Primate behaviour: dominance

Primates have a natural curiosity….

I captured this poignant scene at Buffels Bay, Cape Point Nature Reserve.  Young primates completely at ease in an overlap of shared space; or from the baboons point of view –  a tolerance of intrusion.  Sadly, this common experience could spell doom for the baboons.   The more they become habituated to humans, the more confident they are in seeking food opportunities.  It leads to bag snatching, raiding picnic spaces, cars and in some cases aggressive behaviour causing bodily harm.  The conservation authorities act by euthanising  the “offending” animals.  One of the anomalies in the ‘protection of species’ act, is to allow for a slackness of conservation principle, which leads to the negative impact on the very animals that are supposedly protected.

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4 thoughts on “Primate behaviour: dominance

  1. As a parent, I’d love for my animal-loving daughter to be able to interact with a baboon (or other creature); as an animal-loving adult, I’d get really grumpy about other folks allowing just that for the very reason you bring up. It’s a bit like when I stroll around my nature center, I want the white-tail deer to not fear ME, while hoping they do have a healthy fear of other humans. Sigh.

    Thanks for your always-thoughtful posts, Liz.

    1. Yes it is a conundrum, reaching out, yet having respect enough to keep the distance. Often though children thoughts are shaped through popular media and I must admit that i’m becoming more agitated over TV and film nature/wildlife programs, where presenters portray a cavalier attitude towards wildlife. You’re a wise Dad, Sid – i’m sure you’ll guide with a sensitive balance.

  2. Sadly, I saw this phenomenon very much in evidence at Manuel Antonio NP in Costa Rica. The capuchin monkeys and raccoons were shameless, even aggressive, in their begging, and people continued to feed them. Our guide said that she’d seen people feeding capuchins that were perched atop a “Do Not Feed the Animals” sing. I ended up chucking coconuts at the monkeys to keep them from helping themselves to our picnic, but two raccoons managed to make off with some of our food in a moment of inattention. There is something inexpressibly sad in seeing wild animals sitting in a tree munching from a bag of Doritos.
    I’m also dismayed by recent nature programming. Nat Geo Wild runs programs constantly that depict ‘The World’s Deadliest…’, focusing on how dangerous these creatures are to humans. It’s all hyperbolic and sensationalistic, and very, very depressing.

    1. Depressing, in a word, sums it up. People behaving badly, the world over and wildlife bearing the brunt of it. Have the same reservations regarding Nat Geo Wild, They got very bad press here for producing a “documentary” on baboons based on the “Big Brother” reality show. It’s blatantly obvious that the bottom line is commercial gain and chasing up ratings. What a travesty! Oh so sad!
      Ending on a better note though i enjoyed reading your post on your backyard birding, and will drop by again to see what’s up in your neck of the woods.

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