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Over the years, the City of Cape Town baboon management has worked with representatives of conservation authorities and resident associations to develop protocols and guidelines for the management of both individual baboons and baboon troops on the southern Cape Peninsula, South Africa.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the use of paintball markers

No paintball markers may be used in South Africa without a permit. Permits for the use of paintball markers in the southern Cape Peninsula are issued by CapeNature. 

This is an extract from the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the use of paintball markers in the southern Cape Peninsula.

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.

Standard Operating Procedures for using paintball markers (2019)

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the use of bear bangers

Bear bangers may not be used in South Africa without a permit. Permits for the use of bear bangers in the southern Cape Peninsula are issued by CapeNature.

The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for using Bear Bangers as baboon deterrents within the City of Cape Town was developed to ensure awareness that all bear bangers are used in an effective and safe manner.

An exerpt from the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for using Bear Bangers includes the following safety procedures. 

1. Bear Bangers are never to be used within the urban area.
2. Only supervisors and rangers who have been instructed in the safe use of bear bangers are allowed to operate the bear banger. The use of the bear banger by any other staff member will result in disciplinary action being taken.
3. The bear banger launcher must be primed with the caps provided prior to use. To do this one must carefully pull back the firing mechanism until it is in the ‘cocked’ position. Insert the cap into its position in the launcher. VERY CAREFULLY, while pointing the launcher away from people/pets/houses un-cock the launcher by firmly grasping the firing mechanism and pulling the trigger at the same time. GENTLY PLACE the firing mechanism back into its original position resting on the inserted cap. The launcher must NEVER be carried in the ‘cocked’ position.
4. When the time comes to fire the bear banger, place the cartridge in the barrel of the launcher. Ensure that there are no people standing in front of you. Pull the firing mechanism back to the cocked position. Aim the launcher up at a minimum angle of 45 degrees and pull the trigger to fire the cartridge.
5. ALWAYS point the launcher away from yourself and other people when it is loaded with the cartridge.
6. NEVER keep the launcher in the ‘cocked’ position for extended periods.
7. ALWAYS be aware that the cartridge is a fire hazard. NEVER fire the cartridge into dense vegetation. NEVER fire a cartridge in bad weather conditions including strong winds, especially Berg winds.
8. NEVER fire screamers during the dry summer months.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the use of bear bangers 

Guidelines for Baboon Management - Updated to November 2019

The 2019 Guidelines for Baboon Management  were developed over many years (2012 - 2019) by the City of Cape Town. The Guidelines are endorsed by CapeNature.

Input to the Guidelines was given by SANParks, CapeNature, Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa (University of Cape Town), residents from the Baboon Liaison Group, as well as the National and Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA & CoGH SPCA).

The Guidelines reflect the methodology or thought processes which underlie daily baboon management processes on the interface of the urban edge of the City of Cape Town.  The Guidelines are not a legal document and are constantly undergoing updates according to international best practice. 

The City’s Urban Baboon Programme - as defined by the Guidelines for Baboon Management - is internationally recognised and countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia are replicating the programme’s methodology.

Whilst the UK and Australia do not have baboons, they and many other countries around the world have expressed interest in how the City of Cape Town manages baboons using largely non-lethal deterrents. There is a lethal component and this is based on international best standards as it includes management of individuals and not merely classes (e.g. all adult males) of animals.

Israel has challenges with boar and jackal in urban areas and their conservation authorities are have show great interest in adopting the Guidelines developed in Cape Town as a template for planning. Currently in Israel and much of Europe boars are simply killed by hunters with annual quotas. There is no non-lethal management.

Countries around the world are looking to Cape Town to understand how to implement a largely non-lethal program for wildlife on the urban edge. Cape Town leads in South Africa, Africa and much of the world with their Urban Baboon Programme.

Raiding and dispersing baboons

The protocol for reducing the frequency and severity of raiding behaviour by chacma baboons on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, was released in 2011.

