14 January 2012

No Monkey Business

There was one animal at Suikerbosrand that haunted my dreams. I kept getting the random thought "will my cameras be safe". This animal has huge canine teeth! An inquisitive nature! Omnivorous appetite! Heck, they even have opposable thumbs! How would they react to my poor defenceless cameras (unless you count a powerful flash, or dim red glow, as an offencive advantage)!

Enter, the Chacma Baboon...

Chacma baboon (Kaapse Bobbejaan - Papio ursinus) at Suikerbosrand

Baboons live in groups of 15-100 animals and I feared that if the camera caught the eye of only one of them the whole group might take an interest... Although they can surely do serious damage biting on or beating the camera, my biggest fear was that they might carry it around. Moving the camera by only a short distance can make it almost impossible to find again. But in the end everything went smoothly and they barely payed the cameras any notice.

Sitting down for a family meal

In fact, the only camera trouble I had was with an Eland that pushed a camera over. The Baboons were content to focus on finding food on going by their daily activities.

One of my cameras was positioned up a tree, pointing down, and got a unique view of a Baboon trying to eat some Sunflower seeds I threw on the ground.

Slurping up some seeds? Why use your fingers if you can use your face?

This Baboon was photographed in a heavily wooded area. I'm used to seeing them in more open areas and didn't think they frequented areas like this often enough to show up on this short camera trapping trip. However, thinking back, we have encountered Baboons in some pretty thick forests in the past.

Typical landscape at Suikerbosrand in the Gauteng province of South Africa

There will most likely be many more encounters with Baboons in my camera trapping future and I hope all of them will be this, well, uneventful. And on that note the Baboons exited, stage left...

The rear end of the tale


  1. That was a stroke of good luck -- I'd think baboons could be as naughty as bears. Glad to see you are camtrapping again.

  2. Thank you for posting!

  3. That last picture is a classic! Great blog!

  4. I hope you don't mind, but I posted one of your pictures on our facebook page.