Baboon Lament (below) by Ian McCallum from his `Untamed’ collection of poems is awilliam baboon by Dr T Newman lighthearted but perceptive look at raiding from a baboon’s perspective.  Sadly there is little that is lighthearted about the plight of the Cape Peninsula baboons.  The authorities are planning to put down Force and Merlin two dominant males from the Smitswinkel baboon troop. This is in line with the Baboon Protocol and a recommendation made to CapeNature by the Baboon Conservation Authority.

Apparently Force and Merlin are notorious for raiding cars and stealing food from motorists and tourists. They also habitually raid the Black Marlin Restaurant and Miller’s Point caravan park.  In spite of a public outcry, a stay of execution is unlikely in the light of City of Cape Town vet Elzette Jordan’s findings that the two baboons have become dangerous enough to justify their being put down.  The authorities may`pull the trigger’ on baboons such as Force and Merlin, but it is the behaviour of problem humans who refuse to secure their properties and in some cases actively feed baboons that signs their death warrants.  It does not take a magician to work out that without assertive action against human offenders the authorities will repeatedly be forced to `put down’ habituated baboons.  Click here for a checklist of actions to ensure that your property is not attractive to baboons and for info about baboon proof bins.

Baboon Lament

I think

I need to get out of here.

Why do humans have to live

in a world of locks and keys,

High gates, fences,

electric beams,

armed officers …panic

buttons everywhere

unable to share

a bowl of bananas?

Why do they have to be

so guarded…so protective

of the hunger

they are hoarding

in the scullery,

the pantry,

the living room

the bedroom…

ah …the bedroom –

nothing to eat in there …

the cupboards are bare

and the bathroom?

even the loos are locked

for no private reason

too, would you believe?

These days

you need a password

for the door …

the front door, that is…

where the hairy mat says


and from where

I can see the security

man approaching….armed

alarmed – WAHOO!

I better get out of here.

For a copy of the Untamed collection of Poems by Ian McCallum click here to email Ian

KimK  June 2012