May 20, 2009

Mammal Behaviour Competition

Hi there at EcoTraining,
Exceptional, unusual, rarely seen mammal behaviour?? Well, I was quite speechless!!!!

In 2007 we travelled around in Kenya and Tanzania and of course we visited the Ngorongoro Crater. While waiting for our guide buying the entrance tickets at the gate of the reserve, we strolled around at the parking area. There were some baboons sitting at the side of the road so I had my camera ready. Then I saw this fellow? sitting in a not so animal-like position, chewing on something. Then he suddenly pulled out a long thread of chewing gum, and I clicked the camera. Okay, not a sharp picture, but then, I was so amazed! He put the gum back in his mouth and left.
It is surely technically not my best picture made on safari, but every time I see it, it still amazes me.

And in a way makes me sad, this baboon has been to much close to humans, and is now copying our behaviour. I don’t know if we should be happy with that, after all this was really a wild animal, living free in his own environment. He should eat a banana and not our thrown-away stuff!! Thank god, he didn’t blow a bubble!

Wonder what dr. Estes thinks about this amazing Tanzanian baboon.
Best regards from Wendy Verhagen ( the Netherlands), who will stay at Ecotraining’s Karongwe Camp from 16th September to 13th October for the Field Guide Course, Level 1.
See you then!! Wendy Verhagen (Netherlands)

Dear Wendy,
I know the spot and have seen the same troop of baboons. Your picture of the young male stretching a piece of chewing gum is unusual and amusing. I doubt he was actually chewing it, "aping" human behavior, however. More likely, he picked up a discarded piece, or possibly some joker gave him a new piece. In any case, baboons are clever enough to exploit any easy source of food, and it is only surprising that this troop hasn't become aggressive enough to take bananas and any other food from visitors. Tourists are to blame for making baboons a nuisance by feeding them in the first place. In addition, garbage discarded at campsites and park entrances like this one are bound to attract baboons and other scavengers.
Cordial regards,Richard Estes
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