This story, by Peggy Rhynes, is featured in our book, Beast or Blessing.
For three years I used to watch the baboons of George’s troop visiting our garden at the campsite in Glencairn, and one baboon, Noskethi, caught my attention. He used to come and just sit for hours, watching my three wild cats living under a bush. Never harming them, just lying in the sun.
One day I heard a strange noise by my back door and found Noskethi sitting looking at me, covered in blood. His eyes seemed to be pleading, “please help me, I trust you.”
I contacted Jenni, and while waiting for her to arrive I spoke soothingly to him. That day our bond started. After his treatment at the vet, he made his way back to my house, where he stayed on and off for about 3 months.
Those were times I will never forget. I had an old couch on my stoep that he used as a bed – he would lie on it just like a human would. He would watch me and my husband have tea in the morning at our stoep table and next thing he was sitting just like us, eating some nuts in his dish. Whenever my husband left his hammer on the table, Noskethi would place his hand over it and wait til Paul fetched it.
He used to walk with Paul to work and then lie on the field under the trees watching Paul. At night he would climb into a tree outside our bedroom window, although it caused him a lot of pain because of his injuries. When I did my housework, he used to sit and watch me through my security gate. He never tried to damage anything on my property.
He was always a real gentleman. He used to jump over my garden gate until I showed him it could open, and from then on he opened it. Whenever I looked into his beautiful brown eyes, I felt such a love for him, and will forever cherish the love, trust and friendship he offered me. I respect baboons and on their behalf I would like to ask people to do their share to prevent them also becoming extinct.
Can you imagine a world without animals? We are encroaching on their territory, the mountains – they were there first!
A number of other residents enjoyed beautiful encounters with Noskethi, before he was shot in the back while passing through a Fish Hoek property in 2013. The culprit was prosecuted but the penalty amounted to no more than a slap on the wrist.