Keep Baboons off your Property
Baboons are wild animals and their natural habitats are shrinking, putting troops into conflict with humans as they move closer to the urban edge. The survival of baboons on the Cape Peninsula depends on keeping them away from urban areas and separate from humans, some of whom are not tolerate of them and may maim or kill them.
Dangers in Town
Baboons are opportunistic feeders. Once they become accustomed to humans and the ease at which they can find human food, they will enter urban areas more frequently to find it. Forays into town also cause an increase in conflict situations. In town the baboons face danger – they may be injured by pellet guns, poisoned, attacked by dogs or injured or killed if hit by a car.
Baboons also pick up human diseases and parasites through contact with human waste, and conversely, they are also carriers of diseases and parasites which can be transmitted to humans.
Responsibility of Residents
Of the 16 baboon troops on the Peninsula, 11 troops are managed by Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS). The task of the baboon rangers is to keep baboons out of town. Residents on the urban edge are urged to exercise caution and assist the City of Cape Town by following basic procedures that will contribute towards keeping the animals out of town.
If you live in a known baboon area, it is your responsibility to baboon-proof your home. When baboons break into houses, they trash the inside with faeces and urine as they go on adrenaline high during the raid. Residents then face huge costs to clean their homes and replace broken windows and doors. All foodstuffs must be replaced as baboons rip open any packaging to see if it is edible. Unfortunately, conflict situation between humans and baboons is exacerbated by well-intentioned residents who either feed baboons or who have bad waste practices.
Never feed baboons on your property. They will return for these easy pickings time and again. It is illegal to feed baboons and heavy fines can be imposed for breaking this law.
Baboon-proofing your Home
- Ensure that sliding windows have latches at both ends to prevent baboons from pulling the frame and breaking the glass.
- If you keep windows open, ensure that burglar guards are fitted. The gap should not exceed 8cm to prevent juveniles from entering your property. If you don’t want your view compromised, consider transparent burglar guards.
- Fit night bolts onto sliding doors to prevent baboons from lifting them off their tracks.
- Reinforce guttering and downpipes.
- Place TV antennas in the ceiling.
Other Property Guidelines
- Exercise caution when you encounter baboons. They are wild animals and can be dangerous, especially around food.
- Do not plant fruit trees or keep a vegetable garden or compost heap unless it is in a caged area or surrounded by electric fencing.
- Plant indigenous – your garden will be less attractive to the baboons.
- Do not put out seed for wild birds unsupervised. If you do feed the birds, keep an eye on the situation and remove the feeder when you go indoors.
- Keep windows and doors closed and don’t leave food in the open where it can be spotted through a window.
- Give your neighbours a warning if you see baboons in the neighbourhood so doors and windows can be closed and locked.
- Do not allow baboons to feel welcome in your neighbourhood. Residents need to defend their ‘territory’ and chase baboons away using accepted methods which include making a loud noise and spraying water.
- Never use any method that could potentially kill or injure an animal. The use of equipment, like pellet guns, is illegal and residents could be held responsible for acts of cruelty towards animals. Injured or maimed animals often become problematic as they are unable to re-join the troop in the natural areas.
- Manage your waste properly
To report the presence of baboons if no rangers are present in the vicinity or to report people feeding baboons, call the Baboon Hotline – 071-588-6540.