We have lost four baboon infants to road accidents along the R44 since October.
A fifth infant was also recently badly injured in an accident, but has made a full recovery.
In addition to the four deceased, a fifth passed away of natural causes less than 24 hours after birth.
With only nine adult females in the Rooiels troop, this is a high infant mortality rate. The troop is currently at a total of 23 individuals, which is 12 fewer than recorded in 2011. On a positive note, four adult females are currently pregnant, so there will soon be new babies in the troop.
Cliff, the alpha male baboon, now has a GPS collar in place. The collar collects data at scheduled intervals and will provide information on the troop's movements around town, sleeping sites and home range. The collar is very light and poses no known risk to his health or general well-being. His collar will be removed at the end of the data collection period. I look forward to sharing all this new information at a future community meeting!
The baboons are also loving the new foraging opportunities post-fire. Between the seed banks, accessible underground roots and new fresh shoots, they are finding plenty to eat. I am attaching a photo of two females above the valley (comforting each other) two days after the fire and a photo of two females delighting in the new growth in the river valley, just the other day. And some photos of vuurpyl/hot pokers pointed out to me by Dine van Zyl along the R44 towards Pringle Bay.
Photos and anecdotes from Rooielsers
Please share the beauty