With global warming, the summer heat is hotter than ever. As creatures of this planet, we all need to change and adapt to survive. In South Africa, the baboons found a new way to beat the summer heat by taking a dip in a family and resort pools.
Recently, there have been viral videos on the internet about fun-loving monkeys quietly going inside backyards and having their pool parties when humans are not around.
An owner of an exclusive retreat in Betty’s Bay, South Africa named Garth Bradley, released the first video on Facebook last May 14, 2019. According to him, he was in his office when he saw an alpha male baboon walking in his backyard.
He immediately rushed to check if the kitchen door is closed since he thought these baboons invaded his home in search of food. After a few minutes, he observed that the baboon and its young friend was playing in the pool. He was able to take a video of the primates.
Bradley said that this was the first time that the monkeys are in the pool. Usually, they would go in the backyard every other week to search for something to eat. The primates had a wonderful time in the pool for an estimated five minutes, and Bradley said that it was marvelous to watch.
Another video about the water-loving monkeys was uploaded on YouTube last May 16, 2019, by a family from Marloth Park, Northeastern South Africa. At first, they suspected that some strangers were using their pool at home when no one was around. They installed a camera to see who it was and to apprehend the intruders. But to their surprise, they caught a group of baboons having a short summer outing.
The videos may be fun to watch, and it shows us, humans, the playful side of baboons/Asian monkeys. But the fact that these monkeys decided to go to human territories to take a bath and search for food proves that their natural habitat is collapsing. Or, they thought that we humans intruded their natural habitats (during town expansions).
These goofy monkeys are facing some severe problems, and they need our help. Groups of Baboon that live near human settlements have lesser adult males compared to the ones who live in their natural territories. Since there are no natural predators, males are most likely killed when a direct conflict occurs between humans. This is because males are usually the ones who protect the whole group from danger. Experts have warned that the removal of male baboons can potentially lead to the population’s destruction.
Furthermore, killing males leads to more problems. New males can join the group which is mostly composed of biologically related females and their children from the previous Alpha male who has passed away. If this scenario occurs, the new male usually kills all of the children of the prior husband. A research reported that of all the baby monkeys born, 53% died within their first year. The male monkey does this type of behavior because males can mate sooner with females who don’t have an infant to take care.
Although some species of baboons are notorious troublemakers and can be dangerous to be around, we humans pose a more significant threat to them. According to reports, humans have taken over key areas where vast populations of baboons usually live. Currently, their population is decreasing.
In Cape Town, some baboons are infamous for bullying people and stealing their food. But when you think about it, with their natural home destroyed and their limited sources of food, aren’t they just doing what they can to adapt and survive?
So what can we do help them? We need to raise awareness that just like us, these monkeys are living in their traditional habitats. If we happened to have an unfriendly encounter with them, if possible, we should resort to non-lethal strategies.
We need to start respecting nature, always keep in mind that wild creatures will stay wild. Government-owned areas, private reserves, and parks must consider protecting these animals. Conservation efforts should be increased to protect specific species with lower population since Baboons are not certainly protected in the so-called protected areas.
Don’t feed wild baboons. Baboons are considered to be part of the South African heritage. We must do our part to help these goofy creatures so that the future generation can see them live and not only via textbooks or old videos.