Sexual politics in Kingo’s group.

Recently Kingo has been having sex with several of his females, but not, curiously, with Emilie. When Fini lost her baby she was having sex with Kingo within one week. It has been well over a month and since Emilie lost her baby and she still hasn’t had sex with Kingo.

Fini has been trying to have sex with Kingo. She has problems because in order to have sex with Kingo she has to be close to him, being close to him means being close to us and she’s still not too sure about us. She has only been in Kingo’s group for a year and half so she is self-habituating, but slowly. Anyway she spent some time unsucessfully soliciting sex from Kingo. He was really tired that morning so was sleeping. She started off lying down about two metres from him and slowly inched her way closer and closer to him and asking for sex but he wasn’t interested. Then later on in the day Kingo decided he did want to have sex with her and was asking for it and she decided she didn’t want to and ran away!!

Kusu and Ekendi are always fascinated when Kingo has sex. When Kingo finally did have sex with Fini, Kusu ran up to see what was happening. Fini was copulating face to face so her arms and legs were wrapped around Kingo’s back. Kusu runs up and was trying to pull her legs off Kingo’s back, then he reached right under Kingo to try and find out exactly what was happening!

Mama has been having sex with Kingo. We think that Mama may be pregnant but that doesn’t seem to be stopping her. Its all a bit speculative because female gorillas always have large stomachs due to their fermentation digestive processes. Gorillas in captivity are fed specially designed biscuits and less leaves so they often lack the large stomachs seen in their wild counterparts. So we have the dates she has previously had sex with Kingo – she could be just about to give birth or maybe only five months pregnant – the fact her stomach does look bigger than usual – and her behaviour. Normally Mama is one of the calmest females and lately she’s been not very tolerant of our presence. She can also spend four hours eating termites, which seems to us to reflect the food obsessions pregnant humans get.

Anyway the other day Mama was trying to initiate sex with Kingo and Mekome comes along. Female dominance hierarchies in Western Lowland Gorillas are subtle but they do exist. Mama is the top female but Mekome is hot on her heels, and one day, may manage to knock Mama off her perch. So Mekome very slinkily walks between Mama and Kingo waggling her behind in a most seductive way and “steals” Kingo off Mama. Later in the afternoon the couple had sex again, Mama was still close but this time didn’t ask for it and walked away when mekome and Kingo did it again.

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One Comment

  1. Tonia
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    There was an article last year that could be related to Mekome’s behaviour:

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