Look what I found last night when I got home from work.
and a little tell-tale present on my doorstep…..
Looks like they had a party on my roof. One corner looks really bad and will surely leak if it rains – lets hope the dry season has arrived because I can’t afford to fix this right now.
Our resident troop of baboons is small and they live down by the river. I have never seen them up at the house. I called a farmer from just next door to the reserve this morning, and he said that he saw a huge troop of baboons moving through yesterday. Lets hope they were not looking for a new home and that they just kept on moving.
I have been advised to put plastic snakes up on the roof till I can get it fixed and covered with a thin wire mesh. The wire mesh stops this from happening but unfortunately only the corners of my roof have the mesh on. I am glad they left the other three cottages alone.
The Chacma Baboon Papio ursinus, is, like all other baboons, from the Old World monkey family. With a weight from 15 to 31 kg, it is among the largest and heaviest baboon species. The Chacma is generally dark brown to gray in color, with a patch of rough hair on the nape of its neck. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of this baboon is its long, downward sloping face. Males can have canine teeth as long as 2 inches (longer than a lion’s canine teeth). Baboons are sexually dimorphic, males being considerably larger than females.
Baboon troops possess a complex group behavior and communicate by means of body attitudes, facial expressions, vocalisations and touch. The Chacma Baboon is omnivorous with a preference for fruits, while also eating insects, seeds, grass and smaller vertebrate animals. The Chacma Baboon is generally a scavenger when it comes to game meat and rarely engages in hunting large animals. There has been one incident where a Chacma Baboon has killed a human infant, however the event is so rare the locals believed it was due to witchcraft.
Normally Chacma Baboons will flee at the approach of humans. This has been changing due to the easy availability of food where there is interaction with humans. Some troops have become a suburban menace, overturning trash cans and entering houses in their search for food. These animals can be aggressive and dangerous, such negative encounters have resulted in frustrated local residents resorting to hunting them.
Moves are being made now to protect the species and there is a center for injured and orphaned baboons in the Grietjie game reserve where I did my FGASA course. It is called the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education – C.A.R.E. Right now though, I must say, I….do….not…care! Bad baboons!
For more information on living sustainably with baboons please go to the Baboon Matters Trust website. I will be spending some time there to get my perspective back on track. They raise awareness of the plight of baboons in southern Africa and facilitate the rescue and rehabilitation of baboons in need. Maybe I should call them. Our baboons may need rescuing soon. From me.
See you soon, baboon.