Yasushi, The Most Magnificent Capybara. We Humans Failed You. 康、最も壮大なカピバラ。私たち人間は. 人間はあなたを失敗しました。私たちはあなたを殺した。

It breaks my heart to see that honest, sweet, trusting look in your eyes, when so many people failed you. 

Yasushi looks so appealing. He wants us to be his friends but we failed him. What does that say about us as humans

Yasushi looks so appealing. He wants us to be his friends but we failed him. What does that say about us as humans

Yasushi, the most fabulous capybara in the world has just died (December 19, 2013) and I am absolutely devastated. He should never, ever have been put alone in a cage as if he was an art object and not a living creature with feelings and emotions.  It was absolutely unforgivable.

Yasushi died of depression.  Such a tragic end for such a sweet, gentle, trusting capybara.

He was the most wonderful and outstanding capybara. He always worried about the rest of the herd when they escaped from the enclosure. He would walk along the boundary fence trying to keep as close to them as possible with a very concerned look on his face, trying to give them as much support as he could.

Capybaras are intensely social animals, and Yasushi was one of the most friendly and gregarious capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park. For three years he was surrounded by adoring females who loved to be with him, to rub their heads on his face or on his back, to nuzzle  him under the chin, which he absolutely adored, to nibble him tenderly, and to make love to him. Thousands of visitors came to see him; they loved petting him, watching his amazingly long hair rise till he looked like a giant puffball. He was so responsive to their pampering, such a rewarding capybara to spend time with. I don’t understand how anyone could put Yasushi into an enclosure all alone and not realise how much he would suffer.

It breaks my heart to see that honest, sweet, trusting look in his eyes, when so many people failed him.  Doesn't he have the sweetest eyes. Kyoto zoo built a special enclosure for him, so I'm sure they had the best intentions for him. It seems hard to believe that they wouldn't have also understood his emotional needs.

It breaks my heart to see that honest, sweet, trusting look in his eyes, when so many people failed him. Doesn’t he have the sweetest eyes.
Kyoto zoo built a special enclosure for him, so I’m sure they valued him at some level, perhaps they even thought they had the best intentions for him. It seems hard to believe that they wouldn’t have also understood his emotional needs. I think perhaps there is a need for those in authority in Japan to be more receptive to new information.
This is a photo of Yasushi taken at Kyoto zoo before he died on December 19.

As I lay awake last night I found myself wondering what Yasushi thought when he found himself all alone in solitary confinement. He must have felt extreme anguish looking out at the visitors peering at him, wondering why they didn’t want to come over and pet him. “Why are the people keeping their distance, don’t they care about me any more, why don’t they want to be near me?”

Our Video: 

In Honour of Yasushi We Will Never Forget You  康の名誉中 私たちはあなたを決して忘れないだろう

昨 晩、私は動物(そして、人間のコミュニケーション)について、本を読みました。 動物のコミュニケーションについて書かれる全部の本のために、あなたは、コミュニケーションが動物と人間にとってひどく重要であると理解するでしょう。 しかし、一人で生きている動物は、通信する相手を誰も持っていません。 動物から彼の人生のそのような重要な側面を奪うことは、きっと彼らを滅ぼします。 私が理解することが完全にできないものは、一人でヤスシを構内に入れるという決定をした人々がそれが感情的に彼の上に持つ破壊的な影響をなぜ理解しなかっ たかということです。 それは残酷でした。 私は、彼らが残酷であると思わないと確信します。 人生における私の任務は、このような人々が動物の感情を理解しなければならなくて、彼らの世話において動物のたちへの愛と尊敬で行動しなければならないと いうことです。

Last night I read a book about animal (and human communication). For a whole book to be written about animal communication you will understand that communication is desperately important to both animals and humans. But an animal living all alone would have no one to communicate with. To deprive an animal of such an important facet of his life would surely destroy him. What I completely fail to understand is why the people who took the decision to put Yasushi into an enclosure all alone did not understand the devastating effect it would have on him emotionally. It was cruel. And yet I am sure they do not think they are being cruel. My mission in life is that people like this should understand animal emotions and act with love and respect towards the animals in their care.

