6 thoughts on “So what’s a fence?

  1. I just realized, Liz, that for all my piousness about saving creatures when you spoke about the human-baboon conflict in urban areas, that these creatures are dangerous. I was suddenly terrified when I saw these pictures, for some reason. Of course, I have known monkeys all my life… I know their temper, their tantrums, their courage even… but there seemed to be a certain hovering maliciousness in the first pic, which I know I imagine.. but I could also imagine what it would be like if confronted by this creature. I think I am turning into a coward as I grow older. But there is a sort of unforgiving look in his eyes, a sort of arrogance.. I know I would be the intruder, and yet, maybe because of my human arrogance I cannot bear to look at this fellow… and his utter contempt for anything that stands in his path..

    1. Read your comments with much interest, Tejaswi. My heart has grown heavy over the fate of these baboons, but this one in particular had quite a history. You’re right in that you picked up ‘contempt for anything in his path’ as he grew up ‘spoiled’ by people who treated him like a cute mascot. He had no fear of people, and this is one baboon who we saluted and jumped out of his path. He was known as the ‘Doughnut King’ as he had developed a sweet tooth from all the junk he got fed and then he started raiding houses. But the one thing he did accomplish against all odds was to disperse from his troop to a neighbouring one by finding his way across a mountain. We could follow his tracks through a GPS collar and we rooted for him all the way. As the new kid on the block he had to be accepted in, but he appeared to be unpopular with the females. … And rather like the schoolboy bully in the playground appeared rather forceful. He was eventually euthanised as he was a fearless raider.
      Generally baboons don’t attack unless there is a scuffle over food. One incident for me which was pretty scary happened when I hadn’t been paying attention and had left a sliding door unlocked and three sub-adult males got into the house and kitchen where I was trapped between them and the counter where they were fighting over food. Fortunately my husband was home and came to my rescue. Still those gnashing teeth were very close and I was quite shaken by the ordeal. But since then Human Wildlife Conflict rangers contracted to keep the baboons out of the suburbs use a ‘pain aversion’ strategy utilising paintball guns. There are issues though and it appears that it’s not all succesful.

      1. Oh, that is so sad. I wish he could have been let off elsewhere. But you are right, it would have been a lot worse for him to be isolated from the rest of his kind.

        I am never sure if there is a satisfactory solution for human-animal conflicts. Pain aversion, electrified boundaries, noise aversion, ultrasonic audio barriers.. I really don’t know what works or not. Here, for example, in urban India, they talk of the “Leopard menace”. The truth is, our greedy builders encroached on protected land first. They brought the city to the leopard’s doorstep not the other way round. But there are both those who say that Leopard’s must be protected and those who say they must be disposed of in any manner possible. Either side has its share of lunatics. But like your baboon-human conflict over there, there does not seem to be a real solution at all. I am so sad to hear about the Doughnut King and now my comments must sound so uncharitable.
        Sorry, Liz.. I am not always carried away by immediate impressions. But apes and monkeys do scare me for their apparently mindless malice sometimes.

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