Baboon Woman, Karin Saks helps protect wildlife in Africa, baboons and vervet monkeys, primates.
While most of us enjoy a comfortable home, drive a nice car, watch television, stay current on the newest electronic wonders, the hottest music bands and what celebrities are wearing, Karin spends her days fighting for the welfare of the vervet monkey and baboons.
Some may consider Karin eccentric. After all, she lives in a humble home tucked away in the forest surrounded by monkeys. For many children this may sound absolutely idyllic… I know it would have for my son who loved monkeys as a young boy.
Karen has been a voice for our furred “cousins” the vervet monkey and baboon for almost two decades. Like most parents she kind of learned on the job as she fostered Darwin whose mother was shot and killed. If you’ve not read the book, “Life With Darwin” by photojournalist Fransje van Riel it is both delightful and heart wrenching.
Today after rescuing and rehabilitating countless baboons and vervet monkeys Karin is truly these primates heroine. So many times it would have been easier to give up, to throw in the towel and no one would have faulted her. At one point Karin and her helper were outwitted by the local baboon troops new alpha male. They were fiercely protecting two young orphaned baboons until they were old enough to hold their own. Sadly just like watching a toddler one second out of your sight might mean disaster. Karin was out her helper turned her back for a minute and the male entered the cabin thru a window and killed the youngsters.
Deeply saddened Karin placed no blame. The new alpha was doing what new alpha males of many species do… eliminate offspring that aren’t genetically his. She didn’t blame her helper, she did the best she could.
Due to circumstances beyond her control Karin was forced to move from the sanctuary she’d created for her monkeys. Did she stop then? No, she found a new haven (the one we were fortunate enough to visit) and started all over again.
Her objective in this new location was to focus on teaching others everything she’d learned about the baboons and vervets and how we as the furless primate can co-exist quite peaceably. However, it was only a matter of time when her reputation as Baboon Woman (the name of the documentary film made of Karin) caught up with her and she was called out to rescue the injured or orphaned monkeys again. Such as Joseph who had a poacher’s snare cutting into his neck.