It was reviewed and approved by a panel of local and internationally recognised experts in chacma baboon biology and human wildlife conflict and is still regarded internationally as best practice in baboon management.

The foundations laid in the Protocol for Raiding Baboons (2011) have been used as the basis for the updated the Guidelines for Baboon Management (2019).  The Protocol for Raiding Baboons (2011) is now superceded and replaced by the Guidelines for Baboon Management (2019).

FAQ - Baboon Management

FAQ’s regarding Protocols and Guidelines for Raiding Baboons

Q: What processes take place leading up to the euthanasia of a baboon in the southern Cape Peninsula?

A: There is no one single category that either results in a baboon being euthanised (e.g. enter cars with people, raiding occupied houses) 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 over a period of months or years. Mitigation measures may be implemented for months in an attempt to offer corrective behaviour.

Using this approach the WAC [CapeNature’s Wildlife Advisory Committee] prior to 2018, and the City of Cape Town Baboon Management, after 2018, have both:

(1) Approved the euthanising of individual raiding baboons, and,

(2) Authorised that the baboon are left alone, but that short term management plans be implemented in an attempt to prevent future raiding by an individual baboon. 

In 2019, the Protocol for Raiding Baboons (2011) was updated and replaced by the Guidelines for Baboon Management (2019) developed by the City of Cape Town and endorsed by CapeNature. 

Q: Will the protocol or guidelines result in the mass culling of baboons?

A: No. The protocols and guidelines are for management of individual baboons that are shown to pose a risk to public health and safety despite attempts to prevent this. The City of Cape Town Guidelines for Baboon Management (2019) are 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 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 (+27 71 588 6540).

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 City of Cape Town baboon management service provider via the Baboon Hotline (+27 71 588 6540) for advice and immediate assistance.

Q: When did the protocol become a guideline?

A:   The Guidelines for Baboon Management (2019) in the southern Cape Peninsula were workshop'ed over an extended period (2012 - 2019) by the City of Cape Town with input from representatives of Resident's Associations, Cape of Good Hope SPCA, National SPCA, SANParks, CapeNature and University of Cape Town Baboon Research Unit.  The City of Cape Town's Guidelines for Baboon Management (2019) are officially endorsed by CapeNature.

The guidelines have been created for baboon management at the interface of urban edge of the City of Cape Town by baboon rangers. The framework document - that includes topics such as training, management, legislation and occupational health and safety.

The purpose of these guidelines is to mitigate the damage and risk on public safety caused by individual baboons, while encouraging socially responsible behavior by residents in baboon-affected areas.

The guidelines were first released to the public for comment in February, 2018 - following endorsement by CapeNature. Following various drafts, the latest updated guidelines were released in November, 2019.

The guidelines reflect the methodology or thought processes which underlie daily baboon management processes on the interface of the urban edge of the City of Cape Town. 

The 2019 Guidelines for Baboon Management  were developed by the City of Cape Town Urban Baboon Programme. They are endorsed by CapeNature. The Guidelines reflect the methodology or thought processes which underlie daily baboon management processes on the interface of the urban edge of the City of Cape Town.

Baboons are legally classified as res nullius. Res nullius (literally: nobody's thing) is a Latin term derived from private Roman law. Under this legal definition, res (an object in the legal sense, anything that can be owned) is not yet the object of rights of any specific subject. 

The City of Cape Town Urban Baboon Programme is a service to resident's in baboon-affected areas. Approximately 50 Urban Baboon Programme rangers operate in the field from sunrise to sunset every day in the following areas of the Southern Cape Peninsula:

  • Capri
  • Constantia
  • Da Gama Park
  • Glencairn
  • Gordon’s Bay
  • Kommetjie
  • Murdoch Valley
  • Ocean View
  • Plateau Road
  • Simon’s Town
  • Smitswinkel Bay
  • Tokai
  • Welcome Glen
  • Zwaanswyk

 Guidelines for Baboon Management @ November 2019



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