Wednesday, October 18, 2006


And you thought your neighbours were a bunch of loud, wild, violent monkeys.

From the National Georgraphic :
Conflicts between baboons and humans in the suburbs of prosperous Cape Town have gotten so bad that monitoring teams have been deployed to keep the animals away.

The large monkeys invade people's homes in the coastal Table Mountain region, sometimes confronting people who try to scare the baboons off.
Residents are now basically waging war on the baboons, shooting and poisoning them, and running them down in their cars. The baboons, meanwhile, have worked out how to open doors and windows, zeroing in on the fridges, lazing around on the furniture and taking dumps on the carpet.

Sounds like some of my old house guests, back in the early 1990s.

The situation has also caused rifts within communities. In a suburb ironically named Welcome Glen, rival societies have formed, with some trying to protect the baboons and others wanting them removed or killed.

Amazing stuff. The baboons are no longer scared of the local humans.

"I have had them in my house several times, even while I was there. They simply brushed past me. I had to get out of the way," Laing said. "Even my husband got threatened by a baboon."

"They move in a troop of about 30, and they are so wide apart that it is impossible to stop them slipping into built-up areas."

Teams of humans are now lying in wait for the baboons to make a move on the populated areas, they then keep up with monkeys as best they can and try to scare them off when they try and get inside the houses.

But the baboons aren't dumb. They've already worked out what's going on. So some of them have given up the daylight raids, and get up before dawn to sneak into the towns before the locals can get organised into their patrol units.

Apparently they also know the days when rubbish is collected. They get into the garbage bins and bags before the rubbish trucks arrive.

The source of the problem is human encroachment into the baboons' historic habitat.

There are about 370 baboons in the area, and they are essentially trapped by coastal cliffs to the south and nearly complete development on the plains to the north.

Some 250 baboons live in the region's Table Mountain National Park, but it is hardly a secure home.

At about 148,260 acres (60,000 hectares), the park is a narrow, jagged strip of mountainous terrain, which is surrounded and in places fragmented by urban development.

A few years back, one of the locals decided it was time to try and freak out the baboons, by catching one and painting it white. The idea was that this would somehow scare off the others.

....all it led to was the heartbreaking sight of the rest surrounding it and grooming it until all the paint was off...
Go Here For The Full Story

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