Egg-Stealing Baboon Incurs Wrath of Geese
Of the many ways baboons might remind us of humans, one characteristic we share is a tendency to be opportunistic.
Footage from South Africa's Kruger National Park shows the moment a hungry baboon battles with a flock of geese in a showdown over the birds' eggs.
Initially slow and cautious, a baboon approaches a flock of geese, intent on searching for a snack. The animal then springs into action, bounding next to a pair of Egyptian geese guarding a small nest with eggs.
Egyptian geese are aggressively territorial. During mating, they are monogamous, making it likely the pair fighting the baboon were a couple. While it initially appeared that the geese had a chance at saving their eggs, the baboon won out through persistence, dodging a flurry of wings and beaks.
The video was filmed last summer but was only recently published. Colin Pretorius, a manager at a lodge in the southern region of the park, described Egyptian geese as the "bouncers" of the bird world.
"He was with a troop but was the only one that was determined to get to the eggs for a taste," said Pretorius. "This was his second attempt at trying to get to the nest."
Pretorius noted that hundreds of geese breed in the area, making it a target for hungry predators.
"The attempt paid off. He must have decided that this time 'round he wasn’t going to be deterred," Pretorius said of the monkey's theft.
The baboon, likely a chacma baboon, belongs to a species known for a trouble-making combination of aggression and intelligence. They form social structures that are highly complex and can encompass as many as 100 members.
South Africa is no stranger to scheming baboon behavior. Cape Town has a large number of the primates in urban settings, sometimes leading to clashes between the animals and city residents. The monkeys have learned to associate human beings with food—they know homes and waste bins are resources for finding meals.
The creatures are protected in South Africa, and a 2000 law made it illegal to feed baboons or injure baboons. The animals have been known to raid homes and restaurants, and people carrying food have also reportedly been mugged.