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Contained in the advanced and intensely violent world of warring mongooses



Banded mongooses have lengthy been used as a mannequin of animal cooperation. Now, researchers in Uganda are beginning to familiarize yourself with the cruel realities of their long-running and bloody battles


30 January 2023

Banded mongooses stay in colonies of between eight and 55 people and infrequently begin wars with rivals

Anup Shah/getty photos

WHEN you first encounter a band of banded mongooses, your preliminary intuition is to suppose: “Aww! They are so adorable, so cute, so fluffy.” My first encounter with them was in Queen Elizabeth Nationwide Park in western Uganda, which is gorgeous and thick with wildlife.

I used to be underneath the knowledgeable eye of Robert Businge, one of many researchers on the Banded Mongoose Analysis Undertaking primarily based there. Businge situated the group with a radio tracker and made a particular name: pu-pu-pu-pu-pu. Out of the bushes tumbled seven bundles of chirruping, inquisitive enthusiasm. He checked they have been all current and proper, recorded some information, then advised me a horror story about beheadings.

The extra I discovered about banded mongooses, the extra I understood simply how misleading appearances will be. They’re aggressively violent animals that wage warfare on neighbouring teams, brutally murdering and maiming their rivals. They ruthlessly expel shut relations from their group and kill them in the event that they gained’t go away, commit infanticide – generally towards their very own offspring – and even have interaction in cannibalism. “Their whole society is built around warmongering,” says mission chief Michael Cant on the College of Exeter, UK.

Such brutal, organised violence is uncommon within the animal kingdom. I had come to the park to attempt to see it for myself, watching because the researchers put mongooses on a warfare footing with their enemies’ faeces and a Bluetooth speaker, and took drone footage to disclose new particulars about this grotesque behaviour. These experiments …

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