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Online debate sparked by Embu family feeding baboons.

A photo circulating on social media, depicting a family feeding baboons in Embu, has triggered discussions regarding the safety and implications of human-wildlife interactions.


In the undated photo shared by wildlife conservationist Dr. Paula Kahumbu, a family of five – mother, father and three children – is seen feeding at least four baboons after parking their vehicle along the roadside to have a little fun with the jumpy primates.


As the man is seen scattering what appears to be seeds, the baboons quickly dive in for a bite. Seconds later, one smaller baboon appears to get a little too excited and starts to harass one of the little girls in the family group.


As she squirms and screams, the bigger baboon, who appears to be the head of the family unit, quickly moves in to restrain the peskier one from causing any harm to the horrified girl.


As the two baboons come to blows, the family of five quickly rounds up at one corner of their car as the screams – coupled with muffled laughter – continue.A little confusion now ensues as the teams – baboons and humans – all seem to oscillate towards each other in a mission that could have easily gone awfully bad.


Alarmed by the risky interaction, Dr. Kahumbu said on X (formerly Twitter), “Crazy Kenyans near Embu – starting the new year with trauma, stitches, scars & shame!”


More Kenyans also commented on the obvious risk the parents were exposing themselves and their little children to, given that baboons have been known to violently attack women in various parts of the country.


One X user said, “This is very dangerous for the kids. I can see 2 adult parents being careless and irresponsible. These baboons are known for groping women and leaving permanent scars on them. There’s YouTube documentaries about this from India to Bangladesh!”


Another user @kamotho_waithaka said, “Things could turn sideways in a great hurry with a lot of regrets. This us not only ignorant but plain out stupid.”


User @calypso captured it best when he said, “For a country that’s taught about animals from nursery, we’re awfully ignorant about them. A baboon’s bite force is greater than an average household dog’s bite!”


Several studies have shown that baboons exhibit extreme behavioural shifts and can stage fatal attacks at anyone and anything.


In South Africa, they tore apart a leopard and in Saudi Arabia, they bloodily injured a man after breaking into his property and attacking him in the western Saudi Arabian city of al-Baha.


Article By Suzy Nyongesa.


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