Thugs Run Amuk!

From MSNBC baboons are becoming quite a handful in Cape Town, South Africa:

Trethowan works with a team of baboon monitors, nine men recruited from a poor community whose job it is to shepherd the animals away from built-up areas.
But the baboons know they will find dustbins full of leftovers in the suburban yards and that an open window can mean there is a bowl of tempting fruit within easy reach.
The troop splits into two and they charge across a road toward the houses. The monitors drive some of them back to the reserve, but others hurdle garden walls and grab what they can.
“They’re getting used to getting easy food,” said Trethowan. “The way to stop it is for people to install baboon-proof garbage cans, put burglar bars on their windows and avoid growing fruit trees in their gardens.”


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*snip*

One resident who did not want to be named said he had tried in vain to drive off a big male baboon with a powerful catapult — against the law because the animals are protected.
“I also hit him with a wooden pole, and he didn’t flinch,” the resident said. “He was totally fearless. You can be sitting in your front room with a bowl of fruit on the table, and a baboon will come through the door and steal it.”
Trethowan said the introduction of monitors had helped but many more would be needed to keep watch over all the baboons in the peninsula — 253 divided into 11 troops.
Researcher Esme Beamish, who conducted the latest baboon census, said the population had increased 1.6 percent since last year, thanks partly to the work of the monitors who were reducing conflict.
“Baboons in southern Africa are not currently at risk … but the Cape Peninsula troops are under threat,” she said.

It sounds to me like humans moving into their territory. We have the same problems with deer in parts of St. Louis County, where people have built subdivisions in areas occupied by deer and are now upset because the deer are eating their gardens…

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4 Responses

  1. people like that piss me off. we’re an invasive species, dangit. And honestly, if I move into an area like that, it’s BECAUSE of the wildlife.
    Personally as an animal handler I deal with baboon threats by doing a dominance display, hooting, and banging a pan against a nearby fence or the ground.
    But that only works because I’m almost as hairy and slightly uglier than your average baboon.

  2. There was a long documentary about these baboons and their “monitors” shown here in the UK a few months ago … does anyone know what it was called? If you can get hold of it, I would highly recommend it.

  3. Of course homo sapiens are the invasive species, but I have to admit I would be a bit afraid of them too. I’m not real hairy and I’m pretty small so I don’t think I would be able to scare them.
    Luckily we haven’t had any problems with deer eating our gardens where we live, but if we did we’d just put up a fence.

  4. It is the same way all over the west, be it rattlesnakes, cougars, wolves or bears. People profess to love the wilderness until they run into an inconvenient animal who happens to live there, and the animals almost always lose.

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