this particular guinea baboon known to us researchers as edmund, held a special place in my heart. he suffered from an early age with a disease that stripped him of his manhood, reducing his p***s and t****s to nothing more than a reddened & sore stump, and affecting his legs, giving him a life-long limp, and leaving him forever unable to reach full adult size. but he beat the disease.
happening before s****l maturity, this meant he was never able to gain any of his own females, having never been able to copulate with them which is how mates are gained and harems are grown. later in life the disease came back and attacked his face, leaving him with this disfigurement of the nasal & facial bones. he beat it once again.
but it left him with a rasping breath and difficulty eating. he soldiered on.
he was left alone by the troop, a disabled outcast, limping along in his own world, always lagging behind his family. from the entire troop there were 2 baboons i believe he called friends, a male, sane. and a small female. sane was the only male ever seen to help, and stick up for edmund when struggling or facing a confrontation. sane would also allow his females to tend to edmund, allowing him occasional grooming sessions at their hands. the small female i think had pity for edmund, and despite belonging to another male would steal time to spend with him as he ventured on alone in the bush.
edmund, for all his illness, and misfortune was one of the most considerate baboons i have met, with his big soulful eyes he was a calm soul and generous to others with food and care. he spent the majority of his days alone, but seemingly simply content with just being alive. i loved every second i was able to spend with him walking in the bush. when i left the project he had developed a lump on his wrist, most likely cancerous. i do not know if he is still alive but i do hope so, he was a symbol to me, that even at life's hardest points, whatever it throws at you, it is possible to survive and still show care and compassion to those individuals, and the world around you