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Monkeying Around

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

Weekly Wilderness Webinar 7


We had an animated discussion while watching baboons operate individually and as a pack in interaction with a flock of flamingoes, a pack of wild dogs, a lion, and a leopard.


There were two different perceptions of a single, large, male, adult baboon bursting into a flurry of flamingoes to find food.

Some of us admired his wholehearted focus amidst the flurry of flapping pink-tinged wings, to find a tasty, long-legged snack. We also commented that often in life we are amidst a flurry of activity juggling many 'balls' and we need to stay focused 'to go in for the kill'.

This activity of the baboon amongst the flamingoes reminded me of how the goalie must feel in a soccer match sometimes, all his players swirling around in front of him, and he could be at a disadvantage to save a goal. Carol's comment was that in a soccer match the ball can come from anywhere, and the goalie, like the baboon needed to be flexible and adaptable.

Others in the group discussion felt the baboon was opportunistic and if he went into a situation with many 'flying' opportunities, he was likely to 'ground' at least one. The life insight from this is that if we do not know a clear target market for the product we are trying to sell, or the service we are offering we will have to make sure we offer the opportunity to many.

Michael brought to our attention that the baboon went in for the kill despite the fact baboons do not normally like water. The life insight gained there is that sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone to reach the opportunity just ahead of us.


The second scene was one of brinkmanship (a new word I learnt in this discussion, introduced by Claire) between a troop of baboons and a pack of wild dogs as they sized each other up. I was intrigued that the troop of baboons left most of the interaction to their lead male, who at one point showed his pious attitude by letting out a big yawn as if the opposition was nothing to worry about. The wild dogs seemed to operate more as a pack, and were more strategic.

The group felt the two opposition 'teams' were sizing each other up to see who would be perceived to be more fearful. The first to show fear would be the loser. In competition our advantage is our courage, despite the resources or advantages, we may appear to possess. I have even seen a small fox terrier take on a big bull elephant - size was nothing.

Josh, a young man in his late teens added the insight that sometimes this is how it can feel between parents and children as teens are testing boundaries to 'take more space'. In his own life, he was exploring leaving his parents home to find his own apartment.

Claire and Carol felt the troop was leaving the dominant male to deal with the pending wild dog threat because they trusted his assessment of the situation and his ability to manage any attack. However, the baboon support team were hypervigilant.


A lion chased a baboon up a tree. He reached his weight as to how high he could climb because of his bulk, and the baboon stayed just out of reach on the extremity of the branch.

The group commented that the baboon positioned himself well in defence, but was immobilized. The life insight was that sometimes when you are in a stalemate situation in a personal relationship or competitive work situation, it is important to 'hang tight' and 'ride the storm'.


The final scene we had the privilege of observing was of a thirsty leopard who wanted to get to the river to drink. However a mob of baboons made this impossible.,

The life insights from this scene were obvious:

+ There is strength in numbers

+ Know when to cut your losses and back off.

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