Yaki’s ascent to the top began in April of this year, when she beat her mother to become the colony’s dominant female at Takasakiyama Zoo in Oita. This would be the highest achievable position for almost all monkeys, but Yaki decided to use her weight of 10 kilograms to suspend the males as well.
In late June, she challenged the 31-year-old Sancho, the leader of Group B in the park, and beat him as well. Sancho was the chief of one of the park’s two macaques for five years. The park rangers in the park saw this happening and decided to do a “peanut test”, the group was offered a supply of nuts to see what would happen. Sancho left Yakei’s first choice, making his abdication a reality.
Since then, Yakei has been the man in the whole group. “She climbs trees and shakes branches, which is a clear display of strength and very rare in females,” park guide Satoshi Kimoto tells the Guardian. “She’s walking around with her tail in the air, which is also unusual.” According to Kimoto, the staff has no explanation for the behavior of the yaki.
Established in 1952, Takasayikama Park is home to about 1,500 macaques, which are divided into two groups, groups A and B. Yaki has now taken over control of group B. The monkeys live mainly on the wooded mountain in the middle of the park and sometimes go down to get food provided by the rangers. In Japan there are about 100,000 macaques.
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