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A “one man” crime wave in Africa

21 May 2016

This baboon is looking a bit smug, although he’s not quite worked out how to properly drink apple juice. I heard recently that chimpanzees have entered the “stone age”, able to work out how to use tools. It’ll be a while before they’re in to the “polyethylene age”.

There’s a bit of a story behind this picture.


[muhg-ing] /ˈmʌg ɪŋ/
1. an assault or threat of violence upon a person, especially with intent to rob.
We had just arrived at the gates of the Ngorogoro crater, an amazing place, where lots of wildlife is caught in an old Volcanic caldera. Only two creatures really come and go as they please: Leopards, and Baboons (probably monkeys too, but they’re less threatening and only steal bananas, see below).
Now, we were travelling on a budget. Yes, I know that an expensive tour through Africa, and a budget don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but one necessitates the other. Admittedly, we probably had more disposable income than the baboon, but he had time on his hand to formulate a strategy, and boy did that pay off.
There was a welcome shop, where hard strapped tourists living in tents on a food cooked on a camp fire could stock up on snacks. When we arrived, Anna was craving a packet of biscuits. There were signs everywhere that the baboons should not be fed by the tourists. That’s all well and good, but baboons can’t read.
After buying her biscuits, Anna was departing the shop, ahead of me, when the leader of the baboon gang began to approach her. Before I had chance to get my camera out, Anna had squealed, thrown her packet of biscuits at the baboon, and made a sharp exit. The baboon, the mugging complete, grabbed the biscuits and headed back to safety, refusing to share any have his spoils with any but his favourites.
I was a bit taken aback, it had all happened so quickly I hadn’t even had chance to apprehend a fear of violence upon a person, but Anna’s quick move had cunningly seen him off. Whether Anna technically broke the rules about not feeding the baboon is up for debate; can fending off a baboon with a packet of biscuits count as feeding?
I hadn’t realised, however, that this particular baboon was a serial perpetrator, and so did not take the chance to warn the next tourist, who had bought the apple juice fared a fate as bad as Anna’s.
Who knows how many crimes this mastermind has perpetrated, clearly preying upon the weak and vulnerable tourist in their hour of vulnerability. The signs should read “beware the thieving monkey” rather than the obvious “don’t feed these vicious criminals”. All in all the baboons generally offered interest during our trip.
Elsewhere in Africa (the Serengeti I recall), the fellow below stole that banana from our truck. But he managed it in a friendly sort of way, without any apprehension of violence upon the person. He clearly appreciates that tourism can bring wealth to the region.

From → My ramblings, Travel

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