Raiding baboon euthanised in Cape Town

08 April 2021 - 16:24
By Aron Hyman
A male baboon
Image: 123RF/zixian A male baboon "entered the urban area on more than 40 occasions" between October 1 2020 and February 28 this year, the City of Cape Town said, and in February alone entered houses on more than 10 occasions while residents were inside. Stock photo.

Frequent raids by a baboon on homes in Cape Town’s southern peninsula came to an end after he was euthanised on Thursday.

It was the end of a journey for the baboon, which left his Plateau Road troop and went on to lead a splinter group of baboons into an urban area.

No manner of deterrence could bring the baboon to change his ways.

The baboon left the Plateau Road troop, situated in a less populated part of the southern peninsula, in December 2018 and joined the Smitswinkel Bay troop.

The city said in a statement that he started raiding occupied and unoccupied houses in  Murdoch Valley in Simon’s Town and beyond.

“Between October 1 2020 and February 28 2021, the male baboon entered the urban area on more than 40 occasions, and in February 2021 alone he entered houses on more than 10 occasions while residents were inside,” the city said in a statement.

“A splinter group of females and juveniles from the Smitswinkel Bay troop started following the male baboon into the urban area over the past several weeks. This behaviour put the whole splinter group in danger as well.”

Over the past few months, the local community had baboon-proofed their properties and managed waste in a bid to deter the raiding behaviour. Rubbish bins were removed and braai facilities closed at a picnic site at Miller’s Point. Local restaurant owners were consulted about waste management and baboon-proofing of kitchens.

“Residents also joined the ‘Chacma Challenge’, a community-led initiative to provide free baboon-proofing of waste bins to secure waste and reduce food attractants in the area,” said the city.

The raids continued.

Baboon rangers also tried to deter the baboon from entering Murdock Valley, but with limited success.

“Despite reallocating more resources, and increasing community engagements about waste management, the baboon had increasing and significant direct contact with residents,” said the city.

Concern was raised about the baboon contracting and spreading Covid-19 to other baboons and residents. 

“In the interest of the safety of the Smitswinkel Bay troop, and the safety of local residents, it was recommended to CapeNature and SANParks that the raiding baboon be euthanised.

“He was at risk of being injured or killed through inhumane methods due to spending more and more time in the urban area, while also leading a splinter group into Murdoch Valley.”

CapeNature issued a permit for the animal to be put down which was done with the help of an independent veterinarian.