It's not easy being REEN

Life in Hollywierd

Thursday, June 29, 2006

tracking baboons



This was the most challenging yet: tracking wild baboons in Africa.

We had NO idea where they were going, or where they would end up. Thank goodness we had the help of "Jenny." She runs "baboon Matters" a program that teaches people how to live alongside the baboons without hurting them. Most baboons---because WE have taken over their territory -- have no choice but to forage for food in the houses people live in. That leads to people shooting at them and doing terrible things to them. So her foundation helps to keep the baboons up in the mountains, away from people. (Humans are their number 1 predator.)

The thing that surprised me the most is that the baboons all have a heirarchy system in the troop. You are born into it, like it or not. The lower ranking females get treated poorly and the higher ones get what they want. The males have to fight their way to be the leader, so there are many challenges between the men, and mostly jealousy fights with the woman. Not that different from us. When they groom each other, it is not just an act of keeping each other clean, but an act of winning favor, in case they need it returned: "Hey Brenda, remember when I made you look good with that new hair? Well, Steve is after me and I need some back up...can you help me out?"

But there was a miracle we caught on tape, (you'll have to watch it to see it!) as well as the last day I found myself in a field at the end of the day with the whole troop, eating with them, playing with the young ones, and watching the papa of the troop do some serious disciplining. We got really lucky as no one knows where they will end up at the end of the day, and somehow we all ended up together. Since this was the last animal of this trip, we hoped for some stroke of luck...and ended up with all of us speechless and in awe.

Now one more Ms. Adventure tomorrow, which will be absailing down the tallest mountain town: hanging from ropes as I slide and dangle down a mountain at a 90 degree angle.

Once again....who wants to drive a car, when you can slide down a mountain to get to the next adventure????

I know at some point this seemed like a good idea. As long as there is a spa at the bottom of the mountain....

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