Manuel: Dispersing male

Taken two years ago, 22-05 -2011.
Taken two years ago, 22-05 -2011.

The life of a dispersing male is not an easy one.  He must negotiate the terrain, as well as the hierachy of the troop, and it takes a while to be accepted into a new clan.  In this picture taken two years ago,  Manuel had just arrived into the locale of the Smitswinkel troop.  Fred the Alpha male had been euthanised, and  another dispersing male, Jimmy was also on the scene.   Manuel stayed on the outer edge of the troop, yet within three weeks he’d learned the ropes raiding refuse bins, and hanging around the fishing boats for tidbits from the fishermen.   Soon thereafter he ventured into the suburbs and made a debut raiding gardens and bins in Murdoch Valley.    It’s sad that he developed a raiding pattern so quickly and readily.  It reflects badly against those who are mandated to conserve baboons, that there are no City by-laws to secure the urban area and enforce refuse bins and properties being secured against raids.

21 thoughts on “Manuel: Dispersing male

  1. This is very educating for me living at the other end of the world, Liz- thanks a lot for this interesting post with a brilliant Image.
    L♥ve & a big hug from the Rhine Valley

    1. His is a sad story: he grew up almost being treated like a fluffy ‘mascot’ by the inhabitants of a homeless shelter. Ate all the wrong things, was fed doughnuts, junk food. He dispersed up and over the mountain, found the Smitswinkel troop, but being habituated to people, became a hardcore raider. The authorities ‘euthanised’ him. This appears to be their answer to dealing with any of the surplus adult males, so very sad.

    1. How sad is this! There is something grossly wrong with a management strategy that disposes of healthy males in a species that is ‘protected’. We know that while ‘human’ food is so easily available the cycle of raiding will just continue, take out the males and the females take to raiding. Meanwhile there is a blatant disregard for the fact that they are sentient creatures. Much has been studied and acknowledged with regard to ‘problem’ elephant, that episodes of post traumatic stress, cause behaviour issues. When I wonder will any of the expert primatologists come forward on studies on non-primate cognitive behaviour in an urban setting? There needs to be recognition given to the fact that baboons living on the urban edge have a different set of constraints to those living in the wild. Preservation, conservation ethics?! Forget that, the bottom line here is City’s brief to maintain health and safety standards for it’s ratepayers. Sorry for the rant, Lyn – I know how you feel.

      Sent from my iPad

    1. Thanks Daisy for raising this question. I would say he was more of a ‘nuisance’ factor than a danger. It was never going to be easy ‘managing’ wild roaming baboons. The thinking was to curb their raiding habits by being able to track them using GPS collars and drive them back into their natural environment on the mountain. But there are just too many temptations and easy food available in the urban area. I reckon if the authorities had made it mandatory and had enacted by-laws to secure refuse bins, baboon-proof properties it would have helped to curb the animals raiding patterns. Despair that humans do so little to change their ways at the expense of the natural world.

      1. Yes, it’s often difficult to change…When I came in my new house, magpies (bird) came and begun to eat the filler of the windows. I wanted to stop that but I didn’t want to kill this birds as they advise me to do that. At last, I found an ornithologist: friend of bird who tell me to use a sort of glue not too strong so that the bird sticks but could fly away.. It works. It’s worth.

  2. Seems like another similarity with the wolves of Yellowstone that i so love. Males disperse too, and are often killed by the alpha males/fathers of the young daughters they covet in neighboring packs, or by trophy hunters if they stray outside protected areas. Add to that the fact that the Church in the Middle Ages deemed wolves “the devil” and to this day there is a radical faction that sees them as varmints to be eradicated. (The US Gov’t shot the last wolf in Yellowstone NP in something like 1922; they were only reintroduced in 1995. And there has been a vicious political battle over them ever since.) Life in the Wild is tough enough without stereotypes and prejudices and rampant misinformation.

    Thanks for all you are doing to educate us about the plight of baboons.

    1. Appreciate your comments; so right about the prejudice and misinformation. Isn’t it a sad reflection on the human race. I agree the hardest part is changing people’s attitudes, and more so when it comes to the last of the free ranging carnivores 😦

  3. To some extent similar to the situation with black bears that live among us — or that we live among.
    When humans set up bird feeders, they invite the bears (who adore the birdseed more than the birds do). Only when the bears are denned up, is it safe to set out the feeders, which also happens to be the only time birds need it also. But people like to look at the birds at their windows, so they don’t care that it’s an invitation to bears.
    Also, people who carelessly leave their garbage unsecured are inviting the bears. There are even some egocentric folk who insist on directly feeding the bears, which is literally inviting them in. (Makes them feel powerful or special, no doubt.)
    The wildlife police here have a saying, A fed bear is a dead bear. Because eventually a fed bear will go marauding and need to be destroyed, and that is directly due to people’s egotism and carelessness.

    1. Yup, our urbanising planet is escalating the incidence of the human/ wildlife conflict. So many similarities occur, and it’s fascinating seeing some species adapting to specialised eco niches in the urban space.

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