Ellie is Friska’s daughter and was born in 1998 at the end of the first research period at Suaq. When we returned to Suaq in 2007 and found Ellie again, she had grown into a strong-willed juvenile. She quickly became more and more independent from her mother Friska and soon started to range independently. For the first few years, Ellie often came to visit Friska and play with her younger brother Fredy for a couple of hours.
Ellie spent most of her juvenile years in the company of a group of juvenile girls. She was quite a moody teenager. Wherever she would go, Ellie was always noisily rushing through the forest breaking branches and trees. For example, when being upset on a rainy morning, she would often throw her own night nest out of the tree, or even completely destroy her nesting tree. She was also known for going to bed very late because she would continue eating her way through massive feeding trees throughout entire evenings. Not surprisingly, Ellie was a very chubby teenager, especially during the bountiful fruiting seasons.
When Ellie gave birth to her first baby Eden in 2014, we were a bit worried about how she would handle motherhood. However, from the very start, Ellie has taken care of her baby exceptionally well. The first six months after giving birth, we often saw Ellie supporting Eden with her hand as if she was not fully convinced that Eden would manage to hold onto her fur on by herself. Moving through the forest with only one arm did not seem to hinder Ellie in any way. And with her rather rushed locomotion style, giving some extra protection to her daughter was probably a good choice!
Even though she is a mom now, Ellie still has loads of energy and always moves through the forest very fast. Her high energy also allows her to quickly chase after Eden who has started to sneak off to further distances to play with the other kids. Whenever Ellie thinks Eden is too far away, she rushes after her and is able to collect her in no time. Matching Ellie’s temperament, Eden is a very fierce little girl. When Ellie and Eden disagree on where to go, neither of them seems ready to give in. For example, Eden will continue feeding in a fruit tree even though Ellie has already left. Normally, infants at this age will follow their moms before they are too far, but because Eden is just as stubborn as her mom, she often refuses. Ellie then ends up returning quickly to grab Eden. Because she is so strong, Ellie can collect Eden while seemingly flying through the canopy while changing her travel direction simultaneously. Eden has to hold on tight in order to not fall, but instead of protesting she seems to enjoy the action.
Both, Ellie and Eden love to eat and seem to prioritize snacking over all other activities day – or night: we often see them feeding in big fruit trees until after dark. The other mothers do this very rarely and only after long travel days. Ellie however, has lately returned to her old teenager habits of snacking late. We are not surprised to see that Eden happily joins her. Whereas kids of other mothers start to cry if nests are delayed until after dark, Eden eagerly eats alongside Ellie. Snacking into the evening and late bedtimes seem to have turned into a mother-daughter ritual for Ellie and Eden.
It seems like Ellie has learned from Friska all she needs to know about being a good mother. She is taking care of Eden very well and raising her to be strong and independent.