Baboon Causes Mass Blackout In Zambia But Escapes 25-Year Prison Sentence


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer


A chacma baboon, which is native to Zambia. Cathy Withers-Clarke/Shutterstock

Here’s a sentence you didn’t expect to read today: A baboon has caused a blackout for about 50,000 people in Zambia, but will escape a hefty prison sentence as it’s not human.

The incident took place in Livingstone on Sunday morning, when the wild animal tampered with some lines at a 108-megawatt power station. The baboon was severely electrocuted by the incident, but apparently survived and was handed over to the Zambia Wildlife Authority’s (ZAWA) Intensive Care Unit.


The incident was confirmed by state-owned ZESCO, Zambia’s largest power company, who runs the power station. About 28,000 people lost power in Livingstone, and a further 22,000 in Western Province. The tampering occurred about 6.50am local time. Power was restored after about five hours.

Interestingly, had this been a human, ZESCO spokesperson Henry Kapata told the Zambian radio station Byta FM that they could have received a sentence for 25 years in prison, reported Africa News. As this plucky perpetrator was merely a pesky baboon, however, it’s likely to escape the gavel.

“The baboon tampered with the A station and the B3 and B5 machines in our power station cutting electricity to Western Province and of course Livingstone town so we have about 28,000 customers in Livingstone and 22,000 customers in Western Province,” Kapata said.

“The lines the baboon was tampering with are extremely high voltage. You can see that it was electrocuted in so many ways but it has survived. It is an animal, we cannot prosecute it otherwise if it was a human we would have taken it to court.”


According to the BBC, it’s not unusual for wild animals to roam around Livingstone, one of Zambia’s major tourist cities, as it’s located near a national park.

This is not even the first primate to cause power outages. Last year, a monkey caused a blackout across the entire country of Kenya after it dropped onto a transformer and tripped it. This monkey also managed to survive its somewhat harrowing ordeal.

And we’ve had other incidents with animals running afoul of the law recently. Just last week, it was revealed that a monkey that took a selfie on a photographer’s camera has basically bankrupted him, due to legal fees after PETA decided the monkey's artistic ownership was at stake and are suing for copyright.

  • tag
  • animal,

  • evil,

  • baboon,

  • blackout,

  • power cut,

  • sneaky,

  • Zambia