There is never anything right about seeing any animal tied up on a busy road. The wrong is compounded when it is a wild animal who is plainly miserable or terrified, and is worse again when it is an infant. Consequently we did not think twice when the Wildlife Authority said they would confiscate a baby baboon that had been seen downtown if we would take it. Of course we would.
And so Kasanchis (named after the suburb where he was found) has found his way into our lives – and into the office, cars and kitchen. He’s a handful! Unbelievably, once we had it set up (and secure!) he settled right into his new temporary accommodation, an old aviary. This will have to be his home while we get something better set up on site. Kasanchis is very comfortable around people, which definitely helps reduce his stress and trauma, and has readily taken to food, though he won’t touch milk. That is probably OK, as he seems to be just passed weaning age. We guesstimate him to be 4 – 6 months old; weaning can take place as young as three months. There is not much he won’t eat. Surprisingly he won’t even look at cucumbers but he just loves acacia pods, which is great as they would form the bulk of his natural diet. So today, he is happy and healthy. We can all feel good about that.
What worries me is the future. He is literally years from being able to survive independently. Even when he is old enough, the odds will still be stacked against him. Adolescent male olive baboons (Papio anubis) naturally move away from the troop they were born into, but they often do so in pairs or small groups (termed ‘coalitions’). This helps them win entry into a new troop; there is strength in numbers. Kasanchis won’t have that advantage; he is likely to be on his own. If he doesn’t make into a troop what will he do? Most likely, hang around the centre. Unfortunately though, a humanised, adult baboon is no one’s idea of a fun neighbour…
So we did the right thing in taking him in, but we should not pretend that the story ends there. Sadly for him, Kasanchis has still more problems ahead of him.
PS I just read the above and thought ‘what a terrible, down note to end on’. So don’t worry, he may face problems but at least we also have years ahead of us in which to work out a solution. In the meantime, he is blissfully unaware of anything besides the fact that if he shrieks long enough and shrilly enough a kindly human will bring him food ?