2019 babies ( Ragtag )

Dave ♂

DOB: 04 May 2019
Mother: Dana
Father: unknown

Daria survives and now Dana has another baby this time and it’s a boy – I called Dave and I think so far he has lived up to his name as one brave and healthy baby, probably a bit too spunky for his mum to handle and to make her job more demanding is that her daughter Daria seems to be away hanging around with her uncle Taggy in Bossy’s troop all the time she hardly does what most other yearling girls at her age do – that is, to help babysitting their younger baby siblings !

The first time I met Dave – he’s already a looker then !

Not as cute as Dopey he is still remarkable though !


Meet baby Dave 🙂

Regardless, Dave so far has done very well – he is one cute-looking boy with a protruding umbilicus – or more precisely a paraumbilical hernia which in humans should regress over time and I suspect the same should happen with Dave too !

My belly button sticks out a bit but it’s okay !


Doddy

DOB: 25 May 2019
Mother: Lubby
Father: unknown


Ada

DOB: 01 June 2019
Mother: Annie
Father: unknown


Delilah

DOB: 05 June, 2019
Mother: Dasha
Father: unknown


Duke

DOB: 13 June 2019
Mother: Dama
Father: unknown

2018 babies ( Annie )

Seven babies were born this year ( WTF ! ) but only six of them would be followed and probably sparingly 🙁 This is a year to remember as Stumpy has finally sired a successor – Stompy !

Daria♀

Mother: Dana
DOB: around 12/04/2018
Father: unknown
Dana’s two previous babies didn’t survive – Damien ( born  in 2016 and spotted only once ) and another unnamed baby ( born in 2017 and seen so briefly that I never even knew whether it’s a boy or girl ). The family of Dana is still a mystery to me as she seems to have less allegiance with Ragtag than even Lubby has. She seems to come and go as she wishes and just like Lubby she must have a connection with Bossy’s troop as she’s tolerated over there to forage and feed alongside them, at least most of the time.


Dana’s story unraveled…


Daria’s older siblings that didn’t survive…..


The special relationship Dana has with Grandee…

Daria’s name was suggested by one of my viewers ( Picket Fence ) as the name carries a special story about a premature baby who finally made it in the neonatal ICU and so far the charm must have worked as not only is Daria alive and kicking as we speak she has pretty much been a bundle of energy since birth and she has been so advanced in every department that she has been wearing mum out ! So finally Dana’s baby seems to be thriving 🙂


Oh and welcome Daria….


and she’s going to be a catch !

Jeff♂

Mother: Annie
DOB: around 01/06/2018
father: Batman the alpha male
Another boy for Annie ! She must be desperate for an heir ! Oh well Annie is always a good mum and takes much protection of her babies so just like her older kids in the past I don’t really get to see Jeff very much to tell his story….


My first encounter with Jeff…


Jeff still have to go through the same ordeal just like any other babies 🙂

Dobby♂

Mother: Lubby
DOB: around 14/06/2018
Father: unknown
Another disappointment for Lubby as it’s another boy again so Lubby is not going to swell the ranks and improve her standing in either Ragtag or Bossy’s troop but what a remarkable boy he is – he’s not meek like Dubby and he’s more of a fighter than Dibby is.  Lubby will certainly see a boy who will love her and come to her defence, someone who will stand by her all the time, that is until the day he has to leave the troop…..


Baby Dobby making his debut


Oh he’s a darling isn’t he ?


He surely resents troop rules…


And he fights alongside his brother…

But what he excels in Lubby’s not going to appreciate it very much when it comes to time of weaning. Dobby certainly let his feeling be known and is not going to let go of the milk bar quietly !


And he’s not going to let go of milk easily !

Stompy♂

Mother: Alma
DOB: around 15/06/2018
Father: likely to be Stumpy
Stumpy was the biggest surprise in 2018 – certainly it’s going to happen one day as I had seen him practice mating as early as early 2017 with a few older females but it was not until early June 2018 that I could tell with certainty that he was going to sire.


Stumpy grooming a heavily pregnant Alma…

And so Stumpy’s son was born and finally Stumpy has become a father. It’s a new chapter in life for him and what an accomplishment for him to begin life facing with so much hardship and got here at long last. He really earned it !


Many congratulations, Stumpy !


meet Stompy, son of Stumpy !

See the father-son resemblance !

I have yet to see Stumpy showering love to his boy like Grandee from Bossy’s troop does but I think such behaviour is learnt over the years and Stumpy will do the same when he’s older and a lot mellower. Still I had caught him defending Stompy once so there is that palpable favouritism he has for Stompy over other babies in Batman’s troop !


