Why the baboons in Yankari Game Reserve Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’

Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’

When Pulse and select online journalists arrived the Yankari game reserve in Bauchi at 8pm on Tuesday, January 17, 2018, one of the staff at the facility took us through a few safety precautions.

“Always have your windows and doors locked while you are here”, he offered sternly. “If you don’t, you run the risk of baboons storming your room in search of food”.
As we tiptoed to our respective rooms in the dead of the night, the warning bell kept ringing in our ears. The very notion that baboons can attack you at this nature resort, enveloped us all with trepidation.
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
Tobi and AY wave the Yankari game reserve goodbye
 (Pulse)

Area boys

“In the mornings, the baboons roam the place”, the personnel had added. “They don’t attack you. But if you are clutching a nylon bag containing food, they could come for you. You become an easy target.
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
The baboons at the Yankari game reserve are called area boys
 (Pulse)

After dinner, a few of us peeled off to the warm spring and swam our fatigue away. “If you arrive the warm spring to swim during the day, the baboons could run away with your clothes. We call the baboons ‘Area Boys’”, the staff had also said.
All night, we held our breaths and prayed against baboons or some other wild animals attacking us. One of us even dreamt of baboons wandering into her room while everyone slept.
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
A trip through the Yankari forest
 (Pulse)

I recall locking my room door and windows six times before sleep called. My room was right on the edge of the forest, facing the wild Savannah vegetation where all kinds of animals are allowed to roam freely in their natural habitat.
When we asked the staff why the baboons at Yankari aren’t at least trained to behave better and not steal people’s food, he told us something along the lines of “the idea underpinning Yankari is not to disrupt the behavioral pattern of the animals in their natural habitat”.

Baboon attack

At dawn, I was late for breakfast. Each time I attempted to fling open the door to join the guys at the restaurant, there they were—the Area Boys from hell!
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
A congress of baboons in the foreground
 (Pulse)

Some had their young on their backs, some peered menacingly into my room from a meter out, ready to pounce. It was all I needed to slam the door shut again and again.
However, Chris Kehinde Nwandu wasn’t so lucky. The blogger was just stepping out of his room for breakfast, a bag of Kilishi (dried beef) in his grasp, when a baboon charged at him.
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
Chris was attacked by a congress of baboons
 (Pulse)

Nwandu’s bag of Kilishi was gone before you could say ‘Area Boys’.
Fatima also suffered a similar fate. A baboon forcibly took her Kilishi and bottle of soft drink from her, sat under a mangrove tree and gulped away.
Kelvin and his wife had brought birthday cakes into the Coaster bus as we prepared to depart Yankari. I had just been handed a fair share of the cake.
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
Chris waves the baboons goodbye after his Kilishi was yanked off him
 (Pulse)

Sat behind me was Kelvin’s wife. It was her birthday. She took the box of cake to excise her portion; the bus windshield ajar.
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
Lodging quarters at the Yankari game reserve
 (Pulse)

Out of nowhere, a baboon charged toward Kelvin’s wife and her cake through the window, scooped a generous portion as we all screamed and yelled. This was Jurassic Park all over again.
Wale was readying his fist for a punch when the baboon disembarked the bus with the same ferocity with which it had mounted.

Goodbye, animals

It was our last day at the Yankari game reserve after the guards had taken us on a tour of the forest where Antelopes, Crocodiles, Chimpanzees, Monkeys, Ducks, Dolphins, Zebras and Chipmunks wave from their natural habitat.
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
Animals watch from the forest at Yankari
 (Pulse)

It was my first time at Yankari. Years from now, if you ask me what my enduring memory of the reserve would be, the unruliness of the Area Boys will sure take the cake. Pun very much intended.
Why the baboons in Bauchi are called ‘Area Boys’play
An animal makes the jump at the Yankari game reserve
 (Pulse)

Guess who hid his Kilishi under his cap while dashing toward the bus on our last day?
Yeah, your MCM.

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