Baboons and our thatched roofs
Tiresome! That is the only word I can come up with when I think of the baboons here. I remember our first few weeks at Gwango. We had nothing but the bush to watch all day, and I’d spend hours observing these hairy beasts – fascinated by their human like social structure. They spend a considerable amount of time groom each other, they play with each other, and have fights just like we do. Females have males help with caring for infants in the clan (not necessarily the father), this protects the young from danger.
A troop of baboons can range in number from 20 to 200, but here the troop size seems to have grown uncontrollably. We often see a clan of over 50 baboons skirting the perimeter of Gwango Elephant Lodge and hundreds more sleep on the steel frames along the power line.
When we started to build structures here, we quickly caught on to the fact that these nuisance neighbours of ours are not to be trusted. It was not long before they began breaking into the kitchen (literally shattering the glass window above the kitchen sink). They steal bird's eggs from nests here before they have a chance to hatch and they pulled up the plants in any pots outside our guest rooms (of course the ellies do this too but we LOVE them).
Most fun for the baboons are the thatched roofs! They literally climb to the very top of a roofs and slide down pulling on the nicely ordered thatch grass. What’s left when we arrive is a pile of grass on the ground and a gaping hole in the roof.
As you can imagine, our grounds staff are on constant baboon patrol. This past month, we’ve patched up several roofs, which had begun to leak due to baboon shenanigans!
Interesting observations: From what I can tell, baboons know the difference between male and female humans. They have NO respect for the female gender.
Another funny fact is that lions are actually afraid of baboons!