2 June 2011
New rescues at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre - Malawi
After successfully completing their 30 days of quarantine our newest troop of six olive baboons were released into their new enclosure. All the baboons were rescued individually from circuses and private traders in Europe and were brought together by the Dutch animal charity, AAP, and were flown over from Holland in April.
Toucan and Cira were the most brave and inquisitive of the olives to come out first, but it took over an hour before they all dared to leave what had been their home for the last month. In fact, to move on from the place where they have been safe and well fed was a big step for these baboons, many of whom had been abused whilst in captivity in the past and therefore especially nervous of leaving their comfort zone.
Bento, the alpha male of the troop, was quick to lead the full inspection. They walked all together in a line staying close to each other to patrol the whole perimeter. In the centre of the enclosure there is a mound which Bento has claimed as his own. He likes to sit on top of it as if he is overseeing his kingdom from his throne!
Since all six baboons have spent their whole lives in captivity they can never be released back into the wild because they would be unable to fend entirely for themselves, being too habituated to humans and not used to dealing with predators or wild foraging for food. But to make it back to their homeland of Africa is a dream come true for both the individuals themselves as well as the team who have spent years working towards their repatriation. The baboons can now spend their days together with the highest standards of care in the largest possible enclosure for the rest of their lives.
From top to bottom: Bento hanging out with lead female, Jacha; the troop patrol the fence together,