Innovative ‘Virtual Fence’ keeps baboons out of town

CITY OF CAPE TOWN

MEDIA RELEASE

7 APRIL 2016

Innovative ‘Virtual Fence’ keeps baboons out of town

The City of Cape Town recently activated a Virtual Fence in Gordon’s Bay as part of its baboon management strategy. Since implementation in mid-January there have been no incidents of the resident troop entering the town. Read more below:

In an effort to reduce human/baboon conflict in the Gordon’s Bay area, the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department has implemented the use of a ‘virtual fence system’ which will assist in reducing the resident baboon troop’s desire to enter the coastal town.

When the troop enters the zone between their home range (in the protected area) and the houses of Gordon’s Bay, speakers emit the noise of a predator, such as a lion. Baboons immediately sense there is danger and do not enter the zone. The ‘virtual fence’ then becomes a ‘virtual boundary zone’ in the mind of the baboon troop and ultimately results in the animals staying out of the town altogether.

‘In the last five years there has been a steady increase in the amount of time this troop spends in and around the Gordan’s Bay town. Baboons are extremely opportunistic and have learned that the residential houses neighbouring the protected area are an easy foraging source. Therefore we are so pleased with the success we are experiencing with the virtual fence system as the resident baboon troop has not entered the town once since it has been implemented ,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.

The virtual fence however does not reduce their foraging area, as the Gordon’s Bay baboon troop historically spends most of its time in the City’s Steenbras Nature Reserve, which forms part of the greater Kogelberg Biosphere.

This is but one tool in a suite of management interventions which are being used successfully in the Gordon’s Bay area. Individual baboons in the troop are fitted with GPS collars which further assist in reserve management being able to monitor the baboon troop’s movements

Better human waste management practices in Gordon’s Bay - including the roll out of double lockable baboon-proof bins into affected areas – as well as an increase in general awareness has also assisted in reducing human/ baboon conflict in Gordon’s Bay.

‘The co-operation of stakeholders which includes City’s Departments - such as Waste Management, Bulk Water and Environmental Resource Management – together with the residents of Gordon’s Bay – have contributed towards the success of this baboon-management programme in the Gordon’s Bay area this summer,’ says Councillor, Johan van der Merwe.

For any further information or to report any baboon related incidents, please call the all hours number for baboon issues in Gordon’s Bay the on tel: 021 957 4725.

End

Issued by: Integrated Strategic Communication, Branding and Marketing Department, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Hayley-May Wittridge, Biodiversity Area Co-ordinator: Gordon’s Bay, Environmental Resource Management Department, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 444 9745, E-mail: HayleyMay.Wittridge@capetown.gov.za, or alternatively steenbras.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za

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