BABOON

Many visitors to our national parks are generally more interested in seeing the larger animals – especially lions – while others are focused on seeing as many different bird species as they can. The main attraction in the Addo Elephant National Park is naturally elephants, although one may be fortunate to spot a lion. Often dismissed by those intent on finding ‘more interesting’ animals are the smaller creatures. We have visited the park many times over decades and it is really only the last few years that baboons have become more prominent.

It is worth stopping for a moment to watch them in action. This one is picking thin twigs from a small plant and eating the leaves or seeds from it. These baboons have not (yet – hopefully never) been spoiled by visitors trying to feed them and so one can watch them going about their normal routine of finding food.

Here the baboon is reaching out for more of whatever this plant is that is proving to be worth eating. Its companions were further back from the road – if you see one baboon, there are bound to be others in the close vicinity so it is worth looking out for them.

Even whilst chewing, the baboon was on the lookout for the next tasty bite.

This part of the meal over, it was time to find something else. We left it at this point, having enjoyed observing the delicacy with which it picked out the food to eat, and the fine dexterity it employed to strip the leaves or seeds. These intelligent creatures are rewarding to watch in their natural state.

28 thoughts on “BABOON

  1. Glad this troop isn’t influenced by human handouts. From what I’ve read, many of the troops around Capetown are compromised and when conflicts arise, the baboons lose. 😦

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    • You are right about that, Eliza. This kind of behaviour tends to occur around picnic spots or camping sites – then people become annoyed when they are pestered by the baboons. The ones in Addo are out in the open and – so far – have not migrated to the area set aside for picnics. Baboons are a delight to observe when going about their normal, everyday activities.

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    • You are right. I feel this every time we come across wild animals, even whilst travelling on a main highway past some of the local game farms. Yesterday we saw wildebeest, zebra, impala, giraffe and blesbuck on our way home from Port Elizabeth. Turning a mundane trip to an uplifting one.

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  2. We were also very pleased when we saw a troop of baboons at the main camp’s waterhole when we visited in December – they’re not even listed as occurring in that area in the official park guide! They probably dispersed there from the Zuurberg – a good sign that the Park’s expansion over the years is paying ecological dividends.

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    • Dries, while I am happy to see them – and agree they probably hail from Zuurberg – it is the future reactions of humans that concerns me. Once the baboons approach the picnic site and the rest camp, there are bound to be the ‘oh cute’ brigade that spoil this special relationship by offering food or leaving their litter about.

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  3. I share your concerns for the future, and your photos of this baboon absorbed in foraging quietly and eating with such delicacy shows how baboons are so misrepresented. Why is it that people want to feed wild animals even when they know it can ultimately be fatal to the animals?

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    • If we could answer that question, the relationship between humans and what are now regarded as serious ‘baboon and monkey problems’ would move towards harmony. Of course they will always pick at ‘our’ food for they are curious; it is becoming habituated to what we eat that ends up the worse for these creatures.

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      • Too bad humans are so bad at learning from experience when it doesn’t suit them and the animals have to bear the consequences. Hopefully the Addo baboons will be spared this sorry scenario.

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      • I see – I wondered since you were really close. I used to watch all the “National Geographic” shows, plus my parents subscribed to the magazine for years. There were many photos of various monkeys … all different sizes and I remember a featured article on the Snow Monkey, a beautiful monkey that graced the cover.

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