Primate traditions – foraging for shellfish

It’s a startling thought that stone age man roamed along the very stretches of coastline where our Cape Peninsula Chacma baboon forage for shellfish.  Like our ancestors, the baboons have found an important source of protein, rich in omega oils.The scenes show baboons being totally engrossed in consuming black mussels which have washed ashore still attached to kelp fronds.  They forage on the shores when it’s low tide, and especially at springtide.   It’s a favoured food for the coastal baboons.   Within range of their foraging space are public ammenities which include sites for picnics and barbecues.  Yet people are oblivious to the folly of openly laying out picnics and displaying tempting food.  Meanwhile the baboons are blamed for oppportunistic raiding and asserting dominance over humans and food tussles.   Would it be so much of an imposition if the picnic sites were banned?

4 thoughts on “Primate traditions – foraging for shellfish

  1. I love your superb photo’s and the written piece on our precious baboons, as always! Keep more coming …

    1. Hi Lynette, isn’t this aspect of their diet intriguing, all those excellent rich omega oils. And how long have the coastal troops through the generations been foraging on mussels etc? Have their brains developed in comparison to the inland troops who don’t have this resource? They appear to be much smarter!! Would love to know the results of the BRU study to understand how reliant they are on including seashore foraging. Are you aware of any publications? Btw you’re welcome to share my posts on FB. Take care , Liz.

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