Barbara was kind enough to share this video Docu-Baboonery yesterday.
Baboons vs. Lion Cubs. No Contest.
If you haven’t got the time or technology to watch the video, it’s a pretty simple story.
Young lions will try to eat anything. Baboons are tempting targets, but they are much better climbers than lions, and holding the higher ground gives warriors of all kinds a distinct advantage, whether your weapon is bombs, sticks or urine.
What interests me as much as the cross-species showdown is the editing and storytelling techniques on display. I don’t doubt that one day a lion chased a baboon up a tree and someone recorded it on video, but the entire incident may have taken only as long as it took you to read this needlessly elongated sentence. In the piece above there are only three shots (taking less than three seconds, total) in the two minute and forty five second video where you can see both a lion and a baboon in the same frame.
The story being told with close ups of isolated animal parts is more involved. We join an adolescent group of reckless carnivores on a mission to have a baboon for brunch. We are embedded with the group, the other lions are our wingmen. We fall into a spirited, shaky-camera chase. We’re out of breath. Our quarry has gone up a tree! We try to climb up there, struggling mightily, out of our element but determined. The rascal insults us with his casual, superior attitude, then with projectiles, and finally the ultimate indignity – tinkle time – followed by retreat.
A dramatized version of real events? Certainly. Is there anything wrong with that?
Nature shows have been doing it since … Marlin Perkins and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.
In the first three minutes of this program, we see Elephant Seals, an Elephant and an Alligator chasing and thrashing about, trying to kill and/or eat Marlin and Jim and another guy named Dirk Ackerman. But that’s MoA’s Wild Kingdom. Some wild creature was always trying to murder Jim as Marlin casually narrated his near demise. I’m guessing the cutaway footage of the guys backing up their Jeep and getting off a few shots at the charging elephant were filmed at another time, and not when the beast was actually bearing down on them.
If animals could make videos about their encounters with us, I’m sure the stories would be equally dramatic. As in this example from Mutual of Honeycomb’s “Large Meadow”, episode 109 – “Nest Attack”.
“I knew if I could get my stinger into a soft, fleshy, exposed part of the huge, lumbering creature, it might turn and leave our community alone. Delivering the sting would be a great but necessary sacrifice, which I was preparing myself to make when Jim suggested a better strategy – fly at the beast’s head and face to unsettle it and make it run away. Sometimes the mere thought of a sting is enough for these unintelligent and overly sensitive creatures to lose courage, but we had to be careful. The behemoths are known for suddenly producing canisters of deadly toxic spray – instantly lethal if the cloud of gas merely touches you!
What’s that in its hand? Fly, Jim, fly!”
Ever have a dramatic encounter with a wild creature?