The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingThe Olive Baboon - Issue Twenty-Six
The Fear of Monkeys
Get To Know

The Olive baboon: photo  courtesy of Yathin S KrishnappaThe Olive baboon is the most wide ranging of all baboons, being found in savannahs, steppes, and forests of 25 countries throughout Africa, extending from Mali eastward to Ethiopia and Tanzania. Omnivorous, they are able to find nutrition in almost any environment, and are able to adapt with different foraging tactics. They eat a large variety of plants (such as leaves, grass, roots, bark, flowers, fruit, lichens, tubers, seeds, mushrooms, corms, and rhizomes), and invertebrates and small mammals, as well as birds. In dry, arid regions, such as the northeastern deserts, they hunt small invertebrates like insects, spiders, and scorpions and elsewhere larger animals such as small rodents and hares to foxes and other primates. Its limit is usually small antelope, such as Thomson's gazelle and also, rarely, sheep, goats, and live chickens, which may amount to 33.5% of its food from hunting. In Eritrea, the olive baboon has formed a symbiotic relationship with that country's endangered elephant population. The baboons use the water holes dug by the elephants, while the elephants use the tree-top baboons as an early warning system. They live in groups of 15 to 150, made up of a few males, many females, and their young. Each baboon has a social ranking somewhere in the group, and female dominance is hereditary, with daughters having nearly the same rank as their mothers. Despite being hierarchical, baboons appear to be democratic when it comes to deciding the direction of collective movement. Individuals are more likely to follow when multiple decision-makers agree on what direction to go rather than simply following dominant individuals. The male olive baboon is on average, 70 cm tall while standing and 24 kg while the female measures 60 cm in height and averages 14.7 kg and they both have a green-grey coat. Like other baboons, they have an elongated, dog-like muzzle. Their tail almost looks as if it is broken, and they have a bare patch on their rump and a cheek pouch in which to store food. They communicate with various vocalizations and facial expressions. Adults give a range of calls and the most common facial expression of the olive baboon is "lipsmacking", which is associated with a number of behaviors. They are listed as least concern because they are "very widespread and abundant and although persecuted as a crop raider there are no major threats believed to be resulting in a range-wide population decline." Despite persecution, the baboon is still widespread and numerous. However, competition and disease have possibly led to fewer baboons in closed forests.


The Diary


Jeffrey Zable

I was running with the bulls when one of them lifted me up and threw me all the way to Palos de la Frontera in Castile, 1492, right onto the ship with Columbus at the helm as he was waving to the people on the shore. "What in God's name!" he said out loud to no one in particular, obviously irritated that I had interrupted his sendoff. "Don't do it!" I said as directly and as forcefully as I was able. "You are going to start something that will amount to the demise of millions of Native people!" "Put this son of a bitch in chains," he ordered and immediately two of his men took me below where I remained until we got to one of the islands off what would later become known as America. It was here that he told me I was now on my own and that he hoped to never see me again. As I walked away I had a diary with me that I had stolen and hidden in my underwear. I decided that I would tell the story and that hopefully my diary would somehow get back to civilization intact. Fortunately I was able to live with the Natives, but by the time I learned their language well enough to inform them of how bad it would get, it was already too late. Eventually I was captured along with other Natives and one of Columbus' men cut off my good arm as I wasn't able to find enough gold to his satisfaction. After that I bled to death before I was able to put this last incident down in my diary which I'm not sure was ever found by a civilized human being.

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in Serving House Journal, Sick Lit, Unscooped Bagel, Mocking Heart Review, Kairos, Dead King, Ink In Thirds, Tigershark, Drunken Llama, DogPlotz, Vending Machine Press, Third Wednesday, Bookends Review, The Vein, Revolution John, Futures Trading and many others.

All Content Copyright of Fear of Monkeys