A Baboon Snatches a Newborn Impala

Sep 8 2016
This is a true example of the unexpected nature of the bush!  Ryan Brislin, specialist guide and wildlife photographer was on the prowl seeking out a leopard and kill from ealier in the day, while working at Old Mondoro Camp in Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park. However, it is not the sighting he was presented with! Instead, he found a huge male baboon crouching over an impala lamb. 
Although impala lambs easily fall prey to baboons, it is interesting that baboon troops and impala herds are naturally drawn to each other for safety reasons. It is seldom to see them far apart. For most of the year they rely on each other’s eyes and ears to keep guard against predators. And since they don't compete for food they enjoy a symbiotic relationship. 
Impala are combination feeders in that they both browse on shrubbery and graze flat terrain grass. Acacia pods and fruit is also consumed when available. Therefore impalas assist baboons by stirring up insects and bugs while grazing. This makes it significantly easier for the baboons who are opportunistic omnivorores to catch their meals. 
However during the lambing season (usually towards the end of the year) this symbiotic relationship becomes a mammoth threat to impala herds. Ryan says, 'This particular baboon was being harassed by the other big males in the troop! He quickly escaped up the tree!'
'But no sooner was he up, and he was duly chased back down again.' It was the middle of the day and Ryan wasn't specifically seeking out a photographic opportunity, but nature presented itself. He says, 'It all happened very quickly and as I was driving I didn't get myself into the best position to photograph. Guests always come first!'


Due to impalas being one of the most common animals found in the wild, it is not just baboons that the lambs fall prey to, but other larger opportunistic carnivores as well. The young even fall prey to pythons. Therefore these antelope are on constant alert. Should one of them spot danger, they generally snort an alarm and the entire herd will scatter. 
To also experience similar wildlife sightings download the Latest Sightings app (iPhone / iPad or Android), which offers visitors to game parks real time sighting alerts via other visitors' tings and Lodges' Sightings Boards. 
Photography and commentary by Ryan Brislin 

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