Cape Town deals with monkey business


Measures have been implemented to deal with recent raids by baboons into Gordon's Bay, the City of Cape Town said on Monday.

A troop of baboons had in recent weeks been seen regularly entering Gordon's Bay and foraging in the town's residential area, including raiding refuse bins, the city said in a statement.

The municipality has implemented an awareness drive to educate residents, and procured baboon-proof bins, along with other equipment.

Officials were also co-ordinating with residents to keep baboons out of town, and baboons were being tracked to understand troop behaviour so residents could be warned.

An information meeting was being organised and would be advertised.

The situation was a direct result of residents feeding baboons, or not managing waste properly, the city said.

The city advised residents to not feed baboons, warn neighbours when baboons were in the vicinity, defend their "territory" by making a loud noise, spraying water and throwing small stones, and treat baboons with caution.

However, a resident could not use any method which could injure or kill a baboon.

"The use of equipment, such as pellet guns, is illegal and residents could be held responsible for acts of cruelty towards animals."

Injured or maimed baboons were unable to re-join their troops in its natural areas.

There was also a baboon-hotline to alert officials when baboons were seen in town.

It was reported on Tuesday that Pringle Bay residents, near Gordon's Bay, were outraged at the makers of a National Geographic documentary using food to lure baboons to a house in the area. The Cape Times reported that the primates were filmed with hidden cameras placed in a specially modified and fully furnished cottage, part of the Cape Hangklip Hotel.

The television series, Big Baboon House, had angered residents as it undermined years of effort to keep the animals out of their houses.

The Pringle Bay Baboon Action Group said there had been a steady increase in aggressive baboon activity in the past three months.

"What they did is completely unacceptable. To lure baboons with food is not only illegal, it also disrupts the peaceful cohabitation we've been trying to maintain between humans and baboons."

On the show's official blog, development director Jaco Botha reportedly said his biggest thrill had been the first time the baboons broke into the house, as it showed they could be filmed without "having any effect on their natural behaviour".

Digital media content producer Meghan Gleason was reported saying they had "undertaken a simian social experiment of a lifetime" to understand baboon behaviour.

This was "so we can learn how to keep them out of homes and coexist peacefully with their human counterparts... all while having a little fun along the way as we observe these baboons having free reign over a posh house".

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