Man dies after baboon shoves him

By Aziz Hartley Time of article published Feb 5, 2010

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An elderly man died after a baboon knocked him off a ramp at a Simon's Town shelter for homeless people - leading to renewed calls for authorities to ensure the baboon troop in the area gets monitored.

Michael Bates, 69, a resident of the Happy Valley Home, died on Sunday - three days after falling 2 metres.

The shelter's deputy chairman, Wilf Nussey, said "waterfall" baboon troop that roams Red Hill and surrounds was the only troop in the Peninsula not being monitored.

He said there had been countless complaints from residents about this troop which had become "urbanised" and had lost its fear of people.

"Yes, the call is to extend the contract to monitor baboons. The current contract has left out the waterfall baboons," Nussey said.

He said members of this troop had previously entered the shelter's dormitory, but left when residents chased them. The alpha male, Jimmy, was very aggressive.

"I don't know the exact details but apparently Jimmy was in the dormitory and was chased out - and as he came charging down the ramp, Michael, who was apparently standing at the end of the ramp, was in the way and got shoved off," Nussey said.

Happy Valley Home manager Cindy Dollery said: "It was a freak accident. I've been told that one of the residents threw a jug of water at the baboon and, as it ran out, Mr Bates was knocked down. He died in his sleep on Sunday."

She said the authorities knew about problems with the waterfall troop.

Nussey said: "This is the most urbanised troop and it is excluded from monitoring.

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