Stumpy coming to Stompy’s defence !

Alma is a very high-ranking female ( I think she is second in command ) so Stompy should have a easy life to start with ! Nice move Stumpy !

Dakota♀

Mother: Dama
DOB: around 15/06/2018
Father: unknown
Sister to Dak, Dakota is the first female baby born to Ragtag troop since I’ve begun to take notice of them. Dakota seems to be a very advanced girl from the get go and I don’t really know too much of her as she’s always playing in the trees with her peers !


My first proper encounter with Dakota 🙂


and she just grows so fast !

Willy♂

Mother: Wibby
DOB: around 15/06/2018
Father: unknown
Willy is an odd ball like her mum Wibby who both seem to be comfortable at home with either Bossy’s troop or with Ragtag troop, and more so than either Dana and Lubby. It seems that she must be related to some high-ranking individuals in both troops !

Indeed Wibby’s first appearance did cause some confusion as she was spotted with Bossy’s troop first and it was not until later that I realized that Willy and his mum actually belong to Ragtag troop ! Not only are they tolerated by Bossy’s troop Willy sometimes could be seen going about his own business alone in Bossy’s troop ! ( Wibby probably is socializing somewhere with her friends or relatives in Bossy’s troop though ! )


Who do they really belong to ?

I have to say the presence of Wibby and Willy has opened my eyes to the complex society in these rhesus macaques and just like us they do visit relatives and friends from time to time. How fascinating the population dynamics they have there !


Wibby is a visitor welcomed in Bossy’s troop !


Dahlia♀



Mother: TBC
DOB: between end of May and early June
Father: unknown

Dahlia is added to the list as an afterthought only since she wasn’t on my list of babies to follow to begin with but as she seems to be popping up in my videos too often enough to remain anonymous, the decision was reversed and so now we have Dahlia. Very little is known about her but she does look very similar to Dakota except the latter has a rounder and fuller face.

Dahlia with her mum in early June…..

Dahlia ( left ) and Dakota ( right ) in mid April 2019.

2017 babies ( Annie )

Four babies were born this year….

Dak♂

Mother: Dama
DOB: around 30/05/2017
Father: unknown
Dak is so named because his coat was darker than that of Al when the two were spotted on the same day. Mum Dama is a low ranking female and is always bullied by Al’s mum, Alma.


Dak’s debut – fresh from the oven !


Dak playing with Dibby….

Dak has grown to become a very healthy juvenile and his darker coat still stays with him. He however has become very vocal and would honk at any passers-by for food 🙁 Fortunately he doesn’t chase after passing vehicles for it..

Al♂

Mother: Alma
DOB: around 30/05/2017
Father: unknown
Al got his name because he’s the fairer of the two boys ( himself and Dak ) born and spotted on the same day. Alma is the second-in-command to matriarch Annie and a very feisty one too. Before Stumpy was finally accepted as a member she would bully and chase him away, considering her slim and small frame she must be one hell of a fighter !


Al’s debut – also steaming hot from the oven !


Al at a bout 8 weeks old….


Al and his peers at around 9 months old….

Al inherits his high ranking from mum and is himself a little bully too. He has also picked up that habit of honking from Dak, and excels at doing it too !


Al has picked up a very bad and potentially dangerous habit….

Jake♂

Mother: Annie
DOB: around 12/06/2017
Father: unknown
Jake is an advanced lil guy like his brother Jack and as such I don’t really get to see him that often as he’s always playing high up in the trees 🙂


Jake spotted at about 5 weeks old….


Jake does look like his older brother Jack too !

Dibby♂

Mother: Lubby
DOB: around 24/07/2017
Father: unknown
Dibby was surely the cutest babies in Annie’s troop that year. He was born with such a small face that made his eyes look disproportionally big in comparison.  He was small and clumsy at first but he soon picked up and become sure-footed in no time. He was a curious little guy and was on his way to explore the world around him when he was no longer glued to the milk bar – and that didn’t take long either !


Dibby’s debut….he’s just so tiny !


But that didn’t stop him from exploring !


and he is not timid like Dubby !

He seems to be  a little bully at times especially towards his bigger brother Dubby but then Dubby has always been a bit meek so he’s probably taking advantage of it only 🙂


But Dubby doesn’t mind a lil bully !

