There is something enviable about being a baboon. Or perhaps even many somethings. I won’t deny certain aspects of daily baboon life are dull, capricious, and frankly upsetting, but there is a certain freedom that comes from a laissez-faire government (though perhaps its really more of a hierarchical oligarchy with an understaffed police force and very few laws). Here are the top ten perks (in no particular order):
Upon arriving in Gombe, I was introduced to Ashura. “She will be helping you,” is all I was told. No one even implied I should pay her, though I’d heard through the grapevine that I should. In an awkward Swahili conversation I am 94% sure we agreed on a price of 100,000 shillings per month (about 65 dollars), and she happily began cooking and cleaning for me.
So far, in the short amount of time I’ve spent at Gombe, I have seen quite a few hunts. While most hunts happen high in the tree tops, hidden behind dense vegetation, I recently snagged a prime viewing spot for one of these events, and it was quite a sight to see.
It was mid afternoon when I began hearing the alarm calls of Colobus monkeys high in the trees. The chimps evidently heard them too because many of the males quickly took off towards the sounds, leaving the females and less motivated males behind.