the mediator.
The 23rd day
Musashi and Shoubou have met each other in the outdoor enclosure again today.
Musashi was not friendly to Shoubou; he behaved and acted same as yesterday. He began chasing Shoubou at the moment they were let together.
Musashi chased Shoubou desperately. He screamed at Shoubou during his chase and he did so with drooling so he seemed more afraid than aggressive.
Musashi could not catch Shoubou; Shoubou had room to breathe.
Musashi kept taking brakes in between chases as he quickly got breathless but still did not give up going after Shoubou.
Shoubou was alert and fast enough to avoid Musashi's provocation while he must have thought - "Come on Mushashi...Give me a break!"
At some point Shoubou suddenly turned around and made a swing at Musashi. Shoubou's powerful slap finally stopped Musashi's effort. He gave up chasing Shoubou.
Shoubou made his point! Musashi's weakness - both his screaming and chasing without meaningful results abruptly ended by Shoubou that reminded Musashi of who the real Boss actually was here!
Shoubou, shortly after he managed to stop Musashi, he returned and attempted to embrace Musashi from behind - a nice initiative for reconciliation but Musashi could not accept Shoubou's peace-making effort. Musashi, being scared, avoided Shoubou and kept the distance. Musashi clearly needs more time to understand.
Shoubou then left Musashi alone giving him more time. Then they both went on their separate ways: checked out feeders and spent time resting on different sunny spots alone.
The 29th day
Last weekend Musashi behaved very inappropriately with Shoubou. He kept
provoking him, and then pushed his luck too far that had left Shoubou with
no other choice than to retaliate. Shoubou bit into Musashi's back and
Musashi lost some of his fur in the battle.
In order to repair their relationship, two future group mates, the gentle Shirou and the peaceful George were let
out into the adjacent outdoor enclosure.
We call this tactic "Operation 'enemy' of us; the enemy of my enemy is my
Suddenly facing with unfamiliar chimpanzees can prompt offering help - or
asking for help from an individual next to you and then when united (even
if they were "enemies" earlier) they were expected to support each other
against the unfamiliar Shirou and George next door.
At first Musashi and Shoubou kept distance but at the moment they have
spotted Shirou and George coming out they screamed and immediately embraced
each other. Musashi held onto Shoubou's leg and kept screaming. Next they
have inspected each other's rumps. The "operation" succeeded!
Shortly later Shoubou already offered some friendly gestures to Shirou
through the two mesh walls that separated them.
Musashi, however, distanced himself from Shirou and avoided direct
communication. It seemed that while Shoubou might quickly become a friend
of Shirou, Musashi likely not so soon.
The 30th day
The "operation" was repeated again today.
Musashi and Shoubou reacted same to each other as yesterday. We were happy to experience their reaction again.
They screamed and supported each other. Please enjoy looking at photos below.
Looks like they are getting more and more relaxed and friendly with each other now.
The 31st day
Shoubou offered some friendly gestures to Shirou through the two mesh walls that separated them yesterday.
These two might become good friends soon.
Based on their initial friendly behavior through the mesh they were let together in the outdoor enclosure.
Shirou has been very tolerant to other chimpanzees even if he did not know them before.
He played an important role in past introduction trials.
Though he is very small, he is brave enough to stand up against other, often a double of his size individuals.
At first they met each other through mesh walls.
Once they were calm they were allowed to meet each other in the outdoor enclosure.
Shoubou struck Shirou at once and they scuffled.
In the battle Shirou's ear suffered a bite and his skin got scratched.
Shoubou hit his head at the edge of an iron pipe. His head on the back became red. Fortunately it was just a mild attack and they did not use their canines during the battle.
Shoubou walked back and forth; his walk looked very awkward as if he regretted his action.
At the other side Shirou did not seem to take Shoubou's aggression seriously.
Shortly, Shirou stepped in front of Shoubou, nodded, bared his teeth and presented his erect penis while repeatedly invited Shoubou to come closer by waving his arm.
Shirou's behavior indicated as if he would say like "Come on please, I am not an enemy of you. Shall we become friends?"
Shoubou looks like scared now.
He repeatedly went back and forth and avoided Shirou.
Shirou was, however, very persistent and with his gentle approach kept trying to repair the relationship.
