When conflict between baboons and humans escalates, baboons may be cruelly treated.

If baboons are deliberately fed by humans they quickly learn to associate us with food. Baboons will also visit areas where people do not properly manage their waste or fail to deter baboons on their proprieties. When baboons come into contact with humans too often, they lose their natural fear.

When conflict between humans and baboons escalates, both parties suffer. People have to deal with raiding baboons and the destruction of their property, while the baboons may be targeted, often cruelly so. In retaliation against the baboons, people may illegally shoot at them, or injury them. Injured or maimed animals may become problematic as they are unable to re-join the troop in the natural areas to find food.

By keeping baboons and humans apart, we can reduce the conflict, protecting both baboons and humans and persuading the baboons to be wild again.

Welfare of baboons

The baboons face significant problems when they come into contact with humans and human waste.

  • Baboons can pick up human diseases and parasites through contact with human waste. They are also carriers of disease and parasites that can be transmitted to humans.
  • Research shows that baboons who are exposed to human food are unhealthy – with higher body fat and cholesterol.
  • A high calorie, nutrient-rich diet leads to higher fertility among females and unnatural population growth as a result of lack of natural predators.
  • As urban development expands, the baboon habitats are reduced. This creates a ‘ring-fencing’ of baboon populations who become ‘trapped’ by urban areas.
  • Dispersing males are not able to move to new areas and integrate into other troops. Populations become isolated, creating a genetic weakness in populations. If splinter troops do form, there is limited territory for them to move into.

The NSPCA upholds the Animal Protection Act, Act 71 of 1962 which includes measures for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit plays an important role in the conservation and protection of wildlife and is active in providing important welfare input into national and provincial legislation for wild animals.

Legally speaking
  • It is illegal to feed baboons.
  • It is illegal to poison, trap, hurt or kill a baboon by driving with the intent to kill.
  • It is illegal to hunt by shooting at baboons using a pellet gun, catapult, bow-and-arrow, stoning, setting your dog on them, or using a weapon of any kind in order to injure a baboon.

Additional information: National Council of SPCAs, CoGH SPCA and CapeNature


Welfare 1 smImage: B. Sutherland

Did You Know?

Ischial callosities on a baboon’s buttocks are hairless pads of toughened skin. They allow the baboon to sit comfortably for long periods of time on hard surfaces like rocks and tree branches.

Welfare sm

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