Saturday, 23 June 2018

Chacma Baboon Behaviour

Grooming and suckling

 Several paths lead out from the back of the Victoria falls Hotel. One goes to the falls while the others snake through the bush that surrounds this lovely old institution.

Despite the proximity of human habitation there is no shortage of game along these trails. Elephant, giraffe, warthogs and numerous antelope species are common as are the wide variety of birds from hornbills to birds of prey.

My walk took me towards the falls alongside quite a steep valley. I took an experienced staff member with me as there is always safety in numbers and wild animals are not the only threat that a tourist carrying expensive camera gear might encounter.

About a kilometre from the hotels boundary fences we encountered a troop of chacma baboons. It included adult males and females, juveniles and several babies. This was the ideal opportunity to sit and watch the kinds of primate behaviour that one reads about or sees in zoos and wildlife parks.

In the half an hour we observed the troop we noticed dominant and submissive poses and facial expressions grooming and pseudo-sexual interactions between both sexes.... a real lesson in biology in the most wonderful surrounding with the mist and thunder of the falls in the background.