He is very attached to his mum so I feel sorry for him when he was left to his own devices when his brother Dobby was born. Fortunately he seems to have found a way to hang around with his mum and baby brother without getting the boot. It’s very heartwarming to see the three huddle together……


The loving mother, sons and brothers 🙂

2016 babies ( Annie )

Annie’s the matriarch of this small troop which only had less than a dozen members to start all with but in time you’ll see it grows…..
There were 2 newborns in this troop in 2016 – oh well one in reality as one of the newborn belongs to Lubby whose allegiance is questionable…..
I have to confess at that time I only knew about this troop because I was following Stumpy…


Jack♂

Mother: Annie
DOB: around 15/06/2016
Father: Batman the alpha male
There’s very little footage of Jack as my attention then was of Baty and Dopey from Bossy’s troop and I have to confess I didn’t like Annie at that time ( and I didn’t really care much for Jack either 🙁 ) as she was rather mean towards Stumpy who was trying to get accepted into her troop…


Jack wasn’t getting much of limelight in those days..

Jack between 5-6 months old…

Jack at about 2 years old….


Dubby♂

Mother: Lubby
DOB: around 30/07/2016
Father: unknown
I love Dubby.

The bond between Dubby and Lubby is one of the most beautiful out there….

I always feel sorry for him as mum Lubby couldn’t give him all the time and attention that most newborn would take for granted 🙁 Being the son of a drifter mum he was always left alone, hiding up in some treetops while waiting for mum to come back for him. Lubby had no choice then as she had to forage to make ends meet and unfortunately most food was found near the bigger troops during feeding time and she was not exactly welcome to come and pick her share. She had to wait for a chance to grab and run, risking herself in the process. I therefore totally sympathize her circumstances to leave Dubby behind as it was safer to go about without Dubby tagging along with her. I just hope he had an aunt who could babysit him while mum was away 🙁


Poor Dubby security is what matters most to a baby….


Life as drifters isn’t great….

Lubby was dithering between Annie’s troop and Bossy’s troop then and was switching her allegiance from time to time. I suppose she was partially to blame for the situation she put herself and unfortunately her kids into. I think deep down she has always preferred to be with Bossy’s troop and most of the mothers there were indifferent to her presence and had no qualms whatsoever letting Dubby to mingle and play with their babies. But it didn’t work out as Gypsy was openly hostile to her and would chase her away whenever she saw her around. In the end Lubby settled for Annie’s troop though half-heartedly only. Dubby had no choice but to go along with Lubby’s decision. He has since settled in but he always look very lonely and out of place there. Poor Dubby…..






Lubby’s various attempts to get accepted into Bossy’s troop…


Dubby playing with his peers in Bossy’s troop….


Dubby nowadays….

The different troops

The story starts with monkeys or else there won’t be a place called Monkey Hill in HK.

There are about 2,000 wild monkeys in HK of which about 1,700 call Monkey Hill their home nowadays.

There are about 30 different troops and the four most powerful of them have all vied for the control of Golden Hill ( aka Kam Sham ) Road and the three visitor car park areas over the years.

The four major players are known as Skull Head, Biggie, Thickie, Cleftie  of these I only really know Skull Head’s troop a bit better as his troop is often unavoidable on Golden Hill Road, the rest I got my information from the locals. Their abode is not fixed and they do roam in the mountains, sometimes to more remote places as well !

Where the four major troops are likely to be seen

Monkeys have been seen playing here before ! That’s a good 8 km from monkey hill !

Skull Head’s Troop

Matriarch: Sarah

Alpha male: Skull Head

This troop has undoubtedly the most well known monkey in the whole of Monkey Hill- Skull Head and his face has been featured in government brochures on Monkey Hill at least in the last two editions 🙂

Skull Head, Sarah and family….

This troop is the most powerful of all the troops there and is between 400 to 600 strong with members drawn from Mr Seven’s original troop as well as defectors from the other three main troops. Reportedly his is the largest troop ever documented in the literature. I have to admit I could count probably about a 100 of them each time I see Skull Head loitering around, the rest probably would appear from hiding in the trees I guess if someone dumps a truck load of goodies on the road.


I used to think this was Mr Seven until a local told me he hadn’t been seen for years, presumably dead. Anyway that’s what a loser looks like 🙁

This troop has at least 10 lesser alpha males who do Skull Head’s bidding. I really don’t see him fight often but he is one with such an imposing statue that all others will quietly back off when they see him.


Bossy’s troop retreating as Skull Head’s is advancing

He is about 15 years old now and has sired many offspring. The matriarch Sarah is relatively young, probably about the same age as Nora in another troop. I reckon she is about 7 to 8 years old only and has at least borne Skull Head three kids since I began to follow Bossy’s troop in the summer of 2016.


Sarah with her baby boy in 2018

Sarah is also known as the super mum as she had been seen to carry not one but 2 kids to take them safely to another feeding ground some distance away.


