Like humans, baboons are highly adaptive primates and have thus learnt to share their territory with us.
One way in which some have adapted is to take their food from human habitats.
This practice has caused people to react in a number of ways and sometimes baboons are shot.
Because it is most often the males that are targeted by humans, troop structures and relationships become volatile and genetic mixing and infanticide impact on dwindling baboon populations.
Both humans and baboons are negatively affected by the conflict resulting from unsuccessfully sharing a territory. It is important that we find a means of harmonious co-existence.
With tolerance and patience, residents can help to manage baboons by making their properties less attractive.
Once Nature’s Valley becomes less inviting, the baboons should return to their natural habitat.
SHOOTING OF FIREARMS IN NATURE’S VALLEY IS ILLEGAL, AS IS FEEDING OF BABOONS
TROOP STRUCTURES AND SINGLE MALES
A troop has a strong hierarchal system with each individual contributing to the working of the whole group.
If you eliminate one baboon, relationships are disrupted and if it is an alpha male, this process often leads to infanticide.
The female baboons never leave their birth troop, forming the strong core. The males however, first leave when they are sub-adults and these temporary single males are called “transient males “.
They can spend up to two months alone before moving into a new troop. These males may act differently due to their vulnerability at this time but this is a temporary situation. If a single male is raiding your home, it is very likely to be a transient male who will move on in time.
The less your home attracts him, the quicker this process will be.
Most often the single transient males or the high-status males within a troop are targeted by humans.
A loss of an alpha male makes space for a new male to take over this position.
This leads to a turbulent reworking of relationships and infants are killed by the new leader.
Transient males are important to a troop’s genetic pool so their loss can have a negative impact. While troops once had up to 200 members, we no longer see this today.
HOW RESIDENTS CAN HELP TO MANAGE BABOONS
Vegetable gardens, compost heaps and fruit trees are all attractive to baboons.
To prevent damage to plants and keep the baboons out, these areas must be enclosed with a cage or electric fencing.
Windows and doors must be closed when you go out.
When at home, they should not have openings wider than 8cm. Burglar bars are the best way to avoid having baboons visit. Windows can then be kept open. Closed curtains or one- way mirror windows help too.
Keep rubbish secure in a baboon proof bin or stored in the garage until collection.
Indigenous gardens do not attract baboons as their ‘delicacies’ can be found elsewhere in areas where the baboons will not be disturbed or feel threatened.
IF BABOONS GET SOMETHING FROM YOUR PROPERTY, THEY WILL COME BACK AGAIN, AND AGAIN AND …….AGAIN
THERE IS A R500 FINE FOR FEEDING BABOONS
WHEN A BABOON COMES ONTO YOUR PROPERTY SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS:
Baboons in your garden:
Most baboons in Nature’s Valley will respond and run away when shouted at. If this does not work however, squirting water through a hosepipe has proved to be effective in The Cape Peninsula where baboons have lost all fear of people.
Baboons inside your home:
The best way to deal with an intruding baboon is to be passive. If the baboon believes you are ignoring him, he has no reason for fear and reaction.
Do not turn your eyes towards the intruder. It is also better to turn your body away or sit in a chair to be less threatening.
It is important that the baboon has an escape route. If there isn’t one, gently back up and open a window. Then make sure you are not obstructing the escape path.
Never corner or trap a baboon inside.
It is best to wait for the baboon to leave.
Never try to take back anything he may have stolen. If it is not edible, it will likely be dropped outside where you can retrieve it once he has left.
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL LONG TERM DETERRENT IS THE USE OF ELECTRIC FENCING
For further information:
Nature’s Valley Trust
044 531 6820
PO Box 230, The Crags, 6602