Sunday, March 26, 2023


 Dear Readers,

Their canines are said to be
bigger than a Lion's

Cape Town takes the Booby Prize for the way it has been dealing with the Baboon problem in what is South Africa’s premier tourist Mecca.

Would you buy a property for millions that has a beautiful sea view but where you can’t  leave a single door or window open in the height of summer without the danger of baboons coming in and emptying your fridge and deep freeze and generally trashing and defecating all over your home?

Would you buy a home where you can’t plant what you want in your own garden particularly fruit and vegetables because they act like a magnet for troops of baboons that have amazing memories for where food can be had? The result: repeated raids to the same property.

Would you buy a house where all your pets like dogs, cats etc have to be kept indoors at all times in case they are torn apart by a marauding baboon?

When you have the world to choose from for your holiday would you rent an expensive house for you and your family in a very scenic location that has the scary possibility that it will be overrun by a troop of baboons because the City of Cape Town is putting the welfare of baboons before people?

In the rest of this post my comments will be in red.

A couple of weeks ago The Sunday Times carried an article headed “Baboons discover foodie haven in Constantia” a very upmarket part of the City. The story began about how guests at the luxury Ihhaya Safari Lodge found three baboons in their room rummaging through their suitcase after a long overseas flight. They even squeezed out the toothpaste so you can imagine the mess. Down the road Paul Baise found that it was impossible to prevent them from pulling out the thatch on his roof.

The worst scenario of all is that in some areas of Cape Town you have to be particularly careful with your baby. The way things are going there is every possibility that a baboon might disappear into the mountains carrying somebody’s crying child. Baboons are like us they are certainly not just vegetarians and are partial to flesh now and again.

These are the animals you can have in 
your house in Cape Town thanks to
the City Council's slack baboon management

Our estate near Kommetjie, which is not far from the centre of Cape Town, has been over run recently with baboons that have evidently been breeding like rabbits because a high percentage of them are babies. The males with the troop can be seen bonking the females all over the place. If you are worried about your young children being corrupted by this don’t come to Cape Town.

About 10 years ago baboons from mountainous areas rampaged through residential parts of  Cape Town, threatening people, damaging houses, badly injuring pets like dogs and destroying anything edible in people’s gardens.

People were prisoners in their own homes until the monitors, employed to keep them out of the urban areas were armed with paintball guns – not to shoot them, but just to scare them away. This worked very effectively and where I live the situation went from having baboons all over our houses and gardens on a regular basis to virtually none at all.

          Then goody goods at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, who appear to have great difficulty defining exactly what cruelty is, decided that these paintball guns that they originally sanctioned were actually cruel.  Without paintball guns to scare the baboons away the work of the monitors, who are employed by a private company contracted to the City Council, was made totally ineffective. These primates would just give them the two fingers and carry on raiding homes and gardens just as they used to do.

          Two years ago when I last wrote a post about this Belinda Abraham, the Communications Manager of the Cape of Good Hope SPSA “clarified” the position by saying that the SPCA has not “banned or prohibited the use of paintball guns” but had merely withdrawn their endorsement of their use. 

          To show how mixed up the SPCA is about the use of these guns she added: “A method that was reviewed and supported previously may no longer be relevant, appropriate or humane now. The SPCA will not support methods that are considered inhumane and cruel or that have insufficient supporting information.”

          The Council then stopped their monitors using them, only to let them go back to the paintball method when the baboon menace became impossible to control any other way.

          Earlier this month I sent the following email to Cape Town’s Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis:

“The baboon situation in our estate of Imhoff’s Gift near Kommetjie is once again getting completely out of hand with whole troops all over the place. If you have a small dog, as I do, you have to leave it in the house when you go out in case it gets taken out by a baboon. Apart from the fact that if you grow anything like vegetables or fruit the baboons will trash them. For some years the problem was kept to a reasonable level but it now appears to have got out of hand once again. Are there far less monitors now?

Something drastic needs to be done urgently. We can’t be expected to be prisoners in our own homes. DO BABOONS PAY RATES?”

          This is the reply I got was from Julia Wood, a manager in the Council’s Environmental Management Department. “I agree with you that the current tender is less effective than previously. So it’s not surprising that the baboon menace it getting back to what to it was This is due to the tools utilised to keep baboons out of the urban area such as paintball-markers and bear bangers being less effective over time due to the presence of raiding males (previously habitual raiding males were euthanatized), No wonder there are now babies all over the place with males making more by humping females for all to see. By letting things slide the Council is just making a bigger and bigger problem for the future reduced ratio of rangers to baboons (most baboon troops have grown), How stupid is that for the Council to reduce the number of rangers when it knows the baboon numbers have increased habituation to use of aversive methods, and reduction in use of these aversion tools due to welfare concerns.” of the baboons not us humans who pay the rates that keep the Council in existence.

She finished her email by tell me that effectively keeping baboons out of our homes was not the Council’s problem IT WAS OURS.

“A final note is that private house security is up to the individual resident / landowner.  Our service provider, NCC (071 5886540) can assist to advise you on this. The installation of a strategic baboon fence is really the only long term solution and I encourage you to work with your community to assist us with solutions.” The estate I am in is surrounded by a fence which is electrified at the top and I have seen a big male baboon walk up to it and casually climb over it without any sign of being shocked. So what kind of expense would individual home owners have to go to ensure that a fence around their property is completely baboon proof?

          The Sunday Times told us that the Constantia baboon troop dubbed CT2 had made a tactical blunder because they are scheduled to be removed under a draft management plan that was tabled at a public meeting in the area. In her email to me Julia Wood did not mention that there was any possibility of us residents in Imhoff’s Gift being given the same kind of protection. How odd is that. Is it only for the rich?


          Jon, a Consumer Watchdog who believes baboons should either be in the zoo or well up in the mountains and nowhere near where people live. Those baboon huggers who say the baboons were here first should just remember that the original indigenous people of the Cape were the Khoi. So are they all Khoi or too coy to admit it?




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