Living with Baboons

Fun Facts about baboons.
Baboons and humans share 99% of our DNA – they are a lot like us!
Baboons mainly eat plants and insects in the wild.
If they can’t get food from humans they will stay on the mountains where they are safe.
In Cape Town, where we live close to baboons, they have learned that our food is delicious and easy to pinch, but it is not healthy for them to eat our food. See more in image provided.

Understanding baboons
The most important thing to understand about baboons is that they are a lot like us!
Baboons have the same opposable thumbs as we do, they have individual finger prints and finger nails (not claws). Baboons also show the same range of emotions as humans do – they mourn when their family members die, fight and squabble over food, look after each and have strict discipline in the troop.
Never feed baboons – if you feed baboons along the side of the road, they will remain there and will be at risk of being killed by passing traffic. In urban areas feeding baboons will encourage them to keep returning for easy food rewards – it is better and safer for baboons and humans if baboons stay out of residential area

Prevent entry into your home:

Curtains or netting prevent the baboons from seeing into your home – if they can’t see any obvious food source they will be less likely to try and gain entry into your house.
Install burglar bars and ensure there is no more than an 8cm gap in the bars. Get baboon clips but install 2 per window.
Juvenile baboons and even some of the sub-adults can get through cat and dog flaps! There are devices that you can attach to the collar of your domestic pet so that the flaps only open as they approach and don’t remain open all the time
Put additional locks onto sliding doors to stop baboons forcing them off their runners.
Use round door handles wherever possible as the baboons find these handles difficult to grasp.

Baboon in my house

If you do find a baboon in your kitchen the best thing to do is to remain calm. The baboon is taking a big risk entering your property and will therefore be very nervous, the last thing you want to do is make them any more frightened than they already are. As soon as it realizes that it has been rumbled it will want to make a hasty retreat. Let it, and let it go with what ever it has decided to steal, it’s really not worth fighting the animal over a few scraps of food. The best thing to do is to make the path of escape as easy as possible. Open a door or window and get well out of the way. The chances are though that the animal will try and leave the same way that it came in, if you can see where that is then try and stay well clear of the baboon’s path to this exit. Close any internal doors so that it cannot get access to the rest of the house and stay calm. If you become aggressive then you cannot expect anything but aggression back.
Once the animal has left the premises secure all open doors and windows to discourage a return. Then set about assessing the risk of a repeat offense, because if the baboon sees your property as a place to get an easy meal and you don’t do anything to prevent access then it will return and do the same thing again.

No Easy Pickings – No Baboons (WASTE MANAGEMENT)
Every resident living in a known baboon area has a responsibly to practice good waste management. Leaving waste bins unsecured not only puts the baboons in danger, but also poses a risk to the community.
Take your rubbish to the dump. Place only in baboon proof bins. If you rent your house make sure the holiday makers know about rubbish and baboons. The Bylaw for the area requires all rubbish to be put in animal proof containers.

Tips for your Garden

Fruiting trees, vines, vegetable patches and herb gardens (and even fish ponds and water features) offer rich rewards to baboons and attract them to residential areas.
Nothing is more infuriating than your lovingly tended veggie patch being destroyed by baboons in a matter of minutes! Baboon-proof your vegetable garden – there are various options for this such as wire or mesh that will let the sunshine in but not baboons.
Use contained composting bins, rather than an open compost heap,

The most important part:
If possible, plant and keep indigenous plants that offer no fruits or seeds that baboons will eat. (Pringle Bay, Rooi Else, Bettys Bay ) the area is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. A Fynbos garden is easy maintenance, waterwise and retains the wild life in the area such as smaller antelope, mongoose, dassies, Cape hares, porcupines, tortoises, several frog species and bird life.

Information credited to:

http://www.capepointchronicle.co.za