The City of Cape Town has said that a male baboon from Smitswinkel Bay was put down on Thursday after its raiding behaviour put other baboons from the area in danger as well. File picture: Brenton Geach/African News Agency
The City of Cape Town has said that a male baboon from Smitswinkel Bay was put down on Thursday after its raiding behaviour put other baboons from the area in danger as well. File picture: Brenton Geach/African News Agency

Smitswinkel Bay baboon put down as its raiding put other baboons in danger

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 8, 2021

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has said that a male baboon from Smitswinkel Bay was put down on Thursday morning after its raiding behaviour put other baboons from the area in danger as well.

The City said the male baboon left his natal Plateau Road troop in December 2018, and successfully joined the Smitswinkel Bay troop soon after.

However, towards the latter part of last year the baboon started raiding occupied and unoccupied houses in the Murdoch Valley area and beyond.

Between October 1 in 2020 and February 28, the male baboon entered the urban area on more than 40 occasions. In February 2021 alone the baboon entered houses on more than 10 occasions while residents were inside.

“A splinter group of females and juveniles from the Smitswinkel Bay troop started following the male baboon into the urban area over the past several weeks. This behaviour put the whole splinter group in danger as well,” the City said.

They added that over the past few months the local community has been extensively engaged on how to baboon-proof their properties, and manage waste in an attempt to deter the raiding behaviour.

Some of the measures implemented to reduce food attractants included:

  • the permanent removal of bins, and closure of braai facilities at the picnic site at Miller’s Point
  • recommendations to the local boat and ski-club on how to reduce food attractants at their facilities
  • discussions with local restaurant owners about waste management and baboon-proofing of kitchens

The City added that residents also joined the ‘Chacma Challenge’ – a community-led initiative to provide free baboon-proofing of waste bins – but none of these actions succeeded in deterring the raiding baboon’s behaviour.

“Baboon rangers’ attempts to deter the male baboon from entering Murdoch Valley had very limited success. Despite reallocating more resources, and increasing community engagements about waste management, the baboon had increasing and significant direct contact with residents,” the City said.

The City added: “Of great concern was that he could contract and spread Covid-19 from close contact with residents.

“In the interest of the safety of the Smitswinkel Bay troop, and the safety of local residents, it was recommended to CapeNature and SANParks that the raiding baboon be euthanised.

“He was at risk of being injured or killed through inhumane methods due to spending more and more time in the urban area, while also leading a splinter group into Murdoch Valley,” the City said.

CapeNature, who supported the removal of this baboon, issued the permit, and the City confirmed that an independent veterinarian assisted with the procedure that took place earlier today.

“It is believed that the general welfare of the Smitswinkel Bay troop will increase over time, as the splinter group returns to their natural habitat to forage for food,” they said.

Cape Argus

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