Above: The red, white and blue display is found in vervet monkeys (rear) and the mandrill (face).
It has been said that I owe Michelangelo an apology for my additions to his beautiful sculpture of David (depicted above in my graphic of a rogue male), but until I know for sure that Michelangelo would not have accepted my art comment above, I will continue to assume he would understand it for what it is.
We each have an idea of what a “rogue male” is. Around wilder areas in South Africa, the ‘rogue male” is a mythical old, male baboon who has been kicked out of his troop, left to fend for himself, become somewhat grumpy and has developed a burning need to get revenge for all of this on humans who display exotic food sources around their homes.
Here along the Garden Route where we are based, the truth is that very few male baboons make it to old age and most – if not all – the baboons that are condemned as rogues are in fact, young, sub-adults pushing boundaries, having left the protection of their groups to seek new landscapes and the kind of adventures that shape them for a stronger future in a new troop of baboons.
In short, the many male “single” baboons that are harmed by humans when entering their properties due to being mistaken for the mythical “rogue male”, are wrongly targeted which in turn causes more damage to troop structures and populations.
Below are some photos showing the different features found in male baboons of different ages to give residents more of an idea about how to identify the developmental stage of the male baboon hanging around their property.
Above – seven year old male baboon; the age whereby sub-adult male baboons disperse from their natal troops to join a new group.
Above – nine year old male
Above – fourteen year old alpha male
Five year old sub-adult male
Six and a half sub-adult male above
Above – fourteen year old alpha maleWith so many males being shot, we don’t see old baboons – like the male above – along the Garden Route. Baboons can live up to 45 yrs…(Portrait of Ferdie, by Irene Mc Kenzie)