 

これは、私が昨年ヤスシについて私のブログに書いたものです – 彼は驚くほどの派手な長い髪と穏やかな性格に育ち、寛容な個性をもっている男性として素晴らしいカピバラです。 私は、彼が新しい血によるボス・カピバラとしてとって代わられるとき、何が彼に起こるかについてわかりませんでした? 私は彼が女性のカピバラと交際することに関して少なくとも1人の女性と大きな構内(エンクロージャー)を持つことを望みました。そうすると、彼は年老いてから、幸福に老後を生き抜くことができます。
私は、長崎バイオパークと京都市動物園がこれを読んだこと(読んでくれること)を願います。

This is what I wrote in my blog about Yasushi last year:  Yasushi is a magnificent capybara to have as the breeding male, with his amazingly flamboyant long hair, and gentle, tolerant personality. I wonder what will happen to him when he is replaced as boss capybara by new blood? I hope he will have a large enclosure with at least one female for company, so that he can live out his years joyfully into old age.

I wish the Bio Park and Kyoto Zoo had read this.

Yasushi loved being nuzzled and caressed by the female capybaras. The female capybaras loved nibbling Yasushi and rubbing their heads against his nose, lips and across his back. They all wanted to mate with him, especially Aki, Donguri and Momiji. Aki was powerful and jealous and it always surprised me that any of the other capybaras ever produced babies, she guarded access to him so fiercely.

Yasushi loved being nuzzled and caressed by the female capybaras. The female capybaras loved nibbling Yasushi and rubbing their heads against his nose, lips and across his back.
They all wanted to mate with him, especially Aki, Donguri and Momiji. Aki was powerful and jealous and it always surprised me that any of the other capybaras ever produced babies, she guarded access to him so fiercely.

私は知っています。多くの日本人が理解していないそれらのこと、そしてアメリカでは少なくともある程度の数の人たちが意見を述べる用意ができています。そ して私は、それらのもの(こと)が変わる、カピバラが単独で決して収容(動物園などに)されないようにと固く決意しています。(行動していくこと)

甘やかされているヤスシ。 彼が満足することと、楽しむことに富を得て、私は彼の目がその快楽にふける輝きが好きです。 彼は、素晴らしく表情豊かな顔がありました。Yasushi being pampered. I love that sybaritic glint in his eyes as he gives himself a rich to enjoying the pampering. He had a wonderfully expressive face.

甘やかされているヤスシ。 彼が満足することと、楽しむことに富を得て、私は彼の目がその快楽にふける輝きが好きです。 彼は、素晴らしく表情豊かな顔がありました。Yasushi being pampered. I love that sybaritic glint in his eyes as he gives himself over to enjoying the pampering. He had a wonderfully expressive face.

I often daydreamed of Yasushi coming to live with us when his time as breeding male was over.   In August 2012 on our first visit to the Bio Park I  met Yasushi  and fell under his spell. When I heard Yasushi had gone to Kyoto Zoo and was living all alone I used to fantasise that I persuaded the zoo management to let me spend the day with Yasushi in his enclosure pampering him and providing him with some companionship. This would have made a much more interesting “exhibit” for the visitors as Yasushi rolled and frolicked with pleasure as I petted him. Much more entertaining than watching a sad and lonely capybara desolately picking at his food and going in and out of his small pond in a disenchanted way.

Yasushi often looked vulnerable, as if something frightening had happened to him in the past. I rarely saw him with the relaxed and happy look that most capybaras express when they are resting stop However Yasushi adored to be pampered and petted, and he was at his happiest rolling on his side, with his head thrown back, his lips slightly parted and his teeth showing in an expression of sheer bliss. His response and his ecstasy were so manifest that nothing gave me greater pleasure than to make him happy.

Yasushi often looked vulnerable, as if something frightening had happened to him in the past. I rarely saw him with the relaxed and happy expression that most capybaras have when they are resting. However Yasushi adored to be pampered and petted, and he was at his happiest rolling on his side, with his head thrown back, his lips slightly parted and his teeth showing in an expression of sheer bliss. His response and his ecstasy were so obvious that nothing gave me greater pleasure than to make him happy.

