Saturday, October 11, 2014

Baboons at Heet Escarpment near Ar Riyadh

              It is Eid Al-Adha in the Kingdom.  Eid (solemn festival) al-Adha (feast of sacrifice) is an Islamic festival to celebrate the willingness of Abraham to follow Allah's command to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to Allah, before Allah intervened to provide him with a ram to sacrifice instead. During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel or goat. 

 Due to the Muslim holiday, we were off from work for a week, so some of us got together to go feed the baboons on the Heet Escarpment near Ar Riyadh. We brought bananas (of course!) and some fruits and Doritos! The Hamadryas Baboons, native to the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, live in the canyons and within the folds of the cliffs. The ride was about 20 minutes by highway but the trek up was rough and hilly but well worth the experience.  
             Once we opened the food and start throwing some of it over the cliff to get the primates' attention, it did not take the baboon family very long, with the male dominant in the lead, to discover that there was free food to be devoured. Within a short while we were literally surrounded by at least 20-30 baboons of all sizes! I was a bit apprehensive to move away from the vehicle to get some photos but soon realized that the hungry pack was paying more attention to their dinner that its spectators. Some of the males were horsing around and fighting each other for food while the baby baboons either played or held on tightly to their mamas. But for the most part, the baboons just ate quietly and when there wasn’t any more food, they just hung out until we departed their habitat.

            Another great outing in the Kingdom but remember safety first in your speed while climbing the terrain and use your vehicle as a barrier between your group and the baboons. 

 All the best,


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