Baboons Give Us A Sweeter Orange
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.