The team from Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) were appointed in November 2019 by Overstrand Municipality to manage the Voëlklip and Pringle Bay baboon troops. These two troops are the only two that are currently being managed.
According to the baboon management report for January 2020, there was a total of 222 hotline calls, 213 of which were raid-related calls received from managed areas. This is a marked increase compared to the 107 calls received in December and 28 in November 2019. Hotline calls are for the Hermanus area only, because the Pringle Bay residents operate using another system.
The vast majority of calls (146) were from Voëlklip suburb, followed by Fernkloof with 21 calls. This month there was a significant increase in the number of hotline calls reporting raids by the Vogelgat Troop.
The Vogelgat troop spent more time in the urban area that the previous months since management of the Voëlklip troop began. The Hamilton-Russell Troop was reported on the mountainside just above Hermanus Heights on two occasions during January, compared to four occasions in December. The Vogelgat and Hamilton-Russel troops are not managed by HWS.
The Voëlklip Troop size at the end of January 2020 was 26. There were two deaths during January. A dead infant was observed being carried by its mother, and VKM4 was euthanised in terms of the guidelines for assertive raiding.
The report states that there are a number of fruit trees in Voëlklip that are frequently visited by troop members. In addition, "the majority of bins in Voëlklip are not baboon-proof and many residents often leave open refuse bags on the sidewalks. This is a major attractant for the Voëlklip Troop and greatly increases the difficulty of managing the troop - particularly on waste collection days”.
The following was recommended:
- All bins used in baboon-affected areas should be baboon-proof and locked.
- Refuse bags should not be left lying open on the sidewalk, easily available to baboons.
- The fruit which is visible on fruit trees should be harvested in baboon-affected areas to remove this attractant for baboons.
- Open vegetable gardens should be baboon-proofed. Baboon-proofing of all domestic vegetable gardens in baboon-affected areas will reduce baboon incursions into the suburbs.
- Waste and recycling collection should be prioritised to take place in the early mornings in suburbs affected by baboons. This will reduce the attractant value of the waste to baboons. This is especially important for the area north of the Main Road in Voëlklip suburb which is close to the mountainside.
- There are many tall pine and bluegum trees on the Hermanus Golf Course that provide ideal sleep sites for baboons, particularly in winter. If these trees could be removed it would greatly reduce the baboons’ incentive to sleep in town, particularly during winter.
- The majority of houses leave their doors and windows open by day and do not have burglar bars. Residents should be made aware that this attracts baboons into the area. Residents should install baboon-proof burglar bars where possible.
During January, the Pringle Bay troop entered town on 22 occasions, compared to 18 in December 2019. The troop's southern sleep sites are very close to town, and the troop would often enter town before the rangers arrive or after they have left at the end of the day.
According to the report, four unoccupied house raids were recorded in Pringle Bay during January. During all of these raids, the baboons gained entry to the house through an open door or open window.
The size of the Pringle Bay troop remained at 17.