私は、日本の人々に動物には感性と感情があって、知的であると思って欲しいです。 我々とカピバラのような哺乳類には非常に類似した脳構造があります、そして、彼らは同じ神経化学物質を持っています。

Sniffing Aki's Bottom, Something He Loved to Do!

Sniffing Aki’s Bottom, and rubbing his morillo on it.  Something He Loved to Do!

.私は京都市動物園が許せません。私は1か月前に彼らにヤスシについて助言をしました。彼らは最善をつくすと言いましたが、カピバラを一頭で飼育していること自体間違いです。最近の日本は何でも資本主義でお金儲けばかり考え、大事なことを忘れています。日本という国、そしてあまりにバカな日本人が多く許せません。どんなことでも資格があればプロとみなされ、技術があっても資格がなければ仕事することが許されない社会など間違っています。そこには単なる国の金儲けが存在します。あまりにいいかげん、あまりにプロ意識のなさ、お金中心に考える人たち、すべて許せません。

My friend, Koji Anderson, contacted Kyoto Zoo and explained to them that Yasushi would need a companion otherwise he would die of loneliness. Unfortunately the zoo ignored his advice. I wish they had understood that Yasushi would become very depressed and have nothing to live for if he was kept all alone in solitary confinement, like a prisoner.

Yasushi was such a Thoughtful and Concerned Capybara. He seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, responsible for the happiness of his herd. I felt that he felt he could never really relax except when he was being pampered. He always had to be sufficiently alert in case some danger or accident befell one of the other capybaras and he would need to take charge. If any of the capybaras escaped from the enclosure he became extremely worried. An anxious look spread over his face and he would walk along the boundary fence staying as close to the escapees as possible, ready to give them his support if they became frightened. He was a true gentleman.

Yasushi was such a Thoughtful and Concerned Capybara. He seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, responsible for the happiness of his herd. I felt that he felt he could never really relax except when he was being pampered, or frolicking in the pond with the females and making love.  He always had to be sufficiently alert in case some danger or accident befell one of the other capybaras and he would need to take charge.
If any of the capybaras escaped from the enclosure he became extremely worried. An anxious look spread over his face and he would walk along the boundary fence staying as close to the escapees as possible, ready to give them his support if they became frightened.
He was a true gentleman.

He was such a special capybara, he deserved to live out his life with love and dignity.

Little baby Io nuzzling his daddy Yasushi. Yasushi always had time for Io and loved to play with his little son in the pond. He would even break away from his lovemaking, how many humans fathers would do that. Io used to nibble Yasushi's ear which Yasushi loved. He would go into paroxysms of bliss, his hair raised and sink beneath the water, looking completely out of it so much pleasure did Io's nibbling give him. Io seem to know that Yasushi loved to have his ears nibbled.

Little baby Io nuzzling his daddy Yasushi. Yasushi always had time for Io and loved to play with his little son in the pond. He would even break away from his lovemaking, how many humans fathers would do that. Io used to nibble Yasushi’s ear which Yasushi loved. He would go into paroxysms of bliss, his hair raised, and sink beneath the water, looking completely out of it so much pleasure did Io’s nibbling give him. Io seemed to know that Yasushi loved to have his ears nibbled.

I used to sing to Yasushi when I pampered and petted him. I hoped that he would remember my voice and recognise me. I hope he liked my singing!

Yasushi was always ready to share his watermelon with his little son Io.  Donguri is Io's mother. When Yasushi took his afternoon nap Io would come over and join him, often clambering over his nose and waking him up. Yasushi never protested, he was a very tolerant capybara. There seemed to be a special bond father and son, and Io often sought out Yasushi's company; he was always welcomed.

Yasushi was always ready to share his watermelon with his little son Io. Donguri is Io’s mother. When Yasushi took his afternoon nap Io would come over and join him, often clambering over his nose and waking him up. Yasushi never protested, he was a very tolerant capybara. There seemed to be a special bond between father and son, and Io often sought out Yasushi’s company; he was always welcomed.

