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
Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) for using paintball markers as baboon deterrents within the Cape Peninsula
Revised, 17 June 2021
Paintball markers have been used predominantly for recreation and in military simulations, but have also been used in mark-recapture studies of free-ranging wildlife populations and in deterring problematic wild species (e.g. coyotes) from urban environments.
Currently, paintball markers are used to deter baboons in KwaZulu-Natal, Sun City and in the Overberg Region (Hermanus) to deter baboons from tourist- and residential areas.
Essentially, a paintball marker fires gas-propelled spherical pellets which for the purpose of this Standard Operating Procedure, are filled with environmentally friendly paint and the pellets are fired at an approximate speed of 90 m per second.
No paintball marker may fire a paintball exceeding a speed of faster than 300 foot per second. This should be checked against a chronograph every month.
2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim is to humanely deter baboons from entering urban areas where there are known high risks of injury and mortality often associated with extreme suffering. The aim is thus to keep baboons safe and not to cause unnecessary pain or suffering to the baboons.
The objective of this SOP is to regulate the use of PBMs in achieving the stated aim while not causing any unnecessary harm or suffering to baboons.
This Standard Operating Procedure does not substitute any regulatory requirements and should where applicable, be read and applied in conjunction with all relevant laws, by-laws, regulations and compulsory specifications including the following:
• Animal Protection Act (Act no 71 of 1962)
• Nature Conservation Ordinance (Ordinance 19 of 1974)
• Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977)
• Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000)
• Occupational and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993)
3. CONDITIONS OF USE
3.1. Paintball markers for deterring baboons from entering urban areas may only be used in accordance with this SOP.
3.2. The indiscriminate use of paintball markers fired at point blank range at baboons is not permitted.
3.3. In some specific instances it may be justified to shoot directly at a baboon with a paintball marker in the “green” and “red” zones described in sections 3.9 below. Such instances include:3.3.1. Self-protection and/or the protection of people and/or other animals;
3.3.2. For protection of baboons from urban-related threats, be they human or other, and/or for the prevention of baboons becoming injured.In such instances, the paintball marker may only be directed to the flank and rear portion of a baboon.
3.4. Any operator tasked with using a paintball marker must undergo adequate training from a competent instructor to ensure sufficient understanding of:3.4.1. Baboon behaviour;
3.4.2. Aversive conditioning;
3.4.3. Humane usage of paintball markers.3.5. Any operator will need to demonstrate sufficient accuracy (hitting a 30 cm target at a range of 10 m with a frequency of 90% or more) before being allowed to use the paintball marker in the field.
3.6. Caution must be exercised when operating in wind velocities exceeding 40 km/h or more (operators will have to use some degree of their own discretion in this regard) or in situations (e.g., heavy rainfall) where external factors will compromise accuracy.
3.7. While markers are being used in the field, a veterinarian is required to be on call to attend to any unforeseen injuries to baboons. The proposed method of firing (see below) will minimise the probability of injury, but the ability of baboons to move quickly (and sometimes unpredictably) will introduce some degree of unpredictability.
3.8. When not in use, the markers will be concealed within a bag or carried on a shoulder strap and with the barrel sock in place
3.9. Two approximate zones will be designated, namely Green and Red:3.9.1. Green zone (buffer zone) includes all areas estimated between 100m and 200m from the nearest inhabited area. Specific areas will be established for each baboon troop, based on topography of any human area.
3.9.2. Red zone (no go zone) includes all human inhabited areas and all land to the green zone.
4. GREEN ZONE (BUFFER ZONE) PROTOCOL
4.1. The operator of the paintball marker will position him/herself between the troop and the nearest urban edge, with potential firing directed towards natural areas.
4.2. Once the baboons cross into the Green zone (approximately 100 — 200 m away), the monitors will be instructed to make an effort to deter them by clapping their hands, shouting or shaking the marker in order to push them from the human area.
4.3. If the baboons fail to respond, the operator will begin to fire.
4.4. Only adult baboons will be targeted.
4.5. The operator will only target adult baboons that are within a safe distance from juvenile and infant baboons but within 20 m of the operator (so as not to compromise accuracy).
4.6. NO adult females carrying infants will be targeted.
4.7. At the discretion of the Field Manager, large juvenile males that are at least the size of an adult female AND a known raider, can be targeted.
4.8. The operator may aim at the ground 2 m in front of the targeted adult to give a warning shot.
4.9. No more than 2 warning shots are to be directed at any time.
4.10. 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 red protocol will be initiated.
5. RED ZONE (NO GO ZONE) PROTOCOL
5.1. 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 red protocol will be initiated.
5.2. The operator of the paintball marker will position him/herself between the troop and the nearest urban edge, with potential firing directed towards natural areas.
5.3. Once the baboons cross into the Red zone (approximately <100 m away), the operator will only target adult baboons that are within a safe distance from juvenile and infant baboons but within 20 m of the operator (so as not to compromise accuracy). No adult females carrying infants will be targeted.
5.4. At the discretion of the Field Manager, large juvenile males that are at least the size of an adult female and a known raider, can be targeted.
5.5. Caution should be used when firing on baboons moving directly towards the operator in order to avoid the risk of hitting the baboon.
5.6. Should the adult retreat from the operator, towards natural land, targeting of that adult will cease once it is beyond the green zone.
5.7. If the troop moves back into the green zone, the firing protocol will be adjusted accordingly.
5.8. Within human areas, efforts will be directed primarily towards keeping local residents safe, firing as little as possible and moving the troop out of the human area as quickly as possible.
5.9. In built-up areas, 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.
5.10. No firing will be allowed where the visibility of the trajectory of the pellets is obstructed.
5.11. No firing will be allowed in the direction of people, houses and other buildings, domestic animals, windows or vehicles of any description.
5.12. No firing will be allowed into isolated trees where baboons are sheltering and where no escape route is available. The operator will need to retreat in order to allow the baboon/s to come down. The operator may fire again in order to drive the baboon/s in the desired direction once they are safely out of the tree.
5.13. Any firing must attempt to be maximally effective (i.e. a minimum number of clear shots).
5.14. 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.
5.15. No firing may take place from a moving vehicle.
 The indiscriminate use of paintball markers is defined as the use of paintball markers in contravention of the SOP.
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.
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.
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:
- Da Gama Park
- Gordon’s Bay
- Murdoch Valley
- Ocean View
- Plateau Road
- Simon’s Town
- Smitswinkel Bay
- Welcome Glen