AKI Was Such a Vivacious Capybara アキ は、生命とエネルギーに満ちた
Aki died while I was writing this. She was a very lively, spirited and fearless Capybara. I want this to be a celebration of her life She should still be alive.
If you met Aki you would think she was the sweetest Capybara in the world.
If you were a male capybara you would be flattered by her attentiveness and interest in you. And you would enjoy being aroused by her, as she nuzzled and rubbed herself against you.
Aki Escapes from the Capybara Enclosure and Sets Off on her Great Advanture エンクロージャカピバラからの脱出。オフ偉大な冒険へ Aki Was a Very Beautiful Capybara. アキはとても美しいカピバラだった。
If you were a female capybara you might find her intimidating. You might even call her a ‘bully’’.
One time I was taking vegetables to Donguri. Aki came over and barked at Donguri as if to say “I’m Number One in the hierarchy, you aren’t even in the hierarchy, you shouldn’t be getting that food”. So I took a carrot over to Aki and rubbed her cheek. She gave me the sweetest look. I can still feel the warmth of her smile. I melted in her presence. I was so, sooo looking forward to getting to know her better on our next visit. I can’t believe I will never see her again.
She was so lively, so full of energy and life. So full of love for Yasushi, so excited by his presence. Nuzzling him, rubbing her head along his back. Rolling on her back in excitement at the prospect of being with him. Where Donguri would be quite passive in Yasushi’s presence, nuzzling him a little and then hovering beside him, waiting for him to make the next move, Aki would be much more attentive and demonstrative. I was told Donguri was Yasushi’s favourite.
I am surprised Donguri and the other capybaras ever became pregnant as Aki did her best to control access to Yasushi; often barking at, or chasing away potential rivals. 6 of the 9 most recent babies born at Nagasaki Biopark were Aki’s babies.
This is the Aki I remember: courting Yasushi, seeing off a potential rival, doing a little dance of excitement at the prospect of being with Yasushi…she follows him to the small pond (intended for poohs, but a favored romantic spot), where they roll and frolic together until he gets bored. I’m sure this is how she would like to be remembered.
From an early age Aki had realised she was powerful. She had learnt that she could have anything she wanted simply by intimidating the other capybaras. She was a big capybara, but Donguri, her gentle sister was bigger. By the age of 3 she was already number one in the Bio Park hierarchy. Her most frequent victim was her gentle sister Donguri. On several occasions I noticed Donguri change direction to avoid coming face to face with Aki. I often wonder how much of Donguri’s sweet, passive nature was formed as a response to having such an assertive sister. Donguri learnt early that she could never win, so it was pleasanter to not even try.
Aki looks so sweet in this clip from the film NHK made of our visit to see the Capybaras at the Bio Park http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSZX-7uSfvM
One of the reasons I adore Capybaras is that their behaviour and emotions are so ‘human’. When Aki was sitting looking superior, as she so often did, she looked just like a human aristocrat looking down her nose at the plebs around her.
She is usually to be seen sitting near Yasushi, keeping an eye on him, making sure the other females, especially her sister Donguri (Yasushi’s favorite) don’t get too close. Pretending to be asleep. Looking very superior, like a prim maiden aunt.
This was her favourite pose. It’s her ‘superior’ look. With her nose held high (snootily) and her ears pressed close to her head to block out the sound of those ‘loud, noisy, common visitors’. Her eyes were always almost closed as if she was looking down her nose at the world. But of course they weren’t really closed; she had to keep an eye on what the other capybaras were up to. She reminded me so much of a snooty human aristocrat. But in the nicest possible way.
Along with Kaede and Maple, Aki had days when she was determined to escape. The three of them would sit by the two gates, ensuring that no visitor could enter or leave without at least one capybara making it to freedom. The motivation seemed to be the lush green grass on the hillside round the corner from their enclosure. One day in August (the 24th, 2012) she set off on her great adventure. Having greedily and nervously had her fill of grass, Aki really did get adventurous and set off down the hill to explore the further reaches of the Bio Park. She spotted a huge pond with reeds in the middle and jumped in… (more in my next blog). As befits her place at No 1 in the hierarchy, Aki was quite fearless.
