09/08/2009

The End of Innocence

As the two young females Caruso and Sayuri reached puberty, they started competing for dominance.

Or rather, Sayuri started competing for dominance!

We had alway suspected that she had it in her to take over the position of the future dominant female of the group.

Sayuri has a very headstrong and tenacious personality most certainly resulting from her difficult start into life.

Everything that came easy to her siblings, meant a tough fight for her: being nursed by Möfzi above ground meant that she often had to fight for hours on end to get out of the burrow, while her siblings could simply walk out.

We often watched her struggling to get out of the burrow and nearly making it to the top only to roll back down after another uncoordinated motion. After some rest she would try again and fail and try again and again and again... until she was either picked up by one of the adults or actually made it outside.

The first 3-4 weeks of her life probably set the path to forming her character.

When she was about 4-5 weeks old and the pups were starting to eat solid food, she received additional treatment by the Mundenhof crew.

This became a turning point in her life, as she became more independent from her mother`s milk and could eat on her own getting stronger and better coordinated by the day.
During feeding time she was often first and last on the tray set out for the kats, eating anything she could get, growing and getting stronger.

At about 6-7 months old she had almost grown as tall as her siblings.

We watched her climbing the lookout hills, the small hill first, then the big hill.

She managed to sit up without falling over.

She learned a way to stand up in a peculiar way with her legs wide apart enabling her to make use of her little stub tail. This makes her look like a sailor on deck of a ship in a storm ;-)

Once she is determined to do something which comes to her mind, she is like a bulldozer set on track, going strong, no matter what comes in her way.

About two months ago I watched one of the males (I don`t remember correctly if it was Orlok or Flat Ears) sniffing her.

Playfights between Sayuri and Caruso often ended with Caruso trotting off, even though she could have taken advantage, as Sayuri certainly has a weaker position due to her motion-coordination problems.

Their difference in character becomes obvious though.

Caruso - even though she is in a better physical condition - is lacking the will to fight or to take over a dominant position.

She will often take solace with her brother Snoutie, who also took care of her severe bite wounds probably inflicted by Sayuri.

One of the keepers reported that Sayuri will hog the food bowl and snarl at Caruso. They have to make sure that Caruso will get enough food.

Another sad thing is that Möfzi is obviously on her last legs.
She has become very skinny and is always hungry. Christian took some pictures of her in the late afternoon light, where she looks really touched by the hand of death.

The last time I visited some days ago, she looked better, there are ups and downs, but the path is clearly set towards her end. We both suspect that she might have cancer.

She is still interested in everything going on around her, but she will not engage in any fights or competitions for food as she is lacking the strength to do so.

We will often see her sitting by herself or resting in the sun. Sometimes her children will come to groom her or sit with her, but the other members of the group are acting mostly indifferent towards her.

Last time I visited, she gave me a playfull nip into my finger, as she had already done on several occasions before. She will still sit up, but standing up will often be to difficult for her and send her tottering. Sometimes her bad leg will slip under her, but her eyes are still full of life.

This is probably her last summer, but at least she had the opportunity of successfully raising a litter once in her life.

We will miss you, Möfzi!

Brace yourself for some really shocking pictures taken on August, 01 and August, 06.

Carusos eyes had both been infected and were suppurating, Sayuri had a swelling on her lower jaw. All wounds have been treated and both kats are on antibiotics.



Sayuri with swelling on lower right jaw, pics taken by Christian on August, 01.

Caruso with both eyes infected due to bite wounds, pics taken by Christian on August, 01.


Left: Snoutie licking Caruso`s eyes
Right: Snoutie and Caruso grooming


Left: Sayuri terrorizing Caruso
Right: Sayuri watching interaction between Caruso and Snoutie


Möfzi on a bad day, pics taken by Christian on August, 01.


Sayuri with swelling on lower jaws, pics taken by Doro on August, 06.
Left: Caruso, left eye is still infected, right eye is better, pics taken by Doro on August, 06.
Right: Möfzi (top) and Sayuri (bottom) grooming. How tall Sayuri has become!


1 comment:

uk-dissertation review said...

I just really don't get why people try to dominate each other. every person in this world is unique and awesome in his or her own way we must stop this competition and try to be friendly with each other.