Mother and Baby Baboons

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 86, Summer 2008.
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Dorothy had been excited about showing me the baboons at Cape Point on our venue-checking trip to Cape Town, South Africa, for a possible conference.

We had a lovely trip to the point, sightseeing and buying trinkets along the way. We got to the Cape Point parking lot and parked the car. As I was putting my bag of trinkets in the “boot,” a mama baboon came up and grabbed my bag, tore it and got part of it. I kept the goodies. We laughed and the mama jumped onto a red car. I enjoyed taking several more photos to share with you in the magazine.

We had a lovely walk up to the lighthouse and saw beautiful views. The whole area around Cape Town is stunning. I hope we are able to do a conference there so you can see it in person! We also had one of the nicest meals of my life, with seven kinds of seafood and curry. We happily headed to the car after our lovely sojourn. And yes, some baboons were being chased out of the restaurant. Oh, and a bird stole calamari right out of my hand at the restaurant.

We got to the parking lot with Dorothy carrying our leftovers in a white Styrofoam carton. The baboons were nowhere to be seen. Then from far down the parking lot came the mother—running at high speed with the baby firmly attached to her back. She went right for Dorothy’s carton and spilled rice and shrimp. The baby jumped off her back and the two of them ate the rice. They apparently don’t like shrimp. The baby then jumped back on mom and off they went looking for another victim.

They found the next victim quickly: it was a woman with drinks in a white plastic bag. The mama wrestled the bag quickly out of the shocked woman’s grip. The baboon got an orange drink out, bit a hole in it and began sucking the juice, most of which spilled to the ground. The baby jumped off her back and drank the juice off of the ground. When mama had sucked all she could, she threw down the almost empty bottle and began to suck the rest off the ground with her baby (see picture). When they were done with that, the baby jumped back onto her perch on mama’s back and off they went. We had many rich and delightful experiences but this was the funniest.

We also stopped at a penguin colony on the way back from the cape. Dorothy said after many trips to the cape this is the first time she had seen a mother baboon with her baby. This was delightful for midwives!

Each one teach one.

About Author: Jan Tritten

Jan Tritten is the founder, editor, and mother of Midwifery Today magazine and conferences. Her love for and study of midwifery sprang from the beautiful homebirth of her second daughter—after a disappointing, medicalized first birth in the hospital. After giving birth at home, she kept studying birth books because, “she thought there was something more here.” She became a homebirth midwife in 1977 and continued helping moms who wanted a better birth experience. Jan started Midwifery Today in 1986 to spread the good word about midwifery care, using her experience to guide editorial and conferences. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies in the United States and around the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world!

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