Hard knock for ‘kees’

2015-09-15 06:00
A proposal to electrify an existing game fence south of Scarborough to keep baboons out of Scarborough and Misty Cliffs has been submitted to locals.

nicole mccain

A proposal to electrify an existing game fence south of Scarborough to keep baboons out of Scarborough and Misty Cliffs has been submitted to locals. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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A proposal to keep baboons at bay could see Scarborough and Misty Cliffs residents forking out about R400 000.

The proposal, by Human Wildlife Solutions which manages the baboon population on behalf of the City of Cape Town, suggests electrifying a portion of the existing game fence along the southern border of Scarborough and the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

The electric fence would restrict the movement of baboons to houses in Scarborough and Misty Cliffs.

The Misty Cliff troop is the most difficult troop to manage, the proposal states, as the baboons spend the most amount of time in human populated areas compared to other troops. And it appears the troop’s raiding behaviour is only getting worse. As a result, the troop is also experiencing the highest rate of euthanasia.

While management strategies are working well for other troops in Cape Town, the Misty Cliff troop needs additional measures, the proposal states. Once the troop has broken through the game fence, it is almost impossible to turn it back. Using manpower alone to deter the baboons is unlikely to ever be 100% successful, the proposal says.

The electric fence could create a hard boundary between where the baboons are likely to be coming from and their destination. A similar fence has been installed in Zwaanswyk, which has reduced daily raids with the baboons being almost totally excluded from Zwaanswyk residential area.

The electric strand will be placed at about 50cm off the ground and will not restrict the movement of smaller animals. It will also transmit a very low current that is not likely to electrocute a baboon.

However, with no funding from the City, residents are facing about R1000 per household to have the fence electrified. The total cost is estimated at between R320 000 and R440 000.

People’s Post was refered to the City for comment, but the City has not issued comment at the time of going to print.

Misty Cliff Village Association treasurer Jon Kerr says the residents who responded to a survey were very much in favour of the electric fence. However, as a smaller community, Misty Cliffs is waiting for a decision from Scarborough residents before committing, as they will be unable to fund the entire project.

Scarborough Ratepayers’ Association chairperson Marti Wedepohl says although many residents are in favour of the electric fence, some have asked for more information from independent consultants.

“We will be sending out a survey to residents to see how many would like additional information and will then ask local experts for their opinions,” she says.

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