Murder in the Troop

Amid the pristine wilderness of Africa’s Zambezi region unfolds a sinister tale of political upheaval, sexual intrigue, and Murder in the Troop.

Along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River in the high plains of northern Zimbabwe, a troop of chacma baboons tend to their daily routines in accordance with the rules of social order that make for a stable and cohesive community.

Alliances can mean the difference between life and death, as each day brings a myriad of challenges. Months of searing heat and drought grip the land, and ambushes by rival troops and predators such as leopards, crocodiles, and pythons pose imminent threats.

A rare set of twins born to the dominant male and female face an especially difficult trial. In an environment where only a quarter of infants survive their first year, the odds are stacked against them. But their “royal parentage” could carry some advantages for their survival.

In the Zambezi, privilege can be lost as quickly as it is gained. A large male from a neighboring troop enters their ranks, determined to unseat the dominant male. In a swift and decisive battle, the king is deposed and the entire stability of the troop is thrown into turmoil. Under the rule of the new alpha male, the twins are no longer safe — the intruder has cast his eye on their mother. But the infants are not yet weaned and until they are, their mother will remain sexually unavailable. For the tyrant, the equation is simple and brutal, but just how far will he go?

The rains are late and the dry season stretches into its eighth month. Competition for food brings the troop’s inherent rivalries to the surface, and bouts of infighting break out. The alliances that were once the binding thread of the group begin to come undone.

Meanwhile, only one of the twins has survived, and he must grapple with his brother’s murder, his father’s overthrow, and a mother whose affections have been commandeered by the one responsible for the heinous deeds.

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Online content for Murder in the Troop was originally posted April 2006.

  • Adam

    I’m excited for this show tonight! I spent a month in this area. We had a dog in our camp who would walk the perimeter and end up getting into fights with these guys, He’s had a few good battle wounds to show for his encounters.

  • JaguarJulie

    Just watched this program this Saturday morning and what can I say but WOW! What a program. I was saddened to see the demise of the one twin. Interesting to see the ’sexual intrigue’ and the politics of the baboons. Excellent program! Just tweeted it: — thinking Baboons in the Boardroom!

  • Peter from NYC

    Great? It was spectacular.


    The movie was based on “Hamlet.” Or shall I say, life imitates fiction, or vice versa? The expression on the “child”s face when his mother has sex with the King who beat up his Dad, wow.

  • Muammar

    That invading brute should have been shot on sight, and all these problems would have been avoided. Man must correct the imbalances in nature.

  • ewynntex

    They look like they are from Watts or Detroit or Compton. They act like they are from Watts or Detroit or Compton except they are not all on welfare like the subhuman apes from Watts or Detroit or Compton.

  • ewynntex

    A Baboon Nursery Rhyme!

    Hey diddle diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon,
    Which is a lot more than that lazy no good ex-wife of mine ever did, That smelly baboon!

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