She’s loving and strong !

Another older female with ectrodactyly also seems to be a high ranking female there – as she has that deformity she is likely to be a defected elder from Cleftie’s troop originally.


There she is, the elder with cleft hands !

Whenever you see a member of his troop along Golden Hill Road you know it would be difficult to see any other troops as they would all go into hiding.

Biggie’s Troop

I’ve never seen this troop properly which numbers about a hundred but I’m sure I must have stumbled upon its members unknowingly. Before Skull Head’s arrival to the scene this troop boast the beefiest α male hence its name. Apparently since Skull Head’s ascension this particular troop has retreated to the woods in the nearby Jubilee Reservoir ( Shing Mun ) area.

Thickie’s Troop

It’s so named because it is headed by a rather friendly male who would let feeders pet him. Because of his mild temperament people think he’s rather thick. He apparently has lost his territory to Skull Head and has been pushed to operate mainly in Eagle’s Nest Hill area east of Golden Hill Country Park and his troop is known to wander downhill into nearby residential blocks in Tai Wai to raid for food unfortunately 🙁

His troop nowadays give his folks a bad name….


Monkeys raiding apartment blocks in Tai Wai

Cleftie’s Troop

A dominant hereditary trait runs in the matrilineal line in this troop as all succeeding matriarchs have been noticed to have cleft hands ( echodactyly ) hence my nickname for this troop. They too have been pushed out by Skull Heads’s troop but they are luckier for they still retain control of the visitor car park area by Tai Po Road and I have to say they seem to be doing rather well there.


I think these females are related to this troop:)

The beautiful blond by the bus stop also belongs to this troop and as she has normal hands she can’t be very high-ranking in the troop !


She also belongs to Cleftie’s Troop 🙂

Jubilee troop

This troop is a mega troop with over 200 members excluding babies and juveniles. There is a possibility that they could be related to Biggie’s troop. This troop comes only to Monkey Hill to stay in the winter months from their home turf in Jubilee Reservoir ( Shing Mun ) country park 3km north, as such they are not considered to belong to Monkey Hill. Their presence nevertheless could be felt as they push and reshuffle other lesser troops along Golden Hill road.


That poor old gal is from Jubilee troop too…

This is the only troop which could resist Skull Head’s troop and the two have since learnt to keep a distance from each other to avoid conflict.

The other monkeys are distributed into twenty odd smaller troops which number between a few ( yes , just a few !) to a few dozens.

Ragtag Troop

Matriarch: Annie

Alpha male: Batman

This used to be the most pathetic group which originally counted on two individuals only – an overbearing matriarch Annie and a rather lazy and beefy male known as Batman ( for his pointy high-set ears) and less than a dozen older females, most of them seemed to be rather laid back and uninterested in the leadership. They also have a few drifters who come to join them from time to time without much loyalty ( Lubby, Wibby and Dana are the ones we know of now as we’ve seen them coming to and fro between Annie’s troop and Bossy’s troop from time to time ) . Since early 2017 this troop had finally taken Stumpy into its core leadership but he’s not actually very liked by Annie for he’s probably related to her but he had proven his worth by defending the troop many times in turf wars.


Stumpy has one hand but he’s not disabled !


At long last Stumpy is seen as a worthy member and a leader too 🙂


and finally a female Alma has borne him a son 🙂

At first this troop wasn’t a threat at all to anyone and the bigger players tolerated their presence in the vicinity but in the last 2 years this troop has really grown now they are seen as competitors by the latter and are no longer welcomed anymore. However its relationship with Bossy’s troop seems to be a intriguing one – perhaps Annie is related to them ?


Do they know each other ?

I love this troop because of Stumpy and Lubby. The latter seems to have finally settled ( though half-heartedly ) in with her kids.


Lubby & Dubby back in 2016…..


But she still comes to Bossy’s troop to visit though….

The Defaced Matriarch ( Löwina ) ’s troop

Matriarch: Löwina

Alpha male: Leo

This was once a rather big troop and quite powerful too but they had been decimated by a combination of bad luck and indiscriminate human intervention.

Thinking about it I remember I used to run into them on my hiking trips there in the early days before I got interested into monkeys. Then came the animal abuse on the monkeys in 2011 when the once beautiful young strapping matriarch was attacked and became defaced in the incident. She and her troop seemed to have borne a big brunt from the abuses and has been weakened ever since. But then came the government sterilization program and they seemed to have been targeted unfairly that left most of its females sterile and the final straw came when their alpha male Leo was also nipped subsequently a year or so later. The defaced matriarch is one of the few odd females that are left fertile ( the others are Donna and Nana ) but it’s not going to reverse their fortune any more even if they are left to their own devices.

