Ideas mooted to help manage baboons
Johannesburg - A study has revealed that the best way to manage baboons in the Cape Peninsula is to make sure land is available for them and to keep them away from food for humans.
The study was done for a doctoral thesis by University of Cape Town zoology student Tali Hoffman.
It has provided the first detailed investigation into the conflict over space between baboons and humans in the area, the university says.
Hoffman examined the home range size, habitat preferences, daily patterns and diets of nine of the 12 troops of baboons in the Peninsula in 2007.
According to her research, the key landscape features which attracted baboons were low altitudes and steep slopes. This was the same type of landscape preferred by humans.
Hoffman said that if the Cape Peninsula wanted to keep the baboons in the area, it had to make sure that not all land was urbanised.
The combination of these variables provided baboons with access to high-quality natural and anthropogenic [caused by humans] food sources in close proximity to suitable sleeping sites.
Baboons were adaptable and had a wide diet range. They had adapted to eating human food.
"We've added to this by having dustbins and fruit trees in our gardens," said Hoffman.
"These must not be made accessible to them, so that they stop coming into human areas."
The City of Cape Town in September set up a committee to promote relations between humans and baboons.
It was established after a meeting called by city councillor Elizabeth Brunette with representatives of the Baboon Conservation Authorities, the Constantia Property Owners' Association and surrounding wine farms.
She had sought discussion on issues arising from baboon troops living in the area.
The city said it was formulating new baboon-related by-laws aimed at easing tensions between man and baboon.