Sitting on a rock, looking at the world he sees, it is his kingdom, he rules supreme over all. He is the King and ruler of his people. The baboon male weighs in at almost a hundred pounds of muscle and pure brute power. The canine of a baboon exceed those of the lion’s canine in length and size. If a baboon was cornered, he will take on anything, even a leopard - the nemeses of the baboon - is not safe. |
The rain has stayed its gift for a long time and the going is tough. Every morsel of food has to be looked for, nothing is free any more, even the insects, such as locusts are scarce as the plant life is down to the hardy ones. To find a treasure every rock has to be turned, a scorpion or worm is the prize.
During drought, there may be no new young from any animal. Even antelope, like the kudu - almost as big as cattle, is not safe. The troop of baboons will eat anything they can catch, and the young cannot outrun a grown baboon.
The contract being done was in the bush-veld, where the base of a slimes dam for the fluorspar mine’s plant was being laid out. It meant clearing all grass and trees, heavy machinery mainly bulldozers and front-end loaders were used. Then the drainage system and the inner control system to add, there were settling dams and outer walls as well.
The area dotted by hills, more mountain than hill, still, they were hills. These hills then mined away as the main rock was fluorspar, and that was the treasure.
The wildlife here was mainly antelope, warthog, small cat species such as serval and caracal, vervet monkeys, and baboons. Many more species were around in this semi tropical, yet dry bush-veld.
One afternoon, just after five o’clock, I left the road camp to go home as the seniors lived in the caravan park. I saw the troop of baboons up in the hill opposite the road camp as was usual this time of day.
The next morning the people who live at the road-camp told the story.
Hardly had I left, when they heard the baboons start to bark excitedly. In plain sight they saw the warthog boar, his sow, and young piglets, wander into the baboon area.
The baboons started to attack the warthog group with short sorties, trying to grab the young piglets. The boar and sow did their best to defend, as they were no push over in a tight corner, only, they were outnumbered. The battle lasted about half an hour.
The boar for days around the road-camp, called to his sow and little ones. Then he went quiet and we never saw him again.
How many baboon did not make it was never found out, although they said that many went flying through the air during the battle. Those tusks are deadly weapons, sharp as blades, as I can vouch for, having had my fingers cut open by a captive sow once.
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