He produced the most wonderful babies for the Biopark;  they have inherited his outstanding characteristics, and respond to being petted more than the other capybaras and have his amazingly long hair. In particular Kin, Gin, Syu and Autumn.

He was such a gentleman with such good manners sharing his watermelon in a way that Toku, the new Boss Capybara, never would.

靖は幸せです。人々は彼を甘やかす。Yasushi in heaven. He so enjoyed being pampered.

靖は幸せです。人々は彼を甘やかす。Yasushi in heaven. He so enjoyed being pampered.

Yasushi Relaxing after his Mud Bath

Yasushi Relaxing after his Mud Bath

Yasushi was always surrounded by adoring female capybaras in the pond, caressing him, nibbling him, wanting to make love to him. He must have been devastated to find himself all alone in a small enclosure in Kyoto Zoo. This video is public.

Yasushi smiling.  He so loved to be pampered and the visitors to the Bio Park so loved pampering him because he was so responsive.  康は微笑む。訪問者は、靖ペットが好きだった。彼はとても反応が良かった。これは訪問者に莫大な報酬だった。

Yasushi smiling. He so loved to be pampered and the visitors to the Bio Park so loved pampering him because he was so responsive.    I’m certain he never smiled in Kyoto Zoo. 康は微笑む。訪問者は、靖ペットが好きだった。彼はとても反応が良かった。これは訪問者に莫大な報酬だった。

Romantic Capybaras. Nagasaki Bio Park ロマンチックなカピバ     

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86MXl0-BUIM

I want people in Japan to understand that animals have feelings and emotions and are intelligent. Mammals  (capybaras are mammals, humans are also mammals) all share very similar brain structures, that means Capybara brains are similar in many ways to human brains,  and their brains have the same neurochemicals.私は、日本の人々に動物には感性と感情があって、知的であると思って欲しいです。 我々とカピバラのような哺乳類には非常に類似した脳構造があります、そして、彼らは同じ神経化学物質を持っています。

Animals should be treated with love and respect;  they are our friends not our servants.   They are not entertainment; they are not here to entertain us.  (Manifesto for International Animal Protection Group):

Animals suffer when their needs and expectations and desires are not met. All mammals (humans and animals) have the same structures in a part of the brain called the limbic system, which is primarily responsible for our emotional life and the formation of memories. Mammals also share the same neurochemicals that are important in processing emotions. Animals may well experience some things more intensely than humans.

We should treat them with respect and love. They deserve no less. No human should cause suffering to an animal in the pursuit of their own interests.

Animals are not objects. Animals are not property.   We do not own them. There has been a paradigm shift among scientists who study ethology, animal behaviour. With the aid of new technology like functional MRI, scientists have come to understand that animals have emotions and feelings and are intelligent.

We know animals suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, they suffer the same symptoms that humans do.

Animals have a point of view.

Tread lightly when stepping into their lives and their homes/habitats.

Animal manifesto: “Treat us better or leave us alone”.

Most animals have done very well without us.

すべての日本の学校の中で学習のカリキュラムに取り入れるべきであるは言っています。I think this book should be required reading on the curriculum of all schools in Japan.   http://www.amazon.co.jp/動物の命は人間より軽いのか-世界最先端の動物保護思想-マーク・ベコフ/dp/4120036537

すべての日本の学校の中で学習のカリキュラムに取り入れるべきであるは言っています。I think this book should be required reading on the curriculum of all schools in Japan.
http://www.amazon.co.jp/動物の命は人間より軽いのか-世界最先端の動物保護思想-マーク・ベコフ/dp/4120036537

This is what I wrote last year, it is never to be: Magnificent Yasushi. I hope he is voted ‘Most Popular Capybara in Japan’ one day; he so deserves it with his charismatic personality, gentle nature, exceptionally expressive face and amazingly long hair.

There must be a better future for retired Boss Capybaras than solitary confinement.

Everything about him was exceptional;  I wish he had had many more children.

