Roaming along the urban edge: dispersing male baboon

Some years ago this young baboon came on a ‘recce’ round our neighbourhood.  It’s not an easy life  when that testosterone kicks in and the males leave the natal troop to hook up with another.  Dispersing along the urban edge brings a raft of problems not least finding the way through the suburbs. To assist them they are often darted with a sedative and transferred by vehicle to another area where there are nearby troops. The transition and being accepted into another troop takes time, and it’s not always successful.

21 thoughts on “Roaming along the urban edge: dispersing male baboon

  1. As Eliza does, I see a sad connection with humans who have lost their way. This is such a sad view of an animal that should have glossy fur and bright eyes – even in the last picture his eyes seem to reflect a sense of hopelessness. This is a powerful photo-piece.

    1. It is very poignant that the use of the term “res nullius” is applied to baboon management for the troops outside the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve – the very term used for the homeless. Some years back i was involved in conservation efforts (through our local civic association) – it came to a point where i found it painful to see how compromised the lives of these ‘wild’ baboons living along the urban edge had become. The moral question then becomes when is it better to euthanise or not? The conservation authorities won’t allow the troops to be relocated to a more natural environment for one reason or another so the troops outside the CGH Reserve are confined to small pockets between the southern suburbs. The dispersing males are particularly vulnerable but for the few that make it in a new troop, the rest are culled. Then there’s the contention that these ‘urban’ troops have a better existence than their species in the wilds / farmland areas!

  2. We see this a good bit with males in the wild here too. They end up skimming the outer rim of their environment, often close to towns or cities, driven there by territorial males. It’s so hard to watch this. I have seen it also with my orphaned deer. Daisy deer took more than a year to finally get in with a local doe and her two fawns. Daisy was knocked around and clubbed with hooves, driven away from the local herd until this older doe took her in. Animals are resilient for the most part. But, still, it is sad to see any living thing suffer from being ousted.

    1. Yes true it is sad, especially when the animal is in the prime of life and likely to be culled. This interface between urban and wild is a tough place for wildlife! Glad to read that resilience paid off in Daisy’s case and she was finally accepted.

    1. I’ve had interesting responses to this set of pics – glad for your comments, Gilly. Primatologists who study non-human primates tell us that we have similar behaviours, feelings and sentience in animals is recognised.

  3. This poor guy looks pretty miserable. I was struck by how much like a homeless man he looks, which was a pretty disturbing thought. It reminds me of images I’ve seen of coyotes in the same predicament, finding themselves wandering streets instead of habitat.

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