There's something quite extraordinary about coming around the bend along a valley in Tanzania and discovering a family of Savannah Baboons, quietly going about their business.
And then we saw the mother, little one hanging on underneath, on the hunt for something to eat. In fact, the entire troop looked quite focused on finding their supper.
These are the largest of the baboons, their faces entirely black, and the females (if they are pregnant or nursing) are the only ones with the scarlet rumps. Apparently, who the female baboon may partner with will depend on the male baboon's social standing. Makes me wonder what 'baboonish' criteria the male must meet to mate!
From the point of view of the baboons, we traveling tourists were invisible. No threat and no food to offer. I read somewhere that baboon meat is very tasty, and that at times, these animals are at high risk. But they seemed a gentle family troop, living close to the ground and constantly on the forage. Apparently they are omnivorous, meaning they'll eat pretty much anything if they're hungry enough, including other monkeys (the smaller vervet), fish, and even farmers' goats.
But these pictures show a strong sense of family . . . at least as we passed by!