The Biopark have said that Yasushi will be commemorated in the grave at the Biopark and have a memorial service (at least I think that’s what they said):   Message from Bio Park  他園での死因や飼育方針などについては当園はコメントする立場にありませんが、当園では死亡した飼育動物のために慰霊碑を建立し、定期的に慰霊祭を開催して供養を行っております。本のお薦めにつきましては、ご意見として承りました。コメントありがとうございました

I replied: “Thank you very much. Yasushi was such a magnificent capybara, I just wanted him to be honoured.  He produced such wonderful babies, Kin, Gin, Syu and Autumn – so gentle, who loved to be petted as much as Yasushi did, and they inherited his beautiful long hair. Perfect capybaras for the Bio Park.  I hope Syu will carry his genes to future generations.

Thank You Very Much Koji Anderson for the Japanese Translations

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Donguri, The Perfect Capybara. どんぐり、パーフェクトカピバラ。

Donguri with her Bedroom Eyes. Her Compelling, Come Hither Look Along with Her Sweet Gentle Nature Attracted All the Males.   色目。カピバラのオスの愛のドングリ

Donguri with her Bedroom Eyes. Her Compelling, Come Hither Look Along with Her Sweet Gentle Nature Attracts All the Males. 色目。カピバラのオスの愛のドングリ

Donguri and I struck up a friendship last year, 2012, on our first visit to the Bio Park. We visited every day for a month and she came to see me as her benefactor in the days when her younger sister Aki ruled over the herd and did her best to make Donguri’s life difficult and uncomfortable. Donguri hates to fight, she is a very wise and peaceful capybara. Despite her lack of aggression she was a natural candidate for number one position in the hierarchy at the Bio Park.   Realising that Donguri was her main rival  Aki frequently intimidated her and made her feel persecuted and uncomfortable. Donguri would just put her head down and wait patiently for Aki to go away, giving a visible sigh of relief once Aki’s threat had passed.

Since Donguri didn’t want to fight she remained outside the Bio Park hierarchy.

Donguri nuzzled by Choco. Her grandson. She absolutely adored it and held her head up expectantly for quite a while after he had walked away

Donguri being nuzzled by baby Choco. Her grandson! She absolutely adored it and held her head up expectantly for quite a while after he had walked away

At watermelon feeding time Donguri would often sit alone, away from the feeding area eating leftover vegetables. She adored sweet watermelon (rodents are addicted to sugar and sweet things) so the threat of Aki’s intimidation must have been a very powerful deterrent for her to avoid joining in the watermelon feast with the other capybaras.  One time I took her a particularly large and juicy piece of watermelon;  she looked up at me with such gratitude in her eyes.  That look of gratitude will stay with me for the rest of my life. I fed her regularly that summer, and I often wondered how she reacted when I suddenly disappeared at the end of August. I think my answer came on our return visit in August 2013.

Donguri being fed by me. She Has Such a Sweet Look On Her Face. 私はどんぐりを養う。甘い、かわいい顔.

Donguri being fed by me. She Has Such a Sweet Look On Her Face. 私はどんぐりを養う。甘い、かわいい顔.

Donguri was very cute when we arrived back in 2013. She completely ignored me and pretended she didn’t know me. Even when I fed her some bamboo she looked away as if I was a complete stranger that she had no interest in. This was my first clue that she knew exactly who I was and that she was playing games with me because I had abandoned her for so long. When other people fed her bamboo she looked at them with a very sweet, grateful twinkle in her eye. By ignoring me when I fed her bamboo she was making a point.   Capybaras are very emotional and jealous and she would certainly resent the fact that I had forsaken her for eleven months.

Then I noticed she was watching me constantly as I petted the other capybaras, which is exactly what she did last summer, making me feel quite guilty that I was being unfaithful to her (anyone who has lived with guinea pigs will know all about rodent jealousy).   So I ignored her for about an hour and then went back towards her. As I approached she looked up at me with a very warm and welcoming expression on her beautiful, loving and captivating face. As I started to pet her, her hair rose and she rolled over. This is quite unusual behaviour for Donguri because last year she did not often respond to being petted. Last summer there were only three or four occasions when Donguri went into that blissful state with her hair raised.

