Dopey’s very expressive eyes

Rarely would one see a monkey baby with such expressive eyes, it’s almost like seeing a human infant in him. It fact his temper tantrum is markedly different from that of many other babies which almost always ends in just the universal open-mouth crying grimace and crawling and cowering around. He seems to use more of his eyes to show his anger, frustrations, sadness and ultimately fear. Humans are the only primates ( or indeed any animals ) to show the whites of their eyes to allow subtle emotions to be conveyed in our gaze and in Dopey I could almost see the dawning of this capability in his tantrum. Given time he and his breeds may eventually evolve just to do so, and with that the beginning of a more complex facial language. He is also one of the cleverest babies around, in a few weeks’ time there would be one episode which pits him against other babies in a crisis situation and he really shines in it. Only Knotty could match him.

There’s still crying but a lot less so than other babies. His eyes could speak !

This baby’s brain seems to be wired differently to other babies and it seems his delay in developmental milestones could also be related to this. Once his wiring was complete he has caught up with his peers in no time.

If Reddy manages to produce another baby this summer it would just be interesting to see how his sibling would compare with him. My guess is he or she will be more like an average monkey baby and Dopey is really an anomaly, truly one of a kind 🙂

The unconventional tantrum of Dopey

So what has become of the Baby-Snatcher ?

Remember the infamous Baby-Snatcher Aggy ? She’s the only female in Bossy’s troop to have been observed with “ kidnapping a baby’.

How true is this ? That the alleged victim actually survived for 2 weeks suggests to me that there’s more to it than meets the eyes. Someone must have been nursing the baby in the interim period multiple times ( my observation is that a baby would at least require 2 nursing sessions in one afternoon alone ) and that someone was none other than the biological mother herself as only a lactating female dedicated to this baby in question could sustain its life, not for a day but for nearly 2 weeks. So by all likelihood the “kidnap” did happen at least with the consent of the biological mother considering how protective rhesus macaque mothers are to their babies – even Gypsy the lowest ranking breeding female would come down to fight Cocky when the latter was lashing out at poor lil Knotty during a feeding session gone wrong. In the rhesus world hierarchy is no longer sacrosanct if it comes between a mother and her baby. Indeed we have seen how Reddy protested when the matriarch Bossy hit Dopey before. Looking back I think my footage actually caught the actions of an inept young female on two occasions trying to aunt an infant. She probably was under the influence of hormones as she had just gone into oestrus first time in her life.

It is all very interesting to see how the shrouds of mystery surrounding Aggy gradually peels away – from the alleged baby molester to one more of an overbearing young mother. The psychology involved must be fascinating to read but unfortunately we just do not know but I’m more than certain now that Aggy is never a baby-snatcher to start with. She just hadn’t learnt the etiquette to ask the permission to nurse, like Dopey’s aunt has demonstrated here.

See it done properly – but Dopey’s fussy so it didn’t help 🙂

She must have had a rather isolated upbringing with very few aunts to learn from. She did it the hard way but so far had escaped unscathed because of her inherited high rank in the troop. But she did learn with time and indeed she has never been seen since to try to forcefully aunt another baby. She is now finally getting used to be a mother herself 🙂

Youngest mother in the troop and Aggy is slowly finding her feet…

Everything should be taken with a grain of salt

Could we help Lubby & Dubby ?

Hurray ! Today’s an extra public holiday in HK – the so-called Buddha’s Birthday Holiday, arbitrarily taken on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar which happens to lie on the 3rd of May this year.

It also allows me to clear the backlog.

As per Buddha’s teaching and compassion for all living things the episodes to be aired tomorrow and the day after will be centred on helping Lubby and Dubby to reintegrate into bossy’s troop. As drifters I really feel sorry for them and for the good of Dubby he really ought to be growing up in a more socially stimulating environment along with his peers like Dopey, Knotty, Mickey etc., to learn all the basic manners and etiquettes of living in a troop.  Knowledge of such will stand him in good stead when he has to deal with others on his own living independently in the not-too-distant future 🙁 as males are ousted by about four years of age regardless !

But don’t learn it from Dopey or else you’d be worst off 🙂

There is however an amazing similarity to our own problem in dealing with immigrants – indeed the people in the top echelon of the society hardly care about them as their privileges are rarely affected, to them life is usual as are their perks – you’ll see in these upcoming episodes that alphas like Bossy, Cocky etc., don’t really give a fuss that a new face is tagging along only those who are in direct conflict of interest with the newcomers will raise their objections – in this case, the lowest ranking female Gypsy is often hostile to Lubby and would often stalk to harass her. Higher ranking ones like Reddy, Lizzy etc., may appear to be indifferent but they do seem to have their own qualms and never want to interact with her. It’s only the babies that would welcome Lubby and her only son Dubby with open arms – there’s no conflict of interest there ( well at least Dubby won’t compete with Dopey for mum’s only tit ! ) and their inquisitive and friendly nature trumps everything ! Integration it seems to be the smoothest with kids, the same also holds true for our society.

