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Baby Bliss

This little chacma baboon juvenile loves to help play mother to this adorable pink-face male. This tiny pink-faced male is just a few weeks old, but already he is exploring the world under the close watch of his mother, father, aunts and delightful shielding friends like this pretty little girl. Pink-faces get their name from the colour phase of which they are in - until 2-4 months old the infant chacmas have black hair and very pink skin. At a few months old (dependable on stress and nutrition) they will begin to change colour like the little golden juvenile.

It is incredible to see how quickly the tiny baboons develop and every day they learn more about who they are, who their friends are, their place in the hierarchy and appropriate behavioural responses to the actions of their fellow baboons. These two baboons are wild and living free with their group. The wild troop, affectionately referred to as ‘the Longtits’, named decades ago by the founder of C.A.R.E., Rita Miljo, inhabits C.A.R.E. and roams at liberty.

The presence of these wild baboons adds an incredible dynamic to the centre and keeps the captive baboons more than entertained. Additional to the stimulation they provide, they also teach the cheeky chacmas much more than any human rehabilitator could teach them in terms of vocalisations! If a hippo or crocodile is spotted at the river the whole centre knows about it as a wild baboon will make a loud, sharp 'warning call'. Warning calls are how the baboons will communicate a threat to their fellow troop members, helping to ensure that the predator/threat is avoided. It is really an awe-inspiring experience to hear the warning-calls echoing across the centre in a ‘Mexican Wave’. Good to know the baboons care about the safety of their friends and allies.

Watching these two friends grow and develop is just incredible. We are very blessed to witness this!

- Author of post and photo by Samantha Dewhirst

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