Joburg baboon ‘dangerous’

2012-04-19 09:56

A baboon roaming the suburbs south of Johannesburg poses a threat to local residents and their pets, the Johannesburg Zoo said yesterday.

“For instance, if it comes across a domestic dog, depending on the size of the dog, the baboon might kill it by ripping the dog’s torso, or even by picking it up and swinging the dog against a nearby structure until the dog dies,” said zoo spokesperson Letta Madlala.

“Baboons do not ordinarily attack people, unless... they feel threatened or trapped. Then they will bite, causing severe pain as their canine teeth are bigger and longer than a lion’s.”

People who find the baboon in their homes should leave the doors open and “get out of the way”.

“Remain calm and relaxed, as a baboon can read body language and as you become nervous the baboon might become aggressive. Try not to make eye contact with it as this is less threatening than looking at the baboon straight in the eyes.”

Yesterday an off-site monitoring company said the male baboon was missing.

“Whether he is still wandering around the area or has left no one knows,” said Vega Monitoring owner Lyall Meistre. The baboon was last spotted in the Meyersdal Eco Estate last Thursday. The estate contacted animal authorities to capture him, but they could not find him.

The primate had been on the loose for about a week-and-a-half after first being spotted by Vega staff at a complex in Bassonia, roughly two kilometres away.

Its movements were recorded on closed-circuit television cameras.

A security meeting was held on Tuesday night about the roaming baboon, said Meistre. Residents were urged not to feed it because it is wild.

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