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Written by: Hadley Pierce

 11 October, 2016 

Baboons are not typically known for their love of the water. When they are forced to enter the water, normally because a body of water has recently obstructed their pathway to food or shelter, they typically move slowly, trying to stay as dry as possible and avoiding getting their hands wet.

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Like many other animals in the bush, baboons are wary of wading into water because of the prospect of what else is moving in the water, in addition to other reasons. In South Luangwa, a national park named after the Luangwa River, it is not uncommon to see pods of 40+ hippos and crocodiles up to three metres in length in the river and basking on the banks.

However, as the temperatures in the valley start to climb, the baboons seem to be testing their luck for a chance to cool down.

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These baboons recently took to the water, launching themselves one by one into the river. Some ran up to the bank preparing for flight, only to chicken out and skid to a halt kicking up sand as they slowed to a stop.

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One female waded in slowly, walking confidently into the deeper sections with an infant clinging to her belly. It only took one dunking under water for the little one to decide it was time to swing up onto a dry spot on its mother’s back.

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With no predators in sight, and no alarm calls being sounded, it appeared that the baboons were jumping into the river purely for the fun of it or in an attempt to cool down. Perhaps a little bit of both!