We are glad to report that there has been some rainfall, and we hope that the worst of the drought is nearly past us.
Our field site is full of lush, green vegetation for the vervets and other animals to eat. However, the water is still only in large pools in the river most of the time. So the vervet troops must vie for access with their neighbors when the pools do not lie fully within their territory. This can lead to quite a bit of competition as the monkeys fight to keep control of their water patches from other groups.
In this photo we see Arwen, a female monkey, making an inter-troop encounter call. The monkey makes a long trilling sound, which seems to alert other vervets to come to the front. It’s a bit like a call to arms and when other individuals hear it they come running over to see which other troop is close by and if an inter-troop aggression is about to begin. Beneath her is a grooming partner, another popular activity when troops battle, this may be a way to reduce anxiety during the between-group aggression or possibly those who are groom are rewarded for their efforts in the fight.
Until next time,
Tatiana and the Verveteers
The Vervet Monkey research project is a collaboration between a number of international universities. The project has been based at Samara Private Game Reserve in the Great Karoo since 2008. The aim of the project is to investigate the adaptations of these fascinating monkeys to climatic changes.
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