Donguri Being Petted by Me.  ペットどんぐり

Donguri Being Petted by Me. ペットどんぐり

On this occasion her state of bliss lasted much longer than usual, I think she was really pleased to see me again. After I finished petting her she followed us over to the seat where we always sit, and sat down beside it. I bought her a container of pellets and fed them to her one by one. She looked so happy.

“This video was made in July 2015 after Donguri and I hadn’t seen each other for 10 months. I was so pleased she recognised my voice. And I was so happy to see how her hair rose when I knelt down beside her. I am the only person who puts a cushion down to kneel on and the sound of the air being squeezed through the plastic bag reawakened her memories of our happy time together last year in 2014.

Donguri is now the Fifth Oldest capybara in Japan. She was born on September 30, 2005.  She is number one in the Bio Park hierarchy and is the great grandmother, grandmother, or mother of almost all the capybaras at the Biopark and many of the capybaras at other zoos in Japan. She is gentle and wise and avoids aggression unless absolutely necessary. Some capybaras become number one in a hierarchy because they are the most aggressive. In Donguri’s case it was because she is a natural leader, always concerned about the health and well-being of the other capybaras in her herd.

 

It is very bittersweet watching this video now as our visit to the capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park has come to an end. I am very, very sad. I always worry I won’t see Donguri ever again because of her age. She is such a very special capybara and she has taught me so much about capybaras.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA0RPQ4-WRk

 

Sweet, gentle Donguri. The more time I spend with her the more impressed I am by her. She was in a very playful mood that first day, and indeed on many subsequent days. She is easily the most playful capybara at the Bio Park, except for the babies Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni of course. I would not have expected a great grandmother and the oldest capybara by four years to be so playful.

I find it amazing just how playful capybaras can be, especially a great grandmother like Donguri. In this video Donguri swims under Momiji and throws her up out of the pond playfully. This was filmed on the first day that Momiji and the babies were allowed out of their separate enclosure, and entered the main petting enclosure, meeting humans and all the other capybaras for the first time.  I think Donguri was rejoicing in their return to the herd.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFRw2gfptpc

I came to realise she is celebrating her new found freedom and supremacy. At last she can express herself and be completely relaxed, free from the threat of Aki’s aggression. She can indulge in the little luxuries that were denied her before, like rolling in the mud when there is mud. She is so much more relaxed this year, I hadn’t realised what a burden Aki’s presence placed on Donguri’s happiness and liberty.

Donguri Enjoying Herself in the Pond.  どんぐり池を楽しんで

Donguri Enjoying Herself in the Pond. どんぐり池を楽しんで

Donguri notices everything that goes on in the petting enclosure. She takes great interest in what the capybaras are up to and also what the humans are doing. I feel sorry for her that so much of her life is controlled by humans. On one occasion when Donguri went over to visit Toku she was particularly anxious to go inside his enclosure and be with him.  Toku is the Boss Capy, the breeding male and only adult male capybara at the Bio Park; he is in a separate enclosure segregated from the main herd.  Last year, the breeding male, Yasushi, lived amongst the herd and was accessible to all the females, Aki willing, since she didn’t like to share him.

Normally Donguri is a very placid, accepting capybara. If she is confronted by a situation that is not to her liking and she will put her head down and go to sleep and try to forget about it. Whereas the other capybaras express their frustration: they gnaw at the bars of the fence, stand up on their hind legs looking over the top of the fence, walk up and down and call stridently.

This is Donguri in 2012 when Aki was in power. Her demeanour is quite different to how she is now, now that she reigns supreme. Here she is holding her head down in a submissive pose with little expression in her eyes as if she was trying not to attract Aki's attention. Aki was always picking on her and trying to intimidate her, realising that Donguri posed the biggest threat to her supremacy. This year she looks proud and confident, with her very expressive face held high, watching over the herd. It has been quite a transformation. August 2012

This is Donguri in 2012 when Aki was in power. Her demeanour is quite different to how she is now, now that she reigns supreme. Here she is holding her head down in a submissive pose with little expression in her eyes as if she was trying not to attract Aki’s attention. Aki was always picking on her and trying to intimidate her, realising that Donguri posed the biggest threat to her supremacy. This year she looks proud and confident, with her very expressive face held high, watching over the herd. It has been quite a transformation.
August 2012

On this occasion she began to bite the bars of the fence separating her from Toku. I have never, ever seen Donguri biting the bars of a fence before. When she realised the fence would not give way she turned to me and looked up at me with a pleading look in her eyes, asking for my help. She knew humans controlled the entry gate and could give her access. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t explain to her that even though I was a human I did not have the authority to open the gate for her.

