The „nature’s unwanted little people” – „A természet nem kívánt kis emberei”

2015.04.02 13:56

Dearest Rita Miljo, the founder of the Center for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E.) at South Africa said this sentence about the (Chacma and usually) baboons (pavians, papio)... when I see the baboons in live or video, come to my mind this meaningful saying, that comes from a simply fact, the people does not know the baboons.

If we do not know anything, generally refuse that.


Source: Rita and an orphan infant baboon, C.A.R.E.


The German born Rita, who founded a sanctuary in South Africa to care for injured and abandoned, orphan baboons (from poachers, medical experiments etc.) and reintroduce them to the wild (more than 450 heads), died July 27 in 2012 in a fire at her home in the Phalaborwa district, about 250 miles of Johannesburg. She was 81 year-old. Her two baboons also died in the blaze. She had lived in South Africa since 1953, but she didn’t rescue her first baboon until 1980. She established C.A.R.E. in 1989 on a 50-acre parcel of land in a remote region near South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Her organization receives no support from any government and survives on donations. At C.A.R.E. live 6-700 baboons in general. They receive medical treatment and are blended into packs or troops of baboons of different ages. When they can manage on their own, the troops are reintroduced to the natural world.


Rita is “mum of the baboons”. Maybe she turned to these friendly small souls, because her husband, Lothar Simon and 17 year-old daughter were killed in the crash of a small air plane in 1972. A later marriage to Piet Miljo ended in divorce. The baboons were Rita's family.


Source: Rita and an orphan baby baboon, C.A.R.E.


Baboons, with their elongated, dog-like faces, do not have such obviously human features as other primates and were long considered pests in their native regions. When Rita started to work with baboons, it was unlawful in South Africa to rescue the animals or house them without a permit. Rita therefore called the baboons the “nature’s unwanted little people”. So founded a sanctuary for injured and orphaned baboons in South Africa, then returned the baboons to the wild.


The baboons are the largest monkeys after the Great Apes (Orangutan, Gorilla, Chimpanzee and Bonobo). Our common DNA with baboons is 91%. They are very clever and intelligent creatures, in the laboratory (behaviour and cognitive) tests their results are similar (equal) than Great Apes. Their communication and social culture is highly advanced, and expressly love other creatures, especially the humans (but also cats, dogs etc.). They are courageous, fast and seek the physical contact (grooming, hug, touch etc.).

A baboon able to fall asleep anywhere and in any position.

Lot of time they are on the move (as the mercury), but in their most time they are sitting and able to be in peace and quiet.

The baboons resent easily, they are vehement, passionate, but do not rancorous and never (!) vindictive creatures. (A baboon will attack from back never; and will not attack from a previous injury, conflict. The baboons have noble soul.)

Asked why she was drawn to care for baboons, Rita told Blumenthal in the “Post magazine” article, “Chimpanzees can be deceitful, just like humans, whereas baboons haven’t learned that yet.”


Source: orphan baby baboon alone at the rode,


The baboons’ rehabilitation includes close human contact. Rita often kept infant baboons near her bed at night for warmth and comfort. When the babies were indoors, they wore diapers with holes cut out to accommodate their tails (outdoor they are without diaper).


Source: Wild baboon troop, Dunkan Fawkes


Rita has an important sentence about conservation and natural status too that I absolutely share and think myself too: „Must we wait until a species is as endangered as the chimpanzee or mountain gorilla before we try to save them?”

Would be wise think about this...