Trekking through the forests of Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania, Xavier could hear the small band of chimpanzees moving ahead through the trees. 'After a couple of hours,' says Xavier, 'I walked into a glade and there they all were.' He sat down, trying not to make any movement, so the group didn't feel threatened. Though they were used to researchers following them, they were not familiar with him. But they accepted his presence, and for the rest of the day he was able to observe their interactions. 'It was fascinating,' says Xavier, 'to see so many facial expressions and gestures, and hear them 'speak'.' He was particularly drawn to a mother with a small infant and took many pictures of her, his favourite being this most tender of moments.
Nikon F90 + 400mm lens; 1/125 sec at f4; Fujichrome Provia 100.
Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania