Chacma Baboon

Bobbejaan

Papio cynocephalus ursinus

Weighs about 40 Kg, found all over Southern Africa.

Omnivores, but mostly forage on vegetation.  Cases of cannibalism known.

Active in day time, in troops up to 100.  Social hierarchical structures.

In contrast with those silly monkeys, I love baboons with a passion.  I can think of no better treat than to sit alone in my car on an isolated dirt road in the Kruger Park, watching a troop sorting out priorities, rank, ego and agro.  They are fascinating creatures.  This paragraph simply does not pay justice to one of nature’s greatest strategists and politicians.  Further reading is strongly recommended.  Excellent video material is available too.

Problems

Baboons can be very destructive to cash crops.  Like most wild animal, they take more than what they devour. Unfortunately their intelligence supports them in this, and they are not easily scare off by calling their bluff.  The use of poison is not only risky on other inhabitants of the veld, but ineffective as well. Shooting a few will usually solve the problem temporarily.  Farmers sometimes organize major termination exercises on whole troops of baboons.  This is sad and unnecessary. Baboons are smart enough to get the message with lesser violence.

Hunting

I have yet to discover a mammal with better eyesight than a baboon.  When they know they are being hunted, there is just no way that they can be stalked.  Hearing and smell is limited, but the baboon’s eyesight is incredible.  Waiting in ambush works well, provided that the hunter is camouflaged and movement is restricted to an absolute minimum.

Did you know?

When the female baboon becomes sexually receptive the skin on her rump swells and becomes a bright pink/red.

The residents of Kommetjie in the Cape Peninsula will loose the battle against the baboons for as long as the bunny-hugger strategy of soft politics prevail.  Intelligent animals will always take advantage of the "kindness" of humans.  The day that a male baboon kills a resident of Kommetjie, is not far away.