Following the Channel4 documentary entitled: Rogue Baboon. I decide to write my own first experiences with the baboons as I grew up in my native Country Zimbabwe. I was born and bred in an area that was infested with these creatures including all types of wildlife animals and birds with the exception of the lions and the elephants. My homestead is nearby mountains and hills, in fact a range of mountains and hills that stretches miles and miles. These mountains and hills are the habitats of these creatures. Baboons, monkeys and other wildlife animals were like neighbours and hence I came to understand the nature and their characteristics. Baboons are opportunist.
To call a baboon a rogue it just shows how unfamiliar the outside world do not understand the nature and the characteristic of these animals. As I was following the documentary I noticed the environment area where these baboons had terrorised their neighbours. The landscape in South Africa showed the nearby mountains and hills where these animals lived probably for generations and generations before the inhabitants. To the baboons it is their territorial place and “aliens” have invaded it. When someone invaded your place you fight back in a way that the invader will understand how deeply angry you are by invading your territories. Sometimes it becomes like a war and a war that has no ending.
It is the nature and characteristic of baboons to snatch, steal and sometimes kill. It is their God given survival instincts. I have witnessed in the past on some baboons that had managed to kill a young one of a goat, known as kid. Since I grew up I never heard of a baboon killing a human being but they can intimidate. Several times on my way to school I and other children we passed through or met a troop of baboons and never a single day had they tried to attack us and no matter how close we were close to them. We would chant names and songs to tease them. The responses we got from baboons it’s either they would make fun faces or move away from us and escape into the bushes silently. We could call some elderly male baboons: Sekuru Mukanya meaning grandpa Mukanya. Mukanya is linked with people’s totems. Some clans their totems are linked with the baboons. So whenever these people see these animals they give so much respect because of their totem.
I also noted that the group of doctors who examined Fred, the baboon were shocked on how strong the animal was and that it never suffered any medical illness even after it was shot more than 50 times and amazingly it survived all the deadly bullets. The baboons adapted to the nature of survival and hence they developed strong muscles, fast movements, sharp and deepening teeth. It is the same to human we also adapt to certain environments for survival. Some people are much stronger than the other depending on what they do and the environment they live. A person who does some manual labour everyday develops some special muscles to tackle a certain job hence it becomes much easier as the days go by unlike a person who is doing a white-collar job. These animals live in the mountains and hills and therefore they should be well geared to protect and defend themselves in times of crisis.
I have to agree that the baboons that were filmed, they are truly civilised and more sophisticated, they understood human beings mind well. I have no doubt in my mind that in the past some people or the animal lovers have given these baboons some goodies that they never know they existed, once they tasted they found how good and delicious the food. It is now my theory now that these baboons when they needed to quench their appetite with the goodies they would visit the people’s homes and their cars, and because they have carefully studied human beings they know when to steal and snatch and geared to defend themselves if they face some wrath.
In the village where I grew up the baboons would come to steal in the fields, the maize, mangoes, oranges and other stuff. Baboons can surprise you whilst you are relaxed at home. Snatching food from well-built food granaries. By the time one would realised they are at your home it will be too late. The baboons would be leaving already with some food hidden in their armpits as they moved boisterously. In the early days people in my village planted scarecrows in their gardens or fields in attempt to shy away the animals, but as always the baboons studied the scarecrow and realised it’s not a human being, a human being move around and about, so the animals started to terrorised people’s gardens and fields with much confidence. Villagers ended up sending their children to guard their fields from the animals.
In all, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the programme, as it brought back fresh memories of my early days in the village where I grew up. I laughed throughout the programme and who cannot stop laughing when the “Rogue baboon and its family terrorised their neighbours. Though they were some ugly scenes it was very much enjoyable to watch the whole episode. The sad part is that the “aliens” killed Fred for scientific and medical researches. Fred, the most fascinating character that the world had ever seen. If I had any powers to reverse life in Fred, I would do it. For I loved him and he had unforgettable personality that stood out from the crowd.
Sleep in peace, Fred, and know you have been well loved by people who understood you and what you were fighting for. Sweet Dreams Fred.