Certain protocols must be followed when using paintball markers as a baboon deterrent and for managing raiding baboons and dispersing males.
Basic criteria for the use of paintball markers
In the buffer zone (an area 100 to 200m outside the urban edge)
- The operator will position himself between the troop and the nearest urban edge (and firing will be directed towards natural areas).
- No more than one or two warning shots are to be fired into the ground in front of any adult.
- The operator will target the central back and rump of an adult (always firing in the general direction of natural areas).
- From this point, troop members will either begin to retreat from the human area or will continue their approach. If the baboons approach the urban area purposefully, the protocol for use within human areas will be followed.
- Caution should be used when firing on baboons moving directly toward the operator in order to avoid the risk of hitting the facial region.
- Should the adult retreat away from the operator, towards natural land, targeting of that adult will cease once it is beyond the buffer zone.
- If the troop moves back into the buffer zone, the firing protocol will be adjusted accordingly.
- Within human areas (within or on the urban edge)
- Efforts will be geared primarily towards keeping local residents safe, firing as little as possible and moving the troop out of the human area as quickly as possible.
- In the village, when monitors are herding the baboons out, firing must be used as a support to the monitors by targeting adult males/females that break ranks with the troop. If the troop is moving in a general direction, herded by the monitors, then firing should be guided by the Supervisor monitor so as not to scatter the troop.
- No firing will be allowed where visibility of the pellets’ trajectory is obstructed.
- No firing will be allowed in the direction of people, domestic animals, windows or vehicles of any description.
- If there are multiple operators, a predetermined direction in which to push the baboons must be decided prior to entering and firing in human areas. If baboons are located on roof tops, trees or dead-ends, the operators must devise an operational plan prior to firing. Baboon escape routes must be determined and operators must allow baboons the opportunity to escape in the direction away from the operator. No other operators or monitors should hinder this escape route.
Information: HWS brochure: ‘Dealing with Baboons’
Raiding and dispersing baboons
The Protocol for reducing the frequency and severity of raiding behaviour by chacma baboons on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, 2011 was reviewed and approved by a panel of local and internationally recognised experts in chacma baboon biology and human wildlife conflict.
Excerpt from the Protocol
FAQ’s regarding Protocol for Raiding Baboons
Q: When will a baboon be euthanised according to the new protocol?
A: There is no one single category that either results in a baboon being euthanised (e.g. enter cars with people) or prevents it from being euthanised (e.g. alpha male status). Rather the weight of evidence for and against euthanasia is assessed in its entirety. Using this approach the WAC [CapeNature’s Wildlife Advisory Committee] has both approved the euthanising of individual raiding baboons and demanded that the baboon are left alone, but that short term management plans are implemented in an attempt to prevent future raiding by an individual baboon.
Q: Will this new protocol result in the mass culling of baboons?
A: No. This protocol is for management of individual baboons that have been shown to pose a risk to public health and safety despite attempts to prevent this. As such it is a completely distinct wildlife management tool to culling which may include the removal of whole populations, troops or particular age/sex classes. Prior to 1998 culling was a management tool used by conservation authorities on the Cape Peninsula who removed whole troops from Kommetjie, Kalk Bay and Chapmans Peak to reduce or eliminate human-baboon conflict from these regions. Culling is always the last and least preferred management option for wildlife managers but it remains a necessary tool in any closed population including zoo’s, sanctuaries and closed parks when translocation is not considered to be a viable management option.
Q: What must I do when I am being raided repeatedly by a baboon?
A: Firstly try and determine what it is that is attracting baboons to your property and make every effort to prevent the baboon(s) from gaining further access to this resource. Baboons are attracted to exotic vegetation in gardens including fruit, vegetables and even grasses. They also like to feed on waste in both rubbish bins and compost heaps. It is thus essential to prevent baboons from accessing these foods on ones properties through the use of electric fencing and appropriate baboon-proofing of waste areas. Baboons may also enter homes through open windows and doors especially when they can see food on display (e.g. fruit bowls). Reducing access to food will immediately reduce the frequency of visits from raiding baboons. The Baboon Conservation Authorities do not want any baboons to enter residential areas or raid food at popular outdoor tourist venues and thus all such incursions should be reported to the Baboon Hotline. Should a baboon break into your house by forcing windows and doors, take food directly from people in and around houses or cars or attack people who attempt to protect their own food or family then it is essential to record the details (date, time, ID if possible of the baboons, and the details of the incident). This information should then be relayed to the current service provider, Nature Conservation Corporation, for advice and immediate assistance.