Saturday, December 21, 2013


When I was a volunteer here in 2007, one of the baby baboons who slept with me was named Jacob. There were four in all, and some nights they all slept in my room with me and my roommates. Jacob had an interesting and sad beginning. Somebody thought it would be a good idea to have a baboon as a pet, but she wasn't willing to cut a hole in the diapers so his tail could come out. She had it amputated--so stupid because of course baboons use their tails for a lot of things--like balance. Well, after a few weeks, she got tired of him so she gave him to Harnas. He was always a crazy boy--jumping around while everyone else was trying to sleep. Very naughty but lovable. He's in this picture--the one in the back sitting by my right shoulder.

So now Jacob is 7 years old but still very naughty. The other day I was walking by the completely enclosed cage--about the size of a living room but still completely enclosed (I call it the prison) and there was Jacob, sitting by himself and looking sad. Apparently he keeps escaping his enclosure and getting into trouble--stealing things, attacking tourists, breaking into things--you know, the usual baboon behavior. So they had to put him in the prison while they built a more secure enclosure with higher electricity to keep him from breaking out. The enclosure is almost finished and he'll go out there in the next few days, but meanwhile, I go to see him every day. I sit down outside his cage and he puts his arm through the bars and we hold hands for a little bit. Then I give him some peanuts to eat. Finally, he turns his back to me and presses it against the bars so I can groom him. I scratch for awhile and he's happy. I'm not saying he remembers me or anything. I'm just saying he seems to like bonding with me.

Here's a fabulous photo that Cornelia Achtel took. There are 6 baby kitties near the office where this stuffed lion sits. Obviously the kitty can't read. I asked her to use the photo since  it's priceless. Fierce.

A quick update on Tyson, the baby cheetah. This morning when I went in to see him, instead of hissing, he chirped when he saw me! Everything inside just melted. Mom and baby cheetahs chirp to each other to find each other and connect. He thinks of me as his mum! I'm overwhelmed.


  1. Oh Barb! You aren't coming back, are you? That little cheetah! So envious, yet thankful you are there to take care of those who need you.

  2. I'm so happy to hear that Tyson is warming up so well! He is such a cutie! I'm also glad to hear about Jacob! Still up to his crazy games. When I was there in May 2012 I met him in "jail" and watched him escape. Also went face to face with him over muffins in the lapa. Love hearing your stories!!

  3. So many stories in this post! Love it!