Netflix has shared an update on what happened after Chimp Empire, which sadly includes the assumed death of two major chimpanzees.
When it comes to nature documentaries, the recently released Chimp Empire is certainly one of the most emotional series that you can watch, with both the best and worst aspects of human nature reflected in these beautiful animals.
Netflix’s hit docu-series concluded with the power dynamic in Ngogo shifting between the Westerners and Central Group, with the events shown in episode 4 wrapping up around Summer 2022.
So, what happened after Chimp Empire episode 4; who is the new Central alpha, and did any of the chimpanzees die after filming ended?
Netflix shares what happened after Chimp Empire
Chimp Empire’s scientific consultant John Mitani shared with Netflix Tudum an update regarding the Ngogo chimpanzees after Jackson sadly passed away as the alpha to the Central group in episode 4.
Mitani explains how Abrams may have been in pole position to claim the top-spot as the alpha of the Central group but since Chimp Empire episode 4, he has been challenged by another male – and it’s not Wilson.
“He’s being challenged by an older male, Carter, and currently, the situation between the two is unclear,” said the primatologist.
“Abrams is a loner, and his developing relationship with the high-ranking Wilson has not yet fully materialized. Chimpanzee social relationships change. Today’s friend can easily become tomorrow’s foe. And not all budding relationships come to fruition.”
Meanwhile, Miles has taken a backstep from leadership at Ngogo as “he no longer seems interested in playing the male chimpanzee dominance game.”
Since Chimp Empire, the Westerners have continued to strengthen their position at Ngogo. As Mitani explains, “the Central community consists of 99 individuals, while the Western group has 96 chimps.”
“The Ngogo Central community continues to face a major threat posed by chimpanzees in the west. How this conflict unfolds will be a major issue to follow during the next few years.”
Hutcherson is still leading the Western chimps, but Mitani thinks that “strong challengers have yet to emerge” as the average Alpha-span is around six years – “he might be nearing the end of his reign.”
Unfortunately, there have also been two notable deaths since the ending of Chimp Empire episode 4; Peterson from the Central group, and Richmond from the Western group. Whilst there is no visual confirmation of their passing, both chimps have disappeared from Ngogo, leading scientists to assume that they have already passed away.
“We now assume that he [Peterson] died. Chimpanzees move over large territories, and they can disappear without a trace. We can’t be everywhere all the time to track each and every individual chimpanzee, so occasionally we can only speculate about the fates of individuals who disappear.”
Similarly, Richmond has disappeared from the Western group and has not been seen in Ngogo since.
“The seeming victory that he won over his old rival Jackson was, in fact, short-lived. Like Peterson, Richmond disappeared after filming in September 2022. We do not know what happened to him. Richmond was 36 years old at the time of his disappearance and leaves five surviving offspring.”
The good news is that the rest of the chimps are healthy and happy, including Gus, who has “stepped in to take care of his juvenile brother, Denis” following the death of his mother.
“He’ll struggle during the next few years to fit in the social worlds of the older adult males. But with time, he will.”
If you want to watch some more excellent chimpanzee documentaries after Chimp Empire, check out:
- Rise of the Warrior Apes
- Project Nim
- The Secret Culture of Apes
- Lucy, the Human Chimp
- Dynasties: Chimpanzee
By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]
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