Paskika Has Grown Up

December 1999

Pasika Has Grown Up!

Pasika (8-year-old female) was discovered to be missing on Tuesday, October 12th, 1999. The day before there was a interaction between Beetsme and Shinda's groups. While the encounter was by all accounts exciting, it was not described as aggressive by our trackers and scientists in the field.

Pasika was apparently seen during the interaction on Monday, but was not found in Beetsme's Group on Tuesday after the interaction. The gorilla trails leading away from the interaction site were followed on Wednesday and Thursday. Even the military was called in to help . They performed sweeps across the whole area between the interaction site and the areas the two groups had moved to. Pasika reappeared in Shinda's group on Friday morning after apparently spending the night alone some distance away. Pasika had made her first group transfer!

This is an important event in the life of a mountain gorilla. Females of Pasika's age must make the choice of whether to stay in their natal group or leave to a new group. Scientists are still not entirely sure what this decision is based upon. Factors that affect a female's decision may include a) whether the dominant silverback in the group is her father b)whether there are other suitable mates in the group c) whether there are other relatives in the group d) whether the silverback(s) can protect the infants in the group from outside infanticidal males.

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