Over the past few weeks my troop has been here on and off, allowing limited time to monitor the developments of Tawny’s arrival.

After them not being on the property for the last few days I hooked up with the troop at Gowrie dam. As usual I make a mental note of all the faces, and count them a few times, checking for any missing. There was a lot of murmuring chatter going on amongst the females, hinting at something going on in the troop. Stands to reason that all the woman are talking about it something must be on the go. I hadn’t noticed Tawny who soon made his where about known by chasing Mrs Pschyco up a lead wood tree, trapping her on the end of a branch too thin for their combined weight, ending with a flailing cacophony of breaking branches and shrieks of the falling duo. Mrs Pschyco ran off in the direction of the other females and I lost track of Tawny in the thick bush of the drainage line.
After some time the troop headed out of the drainage line and up onto the clearing, when loud explosive barks could be heard off to the east, some distance away.
This sent more murmuring comments rippling through the females. After a period of silence we heard more barking coming our way and saw Tawny come running and barking to our side of the dam, while looking at him through the view finder of the camera, I thought he looked red, when he jumped onto a log about 30m in front of me I saw he was covered in blood, bleeding from a deep gash on his right, upper shoulder. A typical injury one male baboon would inflict on another, turning those fangs into weapons, resulting in vicious injuries.
Tawny Ripped Ripped
Tawny’s arrival was greeted with an escalating chorus of excited chattering from the troop, increasing in volume the closer he came.
After changing position I noticed the majority of the troop were all bolting off towards the house where they sleep, only when I caught up with them I noticed a body shape I didn’t recognize, a new male on the scene and a big guy at that. Grabbing my camera to record this new boy on the block I noticed he had deep gashes running along his jaw line, but was pretty relaxed with my presence.
I stayed with the now very excited troop until they climbed up into the fever trees for the night, Tawny and the new guy, (Darth Vader), were heard chasing each other off into the distance, leaving an audible trail for us to follow.
I joined the troop early the following morning just before they set off for the forage, which firstly took them through camp, to feast on the abundant supply of fruit on offer from the magic gwarri bushes.
Munch Munching
Once satiated the troop began to move towards the dam and the area where the skirmish between Darth Vader and Tawny had taken place. An air of apprehension seemed to drift through the troop, Tawny’s presence a definite void within the troop structure, and the baboons seemed to be as interested as I was to await the outcome of this battle for control of the troop. Once they moved out onto the clearing each was listening intently to the environment, scanning for any sound which may reveal the outcome of the tension the previous afternoon.
Listen Tank,Half,Jigga
Tankman, Halftail and Jigga hearing it first, loud, barking to the east echoed through the bush, sparking an instant and communal action from the troop, all of whom ran over the dam wall to the east, half tail trying to gain the best view by clambering up a dead tree on the edge of the water, all expecting to see the return of one or both warriors.
Troop Watch Halftail look
For a short time the sound of the battle seemed to be coming towards us but the conflicting duo moved quickly out of my hearing range. The rest of the troop climbed up into the large marula tree ahead of them where they spent the next forty minutes listening for any sound which may hold news of the battles outcome.
I left the troop moving back in the direction of the camp, confident I would find them later, anticipating which of the two large males would be with them.
They instead moved off the property for a day and half, only got a chance to have a quick look for them that afternoon but didn’t have any luck.
I was about to fall asleep last night when I heard the familiar bark of a baboons alarm call. I met up with them early this morning at their familiar sleeping trees, and had to wait a while before it was light enough to identify faces.
Tawny was there and now fully in control of the troop, his wounds looking good, with no hint of a limp, from his encounter.
King Tawny
Tankman is still clutching Jigga, and is no longer leading but is now a follower, it will be intriguing to see what strategy he chooses to secure himself a place in the hierarchy. For one, he does have a large chunk of feminine support, an important starting point.