Baby Baboon Love

I feel in love on my first day of work in Malawi. It was love at first sight just like in the movies. With just one glance I knew I would always love Betty—a 3 month old orphaned  baboon at the animal center.

Betty's Beauty Shot

Betty’s Beauty Shot


On my second day of work I offered to feed Betty, not believing that the other volunteers  weren’t  lined up begging for the task. I watched Henry, one of the animal carers, prepare her special diet: hot water, powdered milk and a banana, all mashed together, then placed on a small, plastic green plate. The meals I prepare are usually a little more complicated, so I assured Henry I could handle the multiple feedings, adding a chopped boiled egg once a day for protein.

Betty at Breakfast

Betty at Breakfast

Unfortunately Betty had a traumatic youth (if you can say that about someone 3 months old). Her mother was killed for bush meat and she was taken to be sold in the illegal animal trade. Luckily, she was saved somewhere along the way and brought to the animal center when she was about  a month old. At that age baboons have to be hand raised or they will die, so Betty lived with a local woman where she was looked after 24 hrs. a day.

Play time


When I arrived at the center Betty had just been placed with a surrogate baboon mother, Ida, who took her job seriously reaching for the baby, but Betty wasn’t interested. She still thought she was human and didn’t like a big baboon in her enclosure. I’m entering the picture at this difficult transitional phase.

I think Betty also experienced our great bond. When I fed her for the first time  she nestled herself into my lap and went to sleep, wiping her dirty, little banana mouth all over my pants before dozing off. Henry said she had never done this with anyone before.

A very tired baboon

A very tired baby baboon

ps—Betty will eventually grow into her Dr. Spock ears.

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3 Responses to “Baby Baboon Love”

  1. Cheryl Cavanagh Says:

    OMG! How cute! How will you ever leave that cute little baby?

  2. Lee Virgilio Says:

    Baboon love is best….hugs….Tia Lee

  3. francoise Says:

    Hi Kris. How wonderful!

    I love Betty too. AWWWWWWW.

    wish i was there!


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