We’ve been eagerly awaiting Sir David Attenborough’s latest series, Dynasties, since we watched the intense trailer last month.
And the first episode did not disappoint. It followed a community of chimpanzees, battling the extreme conditions in the jungles of Senegal and Guinea, West Africa, and to say it was dramatic is an understatement.
The alpha male, David, was the protagonist of the episode as the longest-reigning alpha in the group’s history. We watched in awe as he defended his leadership; we were devastated when he was left for dead after a brutal attack from two younger chimps; and we were amazed when he made a miraculous recovery, found his pack and retained his position in the group as leader.
It’s fair to say that everyone was cheering for David by the end of the episode as he went on to become a father to the cutest little chimp we’ve ever seen.
However, we’re sad to report that David was later found dead after filming.
David Attenborough recently admitted that his one rule is not to interfere when animals are dying, but many are devastated that David the chimp has passed away.
Jill Pruetz, a director of the Fongoli Savannah Chimpanzee Project, has been following and studying the group of chimps for twenty years. She confirmed the news to The Telegraph, explaining: ‘He died from wounds inflicted from what I’m sure are these young males.
‘There aren’t other animals that would have inflicted wounds like that – especially when you have multiple individuals attacking a single individual.
‘He was very aggressive that’s why he held onto his dominant status for so long.’
She continued: ‘He was pretty clever but our best interpretation of what happened is that these adult males jumped him.
‘Jumkin who was a beta male is now the alpha. There’s a huge absence. It’s like more than one chimp is gone.
‘The dynamic is really different. I imagine Jumkin will be alpha for a while. However, you can see Luther [another beta] already challenging him a bit.’
Next week, we’ll be following emperor penguins on the coast of Antarctica – and we’re hoping for a much happier ending.