The City of Cape Town is desperately working to improve its baboon monitoring programme. The current Urban Baboon Programme has been criticised as inhumane by animal rights organisations such as the SPCA.
It’s believed about 500 of these primates are roaming the Cape Penisula, knocking at those homes encroaching on what is considered their natural space.
Animal troops have grown in numbers, while the space remains the same leading to conflict between humans at the encroaching vineyards and suburbs.
As the primates swing from trees to surrounding properties, the city of Cape Town says communities are not educated enough about baboon-proofing their properties. Because humans and wild animals have now to co-exist.
Mayoral Committee member for Spatial Development Eddie Andrews says, “A recent survey that we’ve undertaken shows that most people are not aware of what a baboon proof property looks like, things like not putting out dog food during the day. We are looking at baboon proof bins that baboons cant open.”
The city has since 2009 been running the Urban Baboon Programme. Characterised by the shooting with paintballs at the animals as they come closer to the private properties. Andrews says it’s highly criticised.
“Part of the programme would be where our field rangers would be paintballing as an aversion tactic because we picked that when residents get real frustrated they use real firearms with bullets and kill the baboons, and we are arguing that paintballing would be more humane for baboons to remain in their natural habitat.”
The organisation Baboon Matters, which looks into the protection of the primates, says they have been calling for an integrated management plan that does not hurt the animals.
Jenny Threthowan explains, “Under that strategic management plan, we would hope that all aspects of baboon management are considered. In the northern suburbs, for example, baboons go to the vineyards and the reason they go to the vineyards is that the vineyards have encroached so high up the mountain, that the vineyard owners don’t want baboons to eat their grapes. They chase the baboons into the urban edge, and the residents get cross as baboons come to their property. So we all need to be sitting down together.”
The City’s Portfolio Committee on Spatial Development in its last meeting has decided on broader consultation. A public participation process is planned until July this year.