Baboon tragedy

WARNING: Some pictures may be disturbing.

Walking through the extensive gardens of the Victoria Falls Hotel at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe I was enjoying the visit when a group of baboons called my attention as there was something odd going on. I approached as close as I could and watched.

The primates were following one of the individuals that was carrying an object that, at first I could not identify as the animal was rather restless. I then noticed that it was a female showing the vivid red rear end that usually indicated that is on heat. That explained the followers but not her cargo.

After spending time following the animals I saw that she was carrying her dead baby that, by then, had dried and looked like a strip of dried hide. I had observed this kind of behaviour before years back in Kenya.

Most of the time the female would carry the dead offspring with her mouth as this allowed her almost to run and climb.

As the final pictures show, carrying her baby did not stop the female to accept mating with one of the members of the troop.

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Baboons wasted no time in “compensating” for the loss!

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