An adult male baboon, known as Scarface, of the small Betty’s Bay baboon troop, was captured and fitted with a GPS collar on 25 March 2021.
This will enable the Overstrand Municipality to track his movements and that of the troop which he represents.
The collaring of Scarface was successful and the Overstrand Municipality’s Senior Environmental Manager, Liezl de Villiers, thanked the service provider who has been appointed to assist with baboon management in baboon affected areas, Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS), the Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group (BBBAG), SANBI and the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, her team from the Environmental Management Section, as well as other partners who are working together to try and manage the baboons in that area.
Managing the Betty’s Bay Baboons
It is essential that all community members - those who love baboons as well as those who don’t - work together to at least ensure that the Baboon Management Programme is a success.
Overstrand Municipality’s Environmental Management Services (EMS) Department has been working closely with the Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group and is grateful for their years’ of hard work and the vast amount of knowledge on baboons they have shared with the Municipality and the Betty’s Bay community.
At this moment Overstrand is finalising the implementation of a “trial period” together with the service provider HWS and BBBAG to develop an “Adaptive Management Approach” for the baboon management programme in Betty’s Bay. This partnership approach comes from long discussions and deliberations with the Western Baboon Liaison Group on how to proceed with a sustainable management approach for baboon management here.
Tamzyn Zweig, Environmental Officer for Kleinmond said it has become increasingly evident that the success of the Overstrand Baboon Management Programme here depends on the full co-operation of the whole community in Betty’s Bay. “The Baboon Management Programme is in its infant stage, and although the baboon known as Scarface has been fitted with a GPS collar, it is going to be extremely difficult for management measures to be effective if the community does not work together to ensure there are fewer attractions for the troop in the village,” she reiterated.
“We are all working toward the same goal: to mitigate human/wildlife conflict in the Bettys’ Bay area,” De Villiers said.
Thank you to these partners for your willingness to work together. We hope to broaden this team effort to the rest of the community so we can ensure the Baboon Management Programme is a success for both the baboons and the residents of Betty’s Bay.
Do your part - waste management
Many residents put out bird seed, vegetable scraps and fruit for birds and smaller mammals such as porcupines. These are easy pickings for a baboon and results in the baboons returning to the same properties time and time again. Vegetable gardens can be a problem, but there are many cost-effective ways to secure these from not only the baboons but other wildlife that may destroy them. Alien invasive tree species such as New Zealand Christmas Trees and other fruit bearing trees such as water berries also attract baboons and draw them into the urban area. These trees need to be pruned so that they do not flower and bear fruit which attracts baboons.
Unfortunately, baboon-aware neighbours, despite their efforts to reduce human/wildlife conflict, also suffer the consequences.
New residents to the Kogelberg Biosphere area are often not made aware of the baboons by real estate agents, and unfortunately there are no building regulations that ensure that homes designed by “out-of-town” architects are baboon proofed.
The Environmental Management Services (EMS) Department do review building plans and recommend that new homes are fitted with baboon proofing, but at this stage, baboon proofing is not enforceable by law.
The Overstrand Integrated Waste By-law is currently out for public comment. The updated by-law will hugely impact on how residential waste is managed and ensure that residents in baboon areas are required by law to have a baboon proof waste bin.
Let’s work together
Pete