I love this video. You can see how frisky Aki gets at the prospect of mating with Yasushi. First she sees off a potential rival. Then she gleefully rubs her morillo. Then she does a frisky little dance of joy. Yasushi wanders off to the poohing pond (it doesn’t sound very romantic, but it IS water and the courting capys love to roll around in it). Aki follows him and rolls coquettishly to attract his interest.
Aki was born on 11 Nov 2005. She died on October 18th, 2012, in the evening. The official Bio Park report states: Aki (6 years old), who was born in November 2005, just had two babies on October 13th. The direct cause of death was shock caused by dehydration, however, she had been suffering from diarrhea for a year prior, and though every check and medication was tried, her condition deteriorated; it is believed that (the stress of) childbirth caused (such a loss of fluid that she died).
An autopsy by a veterinarian revealed (an?) abnormality in the appendix/cecum and that she was suffering from diarrhoea”.
Within 2 months the number 1 and 2 in the hierarchy have gone. In August The Bio Park Hierarchy was: Aki, Kobuko, Fujiko, Momiji, Kaede, Hinase. Not listed are the younger females Yasuha, Ayu and Maple (a future number one in my opinion), and of course Donguri, the largest female Capybara and the most senior by age, but too sweet and gentle to fight for a place in the hierarchy.
This photograph, taken on October 13th, the day her 2 babies were born, and just 5 days before she died, shows her looking very ill. A shadow of her former self. I wonder why her health deteriorated so much? In the western zoos I know about, the animals have a dedicated keeper who adores them and is happy to stay ‘after hours’ to observe them and intervene if they are ill. Even staying with them 24 hours a day to try to ensure their recovery.
She was so full of life, I was certain she would outlive Donguri.
I wonder how Donguri feels. Life may be better for her now.
But she was really sweet to me and I was so, so very much looking forward to seeing her again. I felt she wanted to be my friend. After all, I was Donguri’s friend, and everything Donguri had Aki wanted…and GOT. I’m crying again.
Here are some videos of Aki. Please try and watch them in 1080p, which is professional quality HD. ここでアキの一部の動画があります。1080でそれらを試して見てください。これは、プロ品質のHDです。
Wonderful Capybara Aki Kisses Yasushi ワンダフルカピバラあき。キス靖
Vivacious Aki, so full of life in August 2012, Rolling in the love pond with Yasushi whom she adored. 6 of the last 9 babies to be born at Nagasaki Biopark were her babies. Yasushi of course was the father. She wouldn’t let the other females near him!
人生のAkiいっぱい。靖池に圧延した。愛と生命の完全な。August 2012インチアキはやすしを愛していました。 9赤ちゃんが長崎ビオパークで生まれましたがあります。秋の赤ちゃん6。靖父親だった。彼女は彼の近くに別の女性とはできないだろう！
Yasushi and Donguri nuzzling and eeping loudly, until Aki butts in. The sound of them ‘singing’ is magical. 靖ドングリ歌うと鼻をすり寄せる。アキが介入するまで。
Aki and the other females kissing Yasushi and singing loudly. アキと他の女性がやすしにキスをし、大声で歌う
Yasushi comes over to sniff Aki’s nether regions as she is eating her cecotropes. She then follows him as the 2 lovers go off in the direction of the pond.
The process by which cecotropes are produced is called “hindgut fermentation”. Food passes through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, where nutrients are initially absorbed ineffectively, and then into the colon. Through reverse peristalsis, the food is forced back into the cecum where it is broken down into simple sugars (i.e. monosaccharides) by bacterial fermentation. The cecotrope then passes through the colon, the anus, and is eliminated by the animal and then reingested. The process occurs 4 to 8 hours after eating. This type of reingestion to obtain more nutrients is similar to the chewing of cud in cattle.
Aki is so sweet here as she eeps (calls plaintively) ありがとう。彼女は生命に満ちていた