On the surface my endeavour seemed to have worked but I really don’t know how long my impact would last – one thing for sure though I can’t really do it everyday as are most governments in the same position – the public coffer has only so much and resources are limited.

Will they ever be able to overcome the last step ?

Lubby & Dubby

Macaques are social animals particularly females as they do stay together in their natal group usually for life.

The desperate housewives of Golden Hill Road

Males however are ousted once they hit puberty by the dominant male to prevent inbreeding. As bachelors they usually linger in the wild until they reach adulthood which for rhesus it’s around 8 years of age. Before they could be re-accepted into another troop or better still lead their own troop individual bachelors may team up for various reasons, not being left alone is a good enough one for at least some of them, let alone the benefits of working in two or more for survival.

Mr Buff is a very ambitious young adult looking to form his own troop ! He appears to be doing it on his own.


But it’s often better to team up like these two young bachelors do !

Stumpy was a drifter to start with – not by choice I would guess as his disability had probably made it impossible for him to follow his natal troop closely.

With a stump like this it’s obvious Stumpy can’t catch up…

Furthermore he probably hadn’t had a chance to learn all the necessary social skills as he was orphaned so early in life which meant he was likely to appear awkward and socially unacceptable to his peers.

Poor lil Stumpy had to fend for himself too early in life to learn the proper etiquettes…

Nevertheless he still managed to go from strength to strength, first with the Loser’s group and now with the Ragtag troop of which the matriarch is likely to be related to him, a distant aunt I guess.

Stumpy with his distant aunt, now the matriarch of the Ragtag troop !

The story with Lubby and Dubby seems to be a bit of a mystery to me. Checking back some old footage from the time when I was only casually following macaques it appears I had at least met Lubby twice previously in 2015 on two separate occasions with a baby girl know as Yoda then ( as she looks like one ): once with an older female in the setting of a troop, probably Bossy’s, the other time on her own. So it did seem she was at least in some sort of stable relation with a troop.

Yoda’s actually a girl, my bad 🙁

On another occasion with Yoda, now a bit older…

Fast forward to autumn 2016, Lubby’s still around but the previous baby girl’s gone, probably deceased ( It seems a lot of the babies born in 2015 had perished, I think I have an explanation for this though ). She has appeared so far to be largely solitary and she too had given birth to a new baby, Dubby probably in October the same year. She nowadays is found hiding in the undergrowth by the road or up the slope in the trees, normally at some distance away from troops that tolerate her presence, namely Ragtag and Bossy’s on the condition that she doesn’t compete for any handouts.

The two are always sidelined and Dubby doesn’t really get a chance to play except with his mum….

She is scrawny and sparse with fur and I do feel she is always struggling to keep herself and her baby nourished and warm. Worst still as Dubby was born out of the major fruiting season he’s not going to be weaned any earlier, making things more difficult for Lubby 🙁

Foraging is difficult with a baby so Dubby has gotten used to be wondering off alone when mum is out looking for food and I’m really amazed at how robust this arrangement is as sometimes Lubby could be following me for a good half a mile on her own while Dubby is left to his own devices. Without fail she would often pop up again with Dubby on my way back often at some distance away from where she had first dropped off Dubby ! It looks as though they both have access to real-time GPS data !

Son, go and play and stay safe, mum’s just popping out for a sec …

As an outsider she is really nobody even Gypsy would leash out at her at will. She will rarely fight back and would try to lay low to stay on the good side of any challengers. The only exception happens when it concerns the safety of her baby for which she’d never flinch away from her maternal instinct to protect, even against bigger adversary !

She may be nodding off but she won’t fail her responsibility to her baby !!

Dubby seems to fare better as he could really mingle with other babies. I love seeing how he could play happily with babies of his own age. The concept of hierarchy hasn’t trumped over a baby’s playful nature yet 🙂

Playing with Mickey, the baby closest in age to him. Aren’t they cute together ?

I always hope that Lubby could be reintegrated into Bossy’s troop no matter how their relation fell apart in the first place but it just doesn’t seem to work out. Lately Lubby is found hanging mostly around with the Ragtag troop – I’m not sure whether it’s the best for her and her baby, but one thing is for sure, Dubby will be missing his occasional playmates like Dopey, Knotty, Baty, etc., as he could now only play with the only infant in the Ragtag troop – the matriarch’s only son who is a good 4 months older than him.

No luck with Bossy’s troop so it seems….

I suppose the threshold for membership is higher in Bossy’s troop…..