Our partners at Carnivore Research Malawi in Kasungu National Park have been camera trapping for carnivores recently, but camera traps often find other wildlife too.
I was overjoyed when CRM’s senior researcher, Rob, told me he captured photos of baboons close to the 2015 release site.
At first, he sent me photos of the photos on his computer, and I was already rejoicing that one looked like one of the released baboons. A few days later he was able to email them all to me, and it turns out he got 3 baboons on his cameras!
I was smiling ear to ear as I looked through them. I’m pretty familiar with recognizing individual baboons and could immediately recognize two of the individuals. I did however spend a good few hours looking through old photos for comparison to confirm.
Two are definitely Bruiser and Brian, and then the third youngest baboon in the photo set gave me pause, as she did not look familiar. However, my best guess is that she’s the infant I released, Tosca, who is all grown up now! Check out the pictures to see if you agree!
It is really something special and heartwarming to see pictures of these baboons again. After spending a year putting in blood, sweat, and tears with them to get them back into the wild, it was very difficult to then have to leave them on their own, as I had to go work on the next release. There’s nothing you can do but wish them luck!
It truly made my day to see pictures of them still surviving and thriving in the wild. It’s like seeing long-lost friends. Long-term post-release sightings are also valuable research on the survivability of released primate troops and prove that our methods work successfully.