Baboons are highly intelligent, living in well-ordered social groups, and watching a wild troop can be a real pleasure. But a troop of baboons habituated to people can be a disaster for all concerned. In many of the communal national park campsites in northern Botswana, baboons are a fact of life – not a pleasant one. They will steal from your camp if you leave it unguarded, and once they even left a smelly package in the middle of the bed in an empty rooftop tent!
Having a slingshot (catapault) handy can be a good deterrent, but sometimes even that backfires. I remember 1 occasion when we were camping with friends in North Gate, Moremi, and baboons had been skirting camp all day, looking for an opportunity to sneak in and grab something. 1 of our friends had a slingshot and when he held it in the air, the baboons vanished instantly. He didn’t even have to use it. However, revenge is best served cold, and when we returned from our afternoon drive (having left our tents open and empty so there would be nothing of interest for the baboons) our tent was flat on the floor. Apparently the baboons had been leaping from the trees onto the top of our tent until they broke the poles, no doubt pleased with their day’s activities, they abandoned our destroyed camp!
Baboons 1. People 0.
Until next time…