My mother and I recently stayed at Thendele, one of the KZN Wildlife Resorts in the Drakensberg. Although there are signs everywhere asking guests not to feed the wildlife, it was quickly evident that this was happening.
The baboons were well aware that there was food to be had from the guests. I was caught unawares when an enormous baboon nonchalantly strolled up to me sitting in front of the open sliding-door to the cottage. I warily watched him walk around the corner and was relieved when he disappeared. Moments later he cunningly doubled back, rushed past me into the cottage, grabbed a bag of books and ran off. I chased him and found him sitting at the back of the cottage trying to eat a bird book! After some yelling and waving on my part, the baboon abandoned the book, jumped up on the roof and casually watched me while I retrieved the scattered books. It was a moment of high drama! The ripped book makes us laugh now, but the tragedy of the situation is not lost on us – when tourists feed the baboons, the baboons become a nuisance, eventually become dangerous and have to be shot.
The lesson here is to obey the rules.
Doing the right thing is incredibly important. It affects the future. Little choices that we make can have big consequences.