Baboons’ wild ways

Most times the show of teeth appears to be a bit of ‘sabre rattling’, but on this occasion, it was the real deal!  We heard them before sighting the pandemonium on the road ahead.  High decibels: “WAHOO, WAHOO” rang out, accompanied by what can only be described as howling hysteria by the rest of the troop.  Baboon behaviour can be daunting and I was glad to be in a car and not on foot.  One has to be respectful of their wild ways and keep a good distance away.  The chase was on – the adversaries were locals from the Smitswinkel  Bay troop.  It’s interesting to note that the subordinate of the two is the ex-alpha, deposed by a younger, brawnier and far more bolshy character from the Plateau Road troop.  He’d staged a coup a couple of years ago, yet the ‘Ex’ was still hanging round with his females in a lesser role. The action took place inside the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve, which of course is not where they are supposed to hang out; but what’s a fence in terms of agile, wild roaming animals.  The irony of the Cape Town baboon conservation management policy is keeping the ‘urban edge’ troops out of the reserve, and not in.

Two photos from the past; the bad old days when the Smits troop habitually raided homes and cars.

Smitswinkel troop comfortable in the suburbs _ 2009 Second from right – Fingers about 4 years old.
Fred, 2011.


4 thoughts on “Baboons’ wild ways

  1. Such feuds between different baboons really are like a mirror held up to humanity, isn’t it?

    Your images are beautiful, as ever, Liz.

    Why don’t they want the Smitswinkel troop to venture into CoGHNR? Is it to avoid of conflict with the troop(s) resident within the reserve?

  2. It is interesting to get news of the baboons again. I too wondered if the avoidance of conflict is behind the separation of the troops – can we really avoid it? As you say, fences mean nothing . I notice – and the prolonged drought here might have something to do with this – that baboons are being observed ever closer to town; still some kilometers to go, but closer than before.

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