Lack of water causes baboons raids

By Drum Digital
20 March 2013

Baboons will continue to raid urban areas in the Cape Peninsula if water points are not provided for them, The Star reported on Wednesday.

According to the paper, two water tanks were established about 13 years ago for the baboons, at the Table Mountain National Park.

One tank, above Ocean View, had not been maintained due to constant vandalism. The second, above Slangkop, was damaged by fire and had not been replaced.

The paper reported it was against SA National Parks' current policy to provide artificial water points. SANParks had asked Human Wildlife Solutions, the company holding the baboon monitoring and management contract, to collect data on when and where the Slangkop group drank during February.

"The data will soon be sent to SANParks research department and may hopefully persuade them to change their minds," Dr Phil Richardson of Human Wildlife Solutions wrote in a report.

"Access to water, particularly during the hot, dry summer months, is obligatory for baboons.

"Therefore if they can't find water out of town, they will come to town to find it and almost nothing will stop them... Once they were in town they would drink and then raid."

According to Richardson the number of baboons had increased by 3.1 percent in two months, from 354 to 365 by end of February.

An artificial water point had been established on the Kompanjiestuin property, with the permission of the owners.

"It is hoped that by supplying the troop with water (here) it will negate the need for the troop to visit the Solole Reserve and cross Kommetjie Road.

"This, in turn, will hopefully reduce the raiding of Capri and Imhoff's Gift (urban areas)."

-by Sapa

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