Shoubou finally sat down in front of Shirou and while opening his mouth widely, he kept panting to Shirou. He covered his upper canines with his upper lip - offering his friendship to start again. Shoubou now gave up fighting.
Next they have embraced each other tight. We were hoping for this moment!
They made eye contacts and have looked at each other's face closely and groomed!
They became friends.
We were hoping that Shoubou, the newcomer would groom Shirou but he did not. Shoubou, it seems, has no experience grooming another chimpanzee. He stayed calm while Shirou's grooming must felt good, probably for the first time in 30 years.
When they were relaxed, George was released to join them.
George, a peaceful individual does not cause trouble during the introduction trials.
To our surprise, he quickly became a friend and began playing with Shoubou.
Please look at the photos; George (left) and Shoubou (middle).
Shoubou was smiling.
Chimpanzees smile with their mouth open but they don't show their upper teeth.
They were playfully slapping at each other while smiling and panting.
Please take a look at their very similar facial expression - both showing a wide-open mouth.
George could become one of Shoubou's best friends who is capable of acting as a mediator during the upcoming future introduction trials.
We hope George will be protecting Shoubou when Shoubou is ready to meet several future group mates.
Shoubou was not as peaceful as we had previously anticipated.
Shirou took the mediator role and we were very pleased with that!
The 36th day
Shoubou, Shirou and George have been spending one hour together every evening since June 14th.
Shoubou is not yet willing to touch neither Shirou nor George much. He seems cautious or might not know how to play with another chimpanzee.
Shirou and George kept inviting Shoubou several times within one hour. Shoubou only responded to one grooming initiative, then kept walking and kept the distance.
It is frustrating but we hope Shoubou will be more and more friendly at his own pace.
In the meantime Shoubou and Musashi are spending time together in their indoor enclosure daily except for the one hour intro trial with Shirou and George. Although they are getting more friendly with each other, they still keep the distance with occasional friendly gestures, such as head bobbing, panting when making eye contacts in between. Sometimes they play walk behind each other with the distance getting shorter and shorter in between them - a sign of
accepting each other's presence in the same room.
Candy has been already introduced to a male named Black. A day before they met each other through a double mesh wall when Candy first panted to Black, and showed friendliness, then suddenly spat at him! She was tomboyish!
Musashi and Shoubou toned up their muscles in a month - compared to their photos taken at their arrival four weeks ago.
Candy's skin also gained some tan.
The 45th day
Musashi and George have met each other in the outdoor enclosure today.
Musashi and Shoubou were let together in their indoor enclosure once more today but they fought again.
There were several reasons. One throw a plastic container, and it hit the other accidentally, and the accident triggered the fight.
The same sequence seemed to be repeated:
Musashi screamed and chased Shoubou.
Shoubou retaliated: he turned around and bit into Musashi's back. Musashi lost.
Analizing of what happened we now thought that no other chimpanzee but the "super" peaceful George could only be friend of Musashi.
Musashi was let together with George, meeting through the double mesh walls first, and after in the same outdoor enclosure.
Not surprisingly, Musashi began chasing George at the moment they were let together. He was screaming at George during his chase.
George was surprised. He was screaming and running away.
They acted like toddlers. They made us laugh.
Musashi sat down and took some rest as he quickly got out of breath.
Musashi kept taking breaks in between chases.
He still did not give up going after George.
George remained alert and slowly gained ground.
Finally George fed up with Musashi's effort to catch him. He had no other option than to retaliate. George quickly wrestled and pinned Musashi to the ground and gnawed hard into his back.
George made his point acting confident - as if he would say "I had it...I will not put up with this any more!"
Later, whenever George approached Musashi, Musashi avoided George and often ran away.
Musashi suffered several similar punishments from George before he finally admitted his defeat and started panting to George.
George only warned Musashi by overpowering him - he actually wanted to play with Musashi. So George then initiated some play and began tickling Musashi. Musashi was also relieved and we could hear the sound of their laughs during play-wrestling.
We could finally see Musashi's smiling face!
He might be still somewhat fearful; he is often gaping with his mouth wide open during close interactions with George.
Musashi seemed to be very exhausted today.
Finally Musashi played with another chimpanzee.
Musashi is planned to be with George, same as today, on several occasions for a while.
We hope Musashi will become George's friend soon.
English text: Michael Seres, based on original Japanese by Toshifumi Udono and Migaku Teramoto.