This video captures this scene:   http://youtu.be/rvtJAKtnFs8

Donguri Looking so Sweet and Innocent.  甘くて無実

Donguri Looking so Sweet and Innocent. 甘くて無実

Now at last Donguri has taken her rightful position as number one in the female hierarchy at Nagasaki Bio Park. I would love to have been there to see how this came about. I’m certain she would not have resorted to the level of aggression that most capybaras would need, to assert their dominance over the other females. Perhaps like me the other capybaras responded to her magnetism and charisma and sensed her innate leadership qualities, and natural majesty.

どんぐりは私を見て. Donguri looks at me. The other capybaras are looking at Yuzu and Ninjin in their separate enclosure. Probably they have been given something to eat and the hungry capybaras in the main enclosure wonder why they are not getting something to eat as well. By the way they are sitting you would think they are expecting Yuzu or Ninjin to offer them a titbit!

どんぐりは私を見て. Donguri looks at me. The other capybaras are looking at Yuzu and Ninjin in their separate enclosure. Probably they have been given something to eat and the hungry capybaras in the main enclosure wonder why they are not getting something to eat as well.
By the way they are sitting you would think they are expecting Yuzu or Ninjin to offer them a titbit!

I am not surprised at her ascent. Although her younger sister Aki was number one until she died last year, Donguri was always the most important female capybara in the herd. She was very caring and the first to go over and give moral support to any capybara who needed it. There was always something very special about her.

Donguri has a loyal following among the regular visitors to the Bio Park. Early in the morning at weekends a procession of her followers can be seen quietly kneeling beside her ministering to her, massaging her, pampering her and even kissing her. She rolls over in delight and seems to understand that she is a very special capybara.  When I get fed up and depressed by the modern world and the way some humans behave I think of Donguri and watch one of my many videos of her going about her daily life at Nagasaki Bio Park.

Sitting Alone with a Quizzical Look on Her Face.

Sitting Alone with a Quizzical Look on Her Face.

She frequently sits slightly apart from the herd looking very noble and imposing. Sometimes she swims over to Capuchin Island, in the middle of the pond, and sits there, a powerful, engaging and charismatic capybara. She seems to know she is important and I wonder how on earth she survived all those years under Aki’s domination.

Donguri has her very own site on YouTube, where you can see videos of her.  It’s called Capybara Donguri:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpitE3oNtZ_0Ndx2luPbCKg

Donguri always gives succour and comfort to any capybara who has been put in one of the separate enclosures. This year there are four separate enclosures, although Donguri can only reach three of them. Each morning and afternoon she visits the capybaras in each of these enclosures, calling softly as she approaches and then rubbing noses with the captive capybara inside. Then she spends a little while sitting next to their enclosure, nestling up as close to them as she can, trying to make them feel part of the herd and not forgotten. Momiji especially appreciated this when she was nursing her babies and living in a separate enclosure for six weeks. There were many days when she missed the herd, and called and called for them.

Donguri Guarding Momiji's Enclosure. She visited Momiji regularly during the day. Momiji missed the herd and frequently called to them. A film crew spent several days filming the capybaras. On at least 2 occasions they went into Momiji's enclosure and frightened her. After the first intrusion Donguri tried to guard the entrance gate to prevent the film crew entering Momiji's enclosure, but she was rudely pushed away.    Translate from: Lithuanian どんぐりはもみじを訪問

Donguri Guarding Momiji’s Enclosure. She visited Momiji regularly during the day. Momiji missed the herd and frequently called to them. A film crew spent several days filming the capybaras. On at least 2 occasions they went into Momiji’s enclosure and frightened her. After the first intrusion Donguri tried to guard the entrance gate to prevent the film crew entering Momiji’s enclosure, but she was rudely pushed away />どんぐりはもみじを訪問

Sometimes Donguri would make a strange gruff call when she approached Momiji’s or Toku’s enclosure. I never heard her make this call last year, and I wonder if it reflects her new status as matriarch of the herd. I wonder if it might be a protest. “Why can’t I be with my grandchildren”, “I want to be with Toku”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPhgkFPL2mk

I may be right that Donguri is expressing a degree of anger.

