Trained baboon rangers manage 11 of the 16 troops on the Cape Peninsula.
Since 1998, baboon rangers (originally known as baboon monitors) have been employed to prevent baboons from entering urban areas in the southern Cape Peninsula.
In the early days, the baboon monitors were trained to use specific techniques such as aggressive gestures and loud noises to chase baboons - that entered a urban area - back into the Table Mountain National Park. The main technique of noise aversion was the crack of a whip.
Rangers followed a stringent code of conduct while attending to their duties and would monitor the health of the troop and report injured or ill animals.
In August 2012, Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) was contracted by the City of Cape Town to manage the baboons. After the contract 2012-2014, HWS's contract was renewed following open tender processes for contracts July 2014 to July 2017 and most recently, July 2017 to July 2020.
Over 60 baboon rangers are employed to ensure that baboons in the 11 managed troops are kept out of suburbs that lie on the fringes of each troop’s range. According to the latest baboon population figures (as at June 2018), the census suggests that there are 414 baboons in the 11 managed troops.
The baboon rangers operate in three regions:
- Northern region (Tokai Troop, Zwaanswyk Troop, Mountain Troop and two Constantia Troops - CT1 and CT2)
- South-eastern region (Smitswinkel, Waterfall, and the Da Gama Troops)
- South-western region (Groot Olifantsbos Troop, Misty Cliffs splinter troop, and Slangkop Troop)
Approximately, three rangers manage each troop. They wear identifiable clothing – a luminous jacket with the HWS logo and the wording ‘Baboon Ranger’ printed on the back.
Competent and qualified field managers supervise and manage the baboon rangers. This has helped to diffuse conflict situations involving baboons, residents and rangers. The hands-on management of the field rangers has improved service delivery.
The City of Cape Town will not tolerate any harassment of the baboon rangers.
Management of troops
Rangers are on duty from sunrise to sunset. At the start of the day, rangers identify the location of the troops. If a troop has spent the night at a sleep site out of town, the rangers will keep the troop outside the urban edge. If a troop has entered town, the ranger will herd them out.
Rangers carry paintball markers and bear bangers as part of an aversion tool kit. Baboons may also be ear-tagged and monitored through the use of remote radio telemetry and GPS collars.
As part of the 2012 contract with HWS, the City of Cape Town requires that troops be kept out of town for a minimum of 80% of the time. The new contract requirement is 90%. Current statistics show that the baboons are spending over 98% of time out of town.
Excerpt from the HWS Monthly Report February 2015 Report
HWS Baboon Management Monthly Reports
The rangers and field managers report back on the movement of the troops and this information, together with information from the field managers and calls to the Baboon Hotline, is used to write up a monthly report. These reports contain information about troop dynamics, management and baboon raids.