This blog is an unusual one; it describes an internal awakening: I discovered a lost part of the self during my journey into the world of the Chacma Baboon, the Vervet Monkey and the natural environment we share.
The process of rehabilitation of related primates - at times - requires the rehabilitator to act as surrogate mother in order to be accepted into the troop and direct the process in the best way. Simultaneously, these wild primates need to understand the potential darkness in humans, ensuring they do not come to generalise about all humans, and assume they are all "safe". Baboons know people as individuals. A well adjusted baboon exposed to the lessons of life in the wild will learn to differentiate between those who are kind and those who are not.
It is important to understand the distinction between rehabilitating a primate and rehabilitating a species that is unrelated to humans (leopard for example) as our close relationship to other primates, and the access we have to communicating directly, is an aspect that cannot be ignored during this process.
"My mind’s forest had formed new paths, heading towards a profound new worldview. Near a small town called Naboomspruit in 1998 where I’d been introducing my foster baboon infant - Gismo - to a troop of 17 Chacma baboons on a private reserve named Mosdene, something internal had stirred and woken up. Admittedly, it was a personal journey. One that life had blessed me in particular with, but it spoke of much more, offering a unique glimpse into our place within the rest of nature. More importantly, it revealed what we’d lost and how to retrieve it."
Karin Saks - from the book: Life With Darwin.