Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Healer

“I just don’t believe this!!” exclaimed Mahesh peering through his binoculars as he scanned the mountain side. “What’s the matter?” asked Jeevak as he continued working with the DNA scanner. Running routine checks for hitherto undiscovered species or mutations in plants, insects and small reptiles was part of the SOP on these government sponsored study tours to any of the Noah’s Ark locations.

Noah’s Ark was a WWF program that was established 58 years ago to save the ‘most important’ species of terrestrial life forms from extinction. After years of hard-nosed negotiations, the Noah’s Ark Treaty had been signed by 367 countries to identify 4277 locations that included islands, mountains, river valleys and swathes of plains across the world to be used as reserves to sustain these terrestrial life forms. The program had been more successful than was expected and most of the targeted species had flourished in their protected habitats.

“Look for yourself”, said Mahesh handing Jeevak his binoculars. What Jeevak saw was unprecedented. He had never seen so many chimpanzees foraging together in all the years that he had spent studying them here. This was way bigger than a super-tribe. It seemed that all the tribes in NA622 had merged to form one tribe of monstrous proportions! Going by current understanding of chimp social behaviour, this was something off the charts. Male alpha chimps ruled only for a few years before being challenged and replaced by another who was stronger and had more support within the tribe. To be able to challenge and ‘defeat’ alpha chimps from other tribes and assimilate their tribes into his own would need political capabilities much beyond what chimps normally were known to possess.

Even as Jeevak’s mind was racing in search of an explanation, he noticed a small male that was, surprisingly, being groomed by several other chimps. This had to be the alpha male! Only when he zoomed in for a closer look did he see that around the chimp’s neck was the same Aura Healing Device that he had lost in the same jungle 5 years ago.

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