Various methods and tools are utilised for managing baboons on the Peninsula.
In the past, only certain baboons were collared, but this number will likely increase in the future. Very high frequency (VHF) radio tracking pulse collars emit a beep every second and using radio telemetry, rangers are able to determine exact location of the baboons at any time. GPS collars use the Global Positioning System (GPS) to determine the animal’s location. GPS collars can store data which can be remotely collected and used for research and management of the troops. Tracking data captured from collars is used across the world to improve wildlife management and conservation. Collars are worn by most alpha males so rangers can monitor the movement of the troops.
In July 2012, Cape Nature and the NSPCA supported an application by the City of Cape Town to use an aversion tool kit as part of their baboon management programme. Baboon rangers were granted permits to use paintball markers and bear bangers to dissuade baboons from entering urban areas. The tools are used with the utmost discretion and are not intended to hurt or harm baboons in any way. They have substantially reduced urban raiding by the baboons. CapeNature issued Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) with a permit to use these tools. This includes permission for them to be used in residential areas. Supervisors and field managers carry permits.
Paintball markersPaintball markers are used mainly for recreation and military simulation but have been used in
mark-recapture studies of free-ranging wildlife populations and in deterring problematic wild species from urban environments. Paintball markers are currently used to deter baboons from tourist and residential areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Sun City and in the Overberg Region (Hermanus).
The paintball marker operator will only target adult baboons who are a safe distance away from juvenile and infant baboons, but within 20m to ensure accuracy. No adult females carrying infants are targeted. Large juveniles may be targeted at the discretion of the field manager.
A Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for using paintball markers to deter baboons was put in place. The paintball marker operator may not use a paintball marker on private property, unless given permission by the owner to do so. The projectiles used by HWS are gas-propelled, soft, spherical pellets that are filled with water-soluble, non-toxic paint. Paintball markers must be concealed when not in use. All operators must follow the code of conduct, procedures and protocols to the letter of the law.
Bear bangersBear bangers were originally developed to scare away bears in Canada and the United States. The cartridges are fired into the air and explode with a loud bang that scares the baboons. Bear bangers are only used on the urban edge and all attempts will be made to notify the community when the cartridges are discharged.
Pepper ballsThese are shot from the paintball marker and are fragile balls which break open upon impact. They release a super-irritant powder called PAVA (capsaicin II) pepper. They are only used to chase baboons in extreme circumstances.