David, the alpha male
The second episode of BBC America's new series, "Dynasties," follows David, the alpha male of the Fongoli savanna group of chimpanzees. Watch "Dynasties" this Saturday, Jan. 19 on BBC America at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST.
David leads a group of about 32 chimps in the Fongoli savanna in Senegal, West Africa. Chimpanzees are endangered, but this population of Western chimpanzees was declared critically endangered in 2017, according to BBC America.
Swing from the trees
The Fongoli chimps occupy an approximately 35.5 square mile (89 square kilometers) territory. All filming for this episode was done on foot — the film crew averaged 7.5 miles (12 km) of walking per day.
Chimpanzees are clever creatures known for their use of tools. The Fongoli chimps learn at a young age how to use thin twigs and reeds to fish tasty termites out of their dirt mounds for an easy snack.
A young chimp watches its mother slurp termites off a stick she dipped into a termite dirt mound.
Chimpanzees will groom one another to form bonds and build alliances.
A loyal ally
To secure his spot as alpha, David needed at least one ally to have his back. Without an ally, it would be much easier for younger males to overthrow David and fight among themselves for the throne. Read more about what David is up against.
A steady rule, so far
When BBC filmed this episode of "Dynasties," David had already been in control for more than 3 years, which was already longer than any of his predecessors.
To make sure the other male chimps didn't forget who's in charge, David would occasionally assert his authority with powerful displays of strength and aggression.
Continuing David's dynasty
As alpha male, David earns the privilege of mating with females, thus ensuring that his bloodline continues. Only time will tell if one of David's offspring will grow up to follow in his footsteps as an impressive and determined ruler.