For the first time in the seventy-year history of a large zoo in the city of Oita in southwestern Japan, a female macaque has become the leader of a flock of 677 monkeys.
A nine-year-old female Yakei defeated Sanchu on her way to leadership, a 31-year-old alpha male who has been the leader of the pack for five years.
Surprised zoo employees have never seen an alpha female in his 70-year-old. To check the status of the Yakei, they conducted the so-called peanut test: they laid out the nuts and saw who would start eating them first. Sanchu refused food and gave Yakei the right to taste the nuts first, confirming her status as a leader.
Since then, Yakei began climbing trees and shaking them, which was a manifestation of strength and was rarely seen in females, guide Satoshi Kimoto said in an interview. Around April, Yakei began exhibiting behavior similar to that of males, such as walking with her tail up.
Usually female monkeys do not oppose males. I have no idea why she became # 1. The world of macaques may be changing.
Satoshi Kimoto, zoo guide
The unusualness of the events that have taken place is also confirmed by representatives of the Japan Center for the Study of Monkeys.