An Unusual Guest

Author: Andrew van Ginkel

I will tell a story, something a bit unusual that happened, but I felt it was worth a sharing. I was at my house in the bush, not where I live, but where I go as often as I can. On the one visit there I took along a lot of people, more than I would normally take.

We all decided to go for a walk and one of the guests forgot to close one of the bathroom windows. So off we stroll and leave the house. Just before sunset, we returned back to the house to find a troop of baboons inside. When we opened the doors the baboons scattered off and we were faced with a trashed house. We took about an hour to tidy up and by this stage, it was getting dark. One of the guests decided to go upstairs and read her book in bed. She lay down and when she looked up she saw a baboon was right above her, hanging from the poles in the thatched roof. She ran down to call me and we tried to get the baboon to get out of the house. The baboon, however, did not want to leave because it was now dark and baboons are afraid of going out after dark. By now they are usually safe in a tree somewhere, settled in for the night.

So now we have a problem, so I call the rangers who work for the property and tell them there is a baboon stuck in the house. They come with a shotgun and say they will have to shoot the baboon because it is too dangerous and someone will get hurt. I am not happy with this idea, this is the baboons home, just as it is mine. It is a house on a reserve for, so essentially I am the visitor. I tell the ranger I will take full responsibility for the baboon and that he could perhaps spend the night. They thought I was a little crazy, but I insisted and off they went. I had come up with a plan, one where we could all coexist for one night. The house is divided into two main sections with a lounge in the centre, so I decided to give the baboon the entire eastern side of the house for the night and the rest of us would then all cram into the other half of the house. The baboon then slept the night and left early the next morning.

It was an interesting dilemma, I was in charge of my guests' safety, so the safer choice would have been the shooting, but I kept saying to myself I could never live with this decision, I simply could not kill an animal. This is perhaps why I am against the trophy hunters, I just can not understand how anyone feels they have the right to take another animals life.

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