First feat in the park’s 68-year history
Beating male monkeys one after another in a fight: ……
Before the LDP, a woman took the top position here, pushing the men out of the way – a woman.
At the Takasakiyama Nature Park in Oita Prefecture, where wild Japanese monkeys are fed, there are two groups: Group B (677 monkeys) and Group C (362 monkeys). In Group B, a female boss monkey was born for the first time in history this summer.
That’s Yakei (9) with dignified eyes in the photo above. How did she manage to become the “empress”? Mr. Tadatoshi Shimomura, a guide at the park, explains.
“Yakei’s mother, Bikei, was number one in the pecking order among females. Around March of this year, she defeated her mother in a fight. Normally, females don’t fight with males. They are different in size. However, Yakei defeated more and more males as well.
Originally, Yakei was the favorite of McLean, who was second in the pecking order. He also overtook McLean. And in June, she bit Nanchu (32, below), the top male. It all started when a baby monkey got into the food that Yakei was trying to eat. Nanchu got angry and tried to stop him, but he fought back and backed down. I had the impression that Nanchu had been knocked down.
That was the moment of victory. Since then, Nanchu has not regained her position as boss, and Yakei reigns at the top of the pecking order.
She had risen to the top purely on the strength of her arms, but would that position remain secure in the future? It is said that males do not often compete for the boss position because they place importance on the order in which they join the pack, but Yakei has an unexpected source of concern.
However, there is an unexpected concern for the yakei: “A yakei in heat may become intimate with a male. If the male is in a higher position than her, she will lose her rank. The pecking order of the males will not change, so Nanchu may go back to being the boss again,” says Shimomura.
The monkeys at Mt. Takasaki are in heat from November to March. Will Yakei be able to keep his position as boss or will he fall in love? This winter will be a critical time.
From “FRIDAY” October 15, 2021 issue
Photo by： Shinji Hamasaki