Macaques are social animals particularly females as they do stay together in their natal group usually for life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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 🙂
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.
I suppose the threshold for membership is higher in Bossy’s troop…..