“Baboons have been living in the mountainous Cape Peninsula of South Africa for far longer than the area has been a human habitat. The long and high mountain ridge that defines and edges the present city used to be a good place for them,” reports The Architectural Review.
But over the last century or so, the increasing presence of humans in the city has forced these incredible mammals to adapt, largely due to a loss of habitat. A study conducted by UCT’s Matthew Lewis provides some insight.
The dominant vegetation type on the Cape Peninsula is an oligotrophic shrub land (think fynbos) that supports low numbers of medium-sized and large terrestrial mammals. Of these, only the adaptable and dextrous chacma baboon has learnt to supplement its diet with protein-rich foods from the marine intertidal zone.
Local photographer Benjamin Pearce spotted a troop foraging in Rooiels and the shots are stunning. Pearce manages to capture the brute force of these baboons, and at the same time, their playfulness and ‘family’ dynamic.
Baboons are wild animals and should not be disturbed. Photograph from a safe distance. Do not feed or antagonise them.
Take a look:
Picture: Benjamin Pearce