Alpha male? No thanks. For the first time in 70 years, macaques on Japan’s Kyushu Island have a female pack leader. Yakei, a nine-year-old specimen, has taken control of a group of 677 monkeys living in the Takasakiyama Reserve in Oita, a rarity. The rise to power began in April, when she beat her own mother as an alpha female; she did not stop there and in late June challenged Sanchu, the 31-year-old alpha male who had been leading ‘Pack B’ for five.
The guardians, surprised, even gave her the litmus test by throwing peanuts toward the group of macaques: Sanchu backed down, the first to move to eat was Yakei, confirming her leadership. Since then, she has been seen “climbing trees and shaking them, an expression of power and a very rare behavior in females,” guide Satoshi Kimoto told the Guardian.