Africa – Misunderstanding Wild Baboons

A Researcher working in Uganda contacted me some time ago to ask if I could help her understand what was happening to the villagers in her area who had reported that the women were being “sexually harassed” by a troop of baboons. These “attacks” occurred when the women headed towards the river to do their daily clothes washing.

I asked if anyone had threatened the baboons, or perhaps walked too close to an infant? She answered that the baboon threats were totally unprovoked by the women and they feared they would be “raped”.

Baboons do not rape or sexually harass human women.

Bewildered by this story, I questioned the researcher further.

“Were there any men around when these women were threatened by the baboons?”, I asked.
The answer to that was “yes”.

The men were threatening the baboons due to a fear of them harming the women.

The behaviour described above is a clear cut case of redirected aggression. The baboons were threatening the women because –  in their eyes –  women are lower ranking hence it is safer to threaten a woman who is connected to a hostile man than threaten the man himself.

This is common behaviour among wild primates. If an adult human man attacks or strongly threatens a male baboon who feels he has to respond, and there happens to be a woman close by, the baboon will threaten the woman.

As far as baboons sexually harassing humans is concerned, it appears that a certain amount of projection was involved in understanding the behaviour of these baboons.

The solution to a problem like this would be for the men and women to ignore the baboons, act passively and be respectful of their troop and territory.

To harmoniously co-exist with wild primates, it requires us to practice tolerance and patience. We need to take the time to understand their language so we can correctly interpret the behaviour that scares us.

Theft of the Soul

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Certain African tribes refuse to kiss because they believe that the mouth is the window to the soul. They fear having their soul stolen.

 

Others fear having their photos taken and regard a direct stare as a potential theft of the soul.

 

Then there are the numerous wild primates who consider a direct, long stare by a stranger to be invasive and threatening.

 

How many of you relate to that?

Testosterone is Trouble

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CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE THE VIDEO      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=699442920075392&l=6748201192778123588

Cross-Species Relationships – Darwin Primate Group

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The Harmonious Relationship Between Dogs, Chickens, Rehabilitated orphaned monkeys and Wild Baboons. For seven years, these wild baboons did not ever attempt to harm a chicken, free-roaming rescue monkey, cat or dog at the Darwin Primate Group. (The huskies in this video were rescued to save them from being euthanased by their people, and due to their high prey drive were a severe risk to small mammals.)

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CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW:

Farmers vs Wildlife – the Plight of SA Primates

Farmers vs Wildlife and the Plight of SA Primates

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Paintings by Karin Saks - B.A.F.A.

LINK TO PRESENTATION – CLICK BELOW:

Harmonious Co-existence between Humans and Baboons/Monkeys

We’ve altered their lives drastically by encroaching on their territory. We’ve destroyed habitats and have severely damaged troop structures.

This presentation (click on the link above) is for residents who would like to co-exist peacefully with the baboons and/or monkeys around their homes.My neighboring baboons - BEHAVIOUR and power struggles.

Darwin Primate Group

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The Darwin Primate Group is a registered non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of South African primate species. There are nine provinces in SA with each province being governed by independent laws. Because the DPG is the only official primate rescue centre in the Western Cape in SA, our work is crucial to ensure a healthy future for the indigenous primates in this province.

We work towards a harmonious co-existence between residents and wild primates through distributing educational material, public talks and liasing with the public. An aspect of this involves anti-poaching patrols and educating local children in informal entertaining ways.

Our programs include working towards more protective legislation for wild indigenous primates,the rescue and rehabilitation of monkeys and research into wild baboons and monkey troops to find out the impact of human intervention and behavioural aspects that will contribute to knowledge about the most appropriate rehabilitation processes – habitats, natural food sources, behaviour etc.

 

The Primate Mirror – Seeing Beyond Our Preconceived Human Socialisation

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Love At First Sight

“If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.”
― Frederick Buechne

P.S. It is not advisable to ever invite a baboon to sit on your lap as illustrated in the photo of myself with Boffin the baboon. The context behind the photo above relates to myself as rehabilitator; mother to a baby baboon who I was releasing into a wild troop of baboons.