The popular Cape Town cycle tour is to be held on Sunday (12 March) and as the participants and visitors arrive in preparation for the event the peninsula is abuzz. 35,000 cyclists are registered to take part. The lead up on the roads with the mix of cyclists, motorists, heavy vehicles, tour buses and wildlife sometimes result in dangerous situations. The stretch of road between Millers Point and to the top of the Smitswinkel rise has been particularly challenging especially with it’s blind rises and sharp bends. A couple of days ago, dodging cyclists and tour buses we came across this scene where a troop of baboons scattered across a section of road and motorists had pulled off to get a close-up viewing. Generally this troop’s movements are curtailed by appointed rangers, but this day they had given them the slip. What followed was inevitable, car windows were open and baboons being opportunistic went to investigate. A female baboon made off with a backpack, which fortunately she surrendered when chased. Luckier still is that the adult male baboon following behind did not challenge the man as he retrieved the bag. It’s doubly disappointing that careless motorists aren’t penalised or fined as this particular troop is being “conditioned” through the use of noise / pain deterence to prevent raiding behaviour. If motorists abided by the conservation laws and kept their car windows up and doors locked the baboons would have a better chance of not becoming raiders.
The Alpha-male; showing posture and status.
Note the very young baby baboon in the shot above – it’s flesh is still very pink and it’s ears remain pressed to it’s head.
Baboons are born with deciduous/milk teeth which are replaced by age 2 – 3 years with their adult set. From about two months their fur starts thickening and changing colour; and just as you see here with this trio of youngsters play is all a part of developing agility, co-ordination and strength. Oposable thumbs on hands and feet give them added dexterity plus additional strength to their hands.
It was cool in the early morning, 9*C when a passing rain shower caught this baboon troop out in the open. The mothers sheltered together paying attention to their babies gently cuddling them to keep them warm. The rain passed and they were soon back into the veld digging for corms and other succulent roots.