Yellow baboons react differently on how they are treated.

10 January 2011

By Kakae Saiteu-Guide, Greystoke Mahale.

Yellow baboons are a primate with a complex social structure. They live and walk together in large troop sizes; normally several adult males accompanied with harems of females, juveniles and infants.

There are several troops of yellow baboons within the western side of the Mahale Mountains and one of them has its home range where Greystoke camp is located. Like most other monkeys this troop sometimes comes through camp and climbs on the bandas/rooms to play and look for insects. They disrupt the thatching grass that make up the roof, and also destroy the walls of the bandas/rooms, in a scale small enough to be tolerated. However, this disruptive behaviour forces room-attendants, and camp staff, all dark skinnedto pester them any time they see those baboons getting close to the bandas/rooms. That harassment makes the yellow baboon scared of any dark skin coloured person getting close to them.

This also applies for when guides take guests walking through where that troop of yellow baboons stay, the yellow baboon tends to walk away and make it hard for photographs.

Just recently it crosses my mind, what will the yellow baboons reaction be if guests approached the baboons with the guide lagging behind. The result was fascinating, the baboons were not petrified with the guest getting closer by themselves and they stayed a distance possible to be photographed.

It is amazing how skilled baboons are, to treat situations principally similar in different ways.

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