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'The baboons and monkeys are back' George Municipality warns residents

Aug 14, 2018
'The baboons and monkeys are back' George Municipality warns residents

As winter sets in and natural food sources for animals become scarcer, reports of baboons and monkeys foraging in residential areas have increased, the George Municipality warned residents and businesses.

George Municipality Ward 18 Councillor, Jannie van der Westhuizen, said he has received constantphone calls regarding baboons wreaking havoc in neighbourhoods in his ward.

“I have met with Protection Services Director Steven Erasmus and the municipality’s baboon monitors. We have discussed possible solutions and I have been assured that everything possible is being done to improve the current situation,” said Van der Westhuizen.

George Municipality Director Protection Services, Steven Erasmus, said the municipality and CapeNature have been working together for years to address aspects of baboon management, but residents in affected areas also have a major role to play and neighbours should work together to reduce access to possible food sources.

“It may be inconvenient and feel unfair, but baboons and monkeys are a reality in a city surrounded by primates’ natural habitat and humans must adapt also,” said Erasmus.

The trick is to give baboons no reason to enter your property, which means no visible or accessible sources of food:

  • Keep dustbins locked, caged in or locked away.
  • Secure sliding doors so that baboons cannot gain access, by using for example burglar proofing bolts.
  • Keep windows and doors shut, especially when leaving the house and/or when troops are in the vicinity.
  • Install burglar bars with gaps smaller than 8cm, including sides and tops of bars on windows you usually keep open.
  • Don’t leave food where it is visible from the outside.
  • Do not leave pet food outside.
  • Do not feed wild birds and animals on the property as this often attract baboons.
  • Vegetable and fruit gardens/pots are also great attractions for baboons.

For the above mitigating measures to be most effective, all residents in baboon-visited neighbourhoods should make a concerted effort to ensure there is no easy access to food as baboons are more likely to move on if there is nothing for them to eat.

The George Municipality has two fulltime employees dedicated to baboon management. Preventative measures include intercepting baboon troops at their access points from the mountains, frightening them away with paint ball markers as well as responding to reports of destructive behaviour and roaming in residential areas.

Residents can also help identifying problem animals by photographing or filming them on their cellphones and sending the information to sprins@george.gov.za Any specific identification marks, such as scars or skew limbs, can  be very useful. If proven data of specific problem individuals exist, specific management interventions will be implemented.

George Municipality Director Community Services Manager, Walter Hendricks, said the municipality also made a special effort to remove refuse in baboon-affected areas first on refuse collection days, but if they did not get there before the baboons, a cleansing team will be called upon to attend to spilled waste.

If baboons come into your home when you are there, try to stay calm and:

  • Back off slowly and identify the baboon’s shortest escape route. Baboons usually exit where they have entered.
  • It is essential baboons are not trapped or cornered: open doors and windows to make it easy for them to leave.
  • Never try to get food back from a baboon, it will fight to keep it.
  • Make it obvious that you are confident and serious about getting them out.
  • To coax a stubborn baboon out the house, make a noise and wave your arms from a safe distance. Ensure that you herd the baboon towards an escape route.

 Contact:

  • George Municipality Baboon Management: 044 801 6350 or 044801 6300 after hours.
  • George Municipality Cleansing Department: 044 802 2900
  • CapeNature Conservation Services: 044 802 5300
  • George Municipality www.george.gov.za