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Baboons Give Us A Sweeter Orange

Updated on May 25, 2011

The Baboon Orange

A troop of Baboons in South Africa have inadvertently given us a sweeter orange. Baboons along with many primates have a sweet tooth. They are also extremely knowledgeable at choosing fruit when it is at its best. Wild primates will range through their territories to pick and enjoy fruit at just the right time.

The orange growing estates belonging to ALG are situated some 200 kilometres north of Cape Town have been having trouble with Baboons for a number of years. There have been annual raids by Baboons on the orange groves.


It has taken time before workers realised that each year the baboons were not just going to any old tree in the orchard but the same tree out of the many thousands each and every time. All the trees appeared identical but the baboons knew different. This tree not only had the sweetest fruit but the oranges also ripened some three weeks earlier than on the other trees.

Investigation has suggested that this tree is an accidental mutation and if it had not been for the baboons this may never have been discovered. There is consideration being given to possibly naming this cultivar after their discoverers.

The farmers have already started grafting shoots from the tree to multiply the numbers.




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  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    It is interesting Hello, hello. We owe a lot to animals and now a sweeter orange too.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you, Peter, for such a fantastic story.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    tonymac04 - I am sure the baboons were in it for what they could get but at least this time we get something too. Thanks for reading.

  • tonymac04 profile image

    Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

    Clever creatures! This makes a pleasant change as these baboons are usually seen as enemies by the farmers. Good that they co-operate like this. I look forward to the fruits of that co-operation!

    Thanks for this interesting one which makes a change from the usual baboon story of what pests they are and how destructive they can be.

    Love and peace