Napoleon Bonaparte, a famous French revolution military leader once said: “Great ambition is the passion of great character”. This is true of one of the chimpanzees’ residents at Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary, home to 49 orphaned and rescued chimpanzees. One chimp Oketch, rescued from Arua in Northern Uganda and named so to mean ‘one born at time of drought’ (somewhat lucky for the plucky fellow, as his ‘keepers’ could not feed him), was brought to Ngamba Island as a plucky and naughty, one year old furry bundle on that was one of the lucky ones, requiring little rehabilitation in quarantine before coming to Ngamba on the 15th March 2002.
Oketch simply has a great character and innate social skills that helped him to quickly integrate with the group and also with his minders. He has always expressed a brave and ambitious character, not afraid to go for what he wants, despite the odds often not in his favour. Some of the older chimpanzees have taken issue with this and once nearly sent him to his maker after he wanted to assume an old position, following a long illness that separated him from the group for over half a year. Any other chimpanzee would have tried to work his way back up the hierarchy, but Oketch was having none of that. No way would he lose the headway he’d made in fact, seemed to believe that he deserved a higher ‘rank’ and felt owed.
Having learned from that event, Oketch, got back up, teaming with equally ambitious chimpanzees like Kisembo and together they have elevated themselves to positions where they have ‘stated’ their intention to challenge the top ranking males for the position of Alpha and beta. Unfortunately for him, his bad boy, rebel style, is lost on the influential adult female population, without whose support, he may not achieve his goal.
Will he turn on the charm for the females, or try to win them over by brute force? The story continues to unfold…..