A full case history of four male baboons have been brought to
the Baboon Management Joint Task Team who is led by experienced members of Cape
Nature, DEA&DP and Independent scientific advisors.
The four males have been living in the town of Pringle Bay since as far back as October 2021. The most recent male has joined the area in July 2022.
"All four males have been identified with raiding behavior and spending most of their time living in town. Other more severe incidents recorded were raiding food directly from people and even opening car doors as well as windows and doors to enter and raid homes even when people are present," said Dean O'Neill the Municipal Manager of the Overstrand Municipality.
According to experts allowing animals in the urban area present them with dangers such as poisoning, gun shots, being mauled and killed by dogs, electrocution or being run over by cars.
"This is the reason why the Overstrand Baboon Management Programme was developed with the main objective to keep baboons out of the urban area. Unfortunately, there are members of our community that do not agree and believes that baboons need to be allowed to live among us and feed in the open spaces and private as well as natural gardens within the urban area.
There are also people that feed them which causes a dependence on human derived food and bring them back to the urban areas time and time again to search for these foods amongst homes, cars, businesses, and unexpected shoppers. Once these animals have become so habituated to people, and therefore, lost their natural fear of people it becomes easier for them to approach human structures and humans themselves and herein lies the danger to humans and to the animals themselves," said O'Neill.
O'Neill stated further: "Most people fear baboons and do not want to share their urban spaces with baboons and will therefore use any kind of method known to them to chase or to get rid of a baboon that are within their safe space or within their homes. This could be poisoning, shooting with live ammunition, hitting with clubs or pipes, paintball markers or pellet guns. When these animals are hurt or injured the management authority needs to step in to try and save the life of the animal. This could have been prevented if the animals and troop were kept out of the urban area from the start.
"Unfortunately, the continuous interference by members of the public that do not allow the service provider and management authority to execute the objective of the Programme, allows the baboons to stay in and around the urban area and it becomes more and more difficult for the Programme to be implemented effectively".
According to the Overstrand Baboon Management Programme the four males are examples of this, and their behavior has reached a point that they do not play an effective role in the conservation ecology of the troop anymore and it was therefore decided to remove them from the troop. This decision has not been taken lightly and has been deliberated by the all the experts as mentioned. The opinion is held that decision is in the best interest of troop’s conservation, the well-being of the animals and that of the larger community.