It is Thursday afternoon and at that time I am giving a Duiker a Ttouch treatment while using essential oils. Although unique on itself, I received a call which has put me in, untill so far one of the most strangest situations ever in my life. Read the first part of some of my diary notes concerning this strange event.
It seems that a baboon is walking in town, causing unrest. I leave the Duiker and run on my flip flops to the clinic to see what the plan is. One of our guards at that point sees a baboon running through the fields next to our centre. When I go there with some colleagues to see what is happening, we see a big baboon running in full speed through the crops. People who are working in the field start to panic and they start running as well. I am thinking, this is not good. A baboon will respond to this and will follow you and even display aggressive behaviour. I am getting concerned. We quickly make up a plan and call our veterinarian who fortunately is still on site. She is able to dart the animal to anesthetize this baboon so we can capture him before he and people get into serious problems. We open our gate and start running after the baboon, the vet has the dart-gun in one hand and I am somehow still wearing my flip-flops and I am carrying an umbrella and a big cloth for my own protection. We carefully follow the animal and he decides to run towards houses and a local hospital. More colleagues are able to help us with keeping track of the animal.
He is an adult male and he runs fast, somehow I am able to keep up with him on my bloody flip-flops. (Havaiana´s, you are the best!). The baboon does not seem to care at all that we are keeping an eye on him and that I am following him all the time. He is only interested in screaming and running people. The baboon seems to be entertaining himself, by chasing some people away and then decides to sit for a while observing all those people that are gathered around him. The whole panicking people situation is of course not helping at all in order to keep the baboon calm and dart him. The vet tries to dart him when he is sitting down, but she misses him and the baboon starts to run again. When he jumps over a wall like it is nothing I am thinking how the hell I am going to do this. Before I know it I am standing on the other side and I am rubbing over my hands and legs realizing that I feel dirt on it. I see the scrapes, but don’t feel anyway…the adrenaline has kicked in.
I am standing again on this hospital compound and people try to interfere with the situation. Crowd control is very difficult especially while you are trying to keep track of a baboon. I can say whatever I want, that it is a dangerous situation, to leave the animal alone when they are trying to beat him with a stick or throw stones, they do not listen. I shake my head and keep running. It is starting to get dark and time is now becoming our biggest enemy. The vet gets a clean shot and I am ready to run again. She hits him and he runs off, fast, too fast. I try to keep up, but he is winning and the darkness is not helping me. In the distance I see a shade and it is impossible for me to see where he is going. I lost him….
We keep searching for him, however with no luck. Useless too look further in the complete darkness, we call it a day. In the rain we walk back and I look down at my feet, hmmm they look great. I start to think about this coming night, it will be a short one.
To be continued…