Six years down the line, I have been witness to many stressful situations regarding my troop, from a juveniles getting killed by a lioness, to the troop splitting up. Not to mention the change of leadership of the troop, an event that has taken place three times over our time together.

Infanticide is not a well documented event which plagues baboon’s society, giving insight into the dark side of their behavior. I have watched Tankman grow up from a sprightly young baboon, and has blossomed into a good natured and gentle leader of the troop at present. He is a bit like Gordon Brown as he did not have to take on any other male to get to lead the troop. The role just fell into his lap after Big Black, the last dominant male of the troop left the area, I suspect to go back to the other half of the troop which moved off the property after the troop split up.
On the morning of the 23rd of February I was excited to see that Mrs Pschyco had given birth to a babe. A great site to see as a couple of months back Pompom had lost her baby to disease.
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A short time after the discovery I noticed a new large male with the troop who I did not recognize, and upon seeing me for the first time began shouting out warning calls to the rest of the troop. Upon hearing these warning the troop scanned the area giving me the once over as they did so, and continued foraging as they could not see any immediate danger in the area. The new guy who I have called Tawny was confused by this and could not work out why the troop did not see me as a threat to them. Understandably as there are still lodges who shoot baboons a short sighted act with far reaching consequences.
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I noticed tension between Tankman and Tawny immediately and Tankman would strategically position himself in such a way as to keep Tawny on the outskirts of the troop, my presence becoming a huge aid to him in this endeavor.
Not wanting to miss an opportunity to document as much of this change as possible I spent as much time with the troop as I could but noticed on the third day of Tawny’s appearance that Mrs Pschyco no longer had her babe with her.
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What struck me is she showed no sign of mourning, unlike Pompom who had spent over a week calling for her dead child, after the body fell to pieces. I suspected that Tawny had something to do with this, an assumption Tankman backed up for me on numerous occasions. As whenever one of the juveniles screamed in fright Tankman would come running over and grab the distraught youngster, holding it to his belly to console it.
There is a young juvenile gang consisting of Heuy, Lewy and Lucy, being added to about a month later by the birth of Half Tails first baby called Jigga. Shortly before the arrival of Jigga, on the scene, Shirley Hurly had given birth to Squirt. They rapidly formed a close bond with each other, driving their mothers mad on the odd occasions.
Image Title I noticed that Tankman who has always been brilliant with the babes, was still keeping a close eye on Tawny, monitoring his every move. The Tank is particularly protective over Jigga and squirt, simply because they are the youngest of the troop and the most vulnerable to attack from Tawny.
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I am clearly surmising now but have seen snippets of behavior which led me to suspect Tawny more and more, coupled with Tankmans unease with the situation, with the tension simmering below the surface and have not up to this point witnessed any aggressive interaction between them, but that is not to say there hasn’t been any.

Interesting times for the troop lie ahead at the moment and just hope the girls of the troop get behind the Tank and keep him power. He is very similar to his father Gandalph who was running things in the troop along with Grey, when we first started getting to know each other.
For all their intelligence and complicated social system I find it despicable that baboons are still classified as vermin in our country. We can put people on the moon but fail to use our intelligence to out think baboons when it comes to conflicting situation. We are possibly just too lazy with our intellect unless it involves money or status. There are incredible lesson to be learnt form these animals if we would only take the time to see them. Time will tell what goes down with the troop but I think Jigga and squirt face a difficult time ahead. Long live Tankman..
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