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That was Löwina back in 2011 when she bore horrific injuries from an acid attack 😡


Some humans are sick….

Nowadays Löina and her troop, about two dozen strong is so marginalized that they are chiefly found in the grounds of the pavilion near the top of the road, away from most of the feeding.


An early glimpse of them in this video…


I am glad that she has had two more daughters since…

The poor Valorie, a young female with leontiasis ossea who died in Oct 2016 was one of the very few fertile female left in this unfortunate troop.


Poor Valorie did suffer a lot….

Nora’s Troop

Matriarch: Nora

Alpha male: Bruce

This troop normally occupies the beginning of the uphill part of Golden Hill Road near the dam. It was originally named as the ” Little Prince’s troop ” as its star was the matriarch Nora’s baby son, born in May 2016 and was called jokingly as the Little Prince then ( now known as Vince ) as compared to other babies born to this troop in the same period he was obviously doted on by everyone there, including another powerful figure, the senior female Nan.


My first encounter with this troop

There are about 30 members in this lesser troop and they are very protective of their juveniles, I had great trouble to film Vince even at some respectable distance. Things however have changed in the last year or so as they have got used to my presence better. It still means a good distance but at least those females will no longer charge at me again.


Nora had Cessa in 2017 who only lived for about 2 months 🙁


and Nick in 2018…

Their turf is normally the short section of the road running between the main dam and the first pavilion. This section also sees many lone bachelors, most frequent of them is Mr Buff. He did try to get accepted into Nora’s troop but without much success. He did have a fling with Xena in Nora’s troop and that was it. Since mid 2018 he hasn’t been seen and I presumed he had lost the turf war as another lone bachelor male has taken up his position.


Mr Buff’s fling with Xena

The Little Devil’s Troop

Matriarch: Little Devil’s mum

Alpha male: not identified yet

I know even less about this troop but they do have a star as well – the rather devilish-looking baby with his fearsome matriarch mum. Their troop is usually found if at all just beyond the pavilion at the top of Golden Hill Road. Since the arrival of the mega troop from the Jubilee reservoir north of Monkey Hill they haven’t been seen since late 2017. I suppose they must have moved to avoid confrontation with Jubilee troop.


My very first encounter with Lil Devil


Another encounter in December of the same year ( 2016 )

I have yet to be certain who the α male is in this troop but their matriarchs are unmistakable as there are two and they are likely to be sisters.

See the two females in the centre ?

https://youtu.be/LCyq3cKeSdgMy
last proper sighting of this small troop 🙁

Fleur’s troop

Matriarch: Fleur

Alpha male: Not identified yet

I usually bump into Fleur’s troop very late in the afternoon if at all as their turf is in the barbecue area by Kowloon Byewash reservoir and they only wander to Golden Hill road occasionally when the road isn’t taken by other troops ( which rarely happens ! )


If they come at the wrong time they risk being attacked !

I was introduced to this troop when I first met Fleur’s newborn Petal back in the summer of 2016 and that really was the only time I have seen them hanging around for long on Golden Hill road.


My first encounter with Fleur and her daughter Petal back in 2016 summer….

Fleur had a son subsequently in 2017 and possibly another one in 2018 too but as I don’t bump into them often I don’t follow their progress anymore.


A most recent encounter with Fleur’s troop….

Bachelor troop

This troop is worth mentioning as it comprises of 2 dozens lone bachelors who by the look of them have all been recently ousted from their respective native troop. This must be a new phenomenon as it’s rare for more than a few males to hang around together, let alone forming anything resembling a troop. They maraud and terrorize other lesser troops – like Nora’s or Batman’s but they will hide from the big players.


Ladies stick together and repel the invaders !

Hybrid troop

The hybrid troop is made up of descendants from long tailed macaques released into the area back in the 1960s and their hybrid offspring with rhesus. This troop is usually found by the main bus stop where easy food is available.


There they are !


And food does come easily there !

Bossy’s Troop

By pure chance this is the troop I film most frequently as the thought of following a monkey baby stemmed from this troop when I first met baby Baty there in May 2016. Originally led by a rather young alpha male named Cocky ( who has disappeared in Aug 2018, presumed dead ) and an older female known as Bossy this troop and particularly its babies are often featured in my videos. Numbering around 40 to 50 member strong Bossy’s troop could bully other smaller troops and it would often sneak in to fill any vacant slot along Golden Hill Road when Skull Head’s troop isn’t looking.

Dopey could draw a crowd 🙂

To learn more of this troop and its babies , please follow this link 🙂