Re: On predation.

Gerrit Hanenburg (
Mon, 23 Oct 1995 14:00:30 GMT (J. Moore) wrote:

>Then there was that leopard den.

The eyewitness report:

"a group of adult males was already surrounding the group of rocks in which
a mother and cub leopard was sheltering when we arrived on the scene.Most
of the chimpanzee party,females and juveniles,were well off the ground in
trees:they were screaming,showing fear-grins,and urinating.We sympathized
with their behaviour,since the intermittent roars of the adult leopard were
very loud and intimidating!The leopard was in a typical 'birth cave',a 3 m
long fissure with a narrow,triangular mouth of under a meter across,the
width of a single chimpanzee.The persistent males,which did not include the
alpha-male but several old animals,closed in on the cave mouth,displaying
loudly around and on the rocks,until the leopard roared,when they lept back
a few metres.This was repeated many times over 45 min,until finally one of
the males went right inside the narrow cave.He emerged carrying a small
cub,crying pityfully;we estimated it at 2-3 months,at which age it would
not normally emerge from a birth cave.The other males clustered
round,pummeling and pulling the cub,tossing it up in the air;one male bit
it.After a few minutes they left it and we ascertained that it was
dying.Other chimpanzees appeared fascinated with the body,and one
adolescent female in particular carried it for hours,cuddling and tickling
it in her day-bed.However,the group of males that had killed it showed no
futher interest,instead going back to the cave for a while.We believe that
they found no other cub,and they soon resumed normal ranging".

From: Byrne,R."The Thinking Ape.Evolutionary origins of intelligence."
Oxford University Press,1995.p.156-157.

Seems like the chimpanzees at Mahale are actively reducing the predator
population instead of vice versa.How human! :-)