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The Baboons Rush into Town and Rob Everyone’s Belongings


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Where are baboons found???

Baboons are old world monkeys belonging to the genus Papio, part of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. The five species are some of the largest non-hominoid members of the primate order; only the mandrill and the drill are larger.

Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus) pair playing with stolen teddy bear toy on building, South Africa

Their diets are omnivorous, but mostly herbivorous. Yet they eat insects and occasionally prey on fish, trout and salmon if available, shellfish, vervet monkeys, and small antelopes.

They are foragers and are active at irregular times throughout the day and night. They can raid human dwellings, and in South Africa, they can prey on sheep and goats.

Humans devastating forests are the main cause of shrinking living areas of baboon, make them overflow into town and become bandits. Baboons in Cape Town drive them out of residential suburbs. And they stop them from pillaging homes and cars on brazen food raids.

Monitors who shadow the city’s several primate troops, shot the animals. Which are notorious for causing havoc in areas bordering their natural mountain habitat. “It does work, it’s actually fantastic,” said city veterinary scientist Elzette Jordan. “They hate it so much, so when they just see you with it and you shake it and they hear the paintballs rattling inside, then they move off already, and you don’t actually have to shoot.”

They used the paintballs alongside other aversion techniques while drawing up a baboon management road map.

However, some streetwise animals have learned to spot white paint and duck when it is fired, forcing monitors to use more colourful options. Cape Town’s mountainous peninsula is home to several protected Chacma baboon troops and bold plunders are frequent.

“Our current strategy is to get them 100 per cent out of urban space,” Jordan told AFP. “We want to push them back into the natural space and for us to do that, we have to teach them that they can never be quite sure and feel safe inside the urban space and that’s why we’re using aversion conditioning techniques.” The paintballs were first trialled at the beginning of the year.


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