One of the people on the cutting edge of today’s research into Animal Communication is Dr. Eugene S. Morton. He specializes in the natural language of mammals and birds. Dr. Morton has developed rules that make it simple to understand animals when they communicate with one another.  After spending more than 20 years studying the sounds made by different animals, Morton has found that many animals use the same types of sounds to convey the same message. For example, if an animal is angry and about to attack, the sound that it usually makes will be harsh and have a low frequency. Though they make different sounds, an unfriendly dog growls, an angry bird squawks, and an angry squirrel chatters, they use the same type of tone. If an animal makes a high-pitched whine, it is usually afraid and is being submissive. Dr. Morton has found a relationship between the tone of an animal sound and the animal’s state of mind. Listen to the conversations between people on the street and you’ll notice this same conclusion can be made for human communication.

It seems that the more humans discover about animal communication, the more we learn about our own methods of communication. Human language may seem much more sophisticated than the communication of a chimpanzee or a barn swallow. Yet, a growing number of researchers are surprised to find out just how similar it is.

When I get fed up and depressed by the modern world and the way some humans behave I think of Donguri and watch one of my many videos of her going about her daily life at Nagasaki Bio Park.

 In this video Donguri wonders why I am always filming her. このビデオでは:なぜあなたはいつも私を撮影?“:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZosnFrDpWho

Donguri and I, A Very Special Capybara. This video was filmed in August 2012 on our first visit to Nagasaki Bio Park:

As leader of the herd Donguri feels responsible for the well-being of all the herd members. She is ever watchful, casting her eye over the herd and keeping abreast of any changes or activities that are taking place in her domain.

Towards the end of our visit to Nagasaki Bio Park in 2014 a very serious fight broke out between two of the capybara pups, Aoba and Cookie. This is a video we made:

Baby Capybaras Fight to the Death Until Donguri Intervenes赤ちゃんカピバラは死に戦います。どんぐりが介在

A very serious fight breaks out between the two babies Aoba and Cookie. Aoba, although younger, is bigger than Cookie and at one point jumps on top of her and looks as if she would like to kill Cookie. Something in Cookie’s squeal alerts Donguri, the leader of the herd, who has been sleeping beside the pond. She instantly jumps up, barks and rushes over to break up the fight. You can see Donguri on the right. Maple, Cookie’s mother, also rushes over (on the left) and looks as if she might attack Aoba. Donguri noses her away and diffuses the situation. Maple, on left, Cookie’s mother, checks up on Cookie. At 17 seconds Momiji, Aoba’s mother arrives and checks up on Cookie. At 26 seconds Yasuha, Donguri’s daughter and number 2 in the hierarchy of the Bio Park herd, shakes her head in dismay at this aggressive behaviour between the youngest members of the herd. Aoba, greedy as ever, goes over to her mother Momiji to suckle! At 40 seconds Momiji checks up on little Cookie again. 38 seconds later Yasuha goes over to check on Cookie who is still in shock. You can see the bite wound just in front of Cookie’s ear. Butter, Cookie’s sister, tries to attack Aoba several times after the fight is over. (On the video I have said it was Cookie, but in fact it was Butter no doubt defending her sister Cookie and upset at the way Aoba attacked her).

After the fight Aoba goes over to Hinase’s babies. They turn away as if they were slightly embarrassed by the fight and don’t want to get involved. Meanwhile Aoba’s mother, Momiji, jumps up onto a bench and sits there aloofly as if she to wants to appear above the fray.

I love this video of Donguri playing with her little son Io in 2012. Video made by Motoko Iwate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pyGztlCmHY&feature=youtu.be

 

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