Baboon snacked in Jozi veggie gardens, but hunger led to capture

29 July 2019 - 14:28 By Nico Gous
A baboon that has been on the loose in Johannesburg for about a month has been captured.
A baboon that has been on the loose in Johannesburg for about a month has been captured.

The baboon that has been on the loose in Johannesburg was captured in Krugersdorp on Sunday.

“We were able to place the trap in an area he had visited and hoped that he would visit again, and he did … He’s going to be moved to a primate facility, where he will be observed for a day or two, although he’s looking quite fine. Then he will be released into an area that’s less hostile for him,” Community Led Animal Welfare (Claw) founder Cora Bailey said on Monday.

The baboon was first spotted about a month ago and has been seen in Krugersdorp, Florida, Northcliff, Quellerina and Helderkruin. He was trapped  with the help of local residents. 

“He’s very hungry. For a male baboon to be out on his own is very hazardous. Being part of a troop, he has protection. They have their routes that they follow. But he did find food in the suburbs, especially Northcliff, Constantia Kloof, in those areas there are lots of people with veggie gardens."

“Ideally, there should be no need to track these poor animals. They should be allowed to go on their natural way … They don’t pose a danger to anyone. Obviously if you cornered him in a small space, he would react, just like any other animal would,” Bailey said.

“They actually do all they possibly can to avoid contact with people and animals. They are frightened of us. They don’t want to mess with us. They just want to be on their way.”

Footage from a drone captured earlier tracked the baboon running along walls and balconies, before heading down a road in Northcliff.

Bailey said wild animals will become more visible in the suburbs as urban areas expand and encroach on their habitat.

“We’ve built everywhere. We’ve got freeways and shopping malls, golf estates and so on and so on. The animals are doing what they’ve always been doing, but we’re just seeing them more because there are a lot of us.”

Bailey had been worried about the baboon’s safety after someone called for it to be shot.

“He’s really just doing what nature intended and I think we should wise up to that and not become hysterical when we see something that actually is where it should be. We shouldn’t be building on all these ridges and then be all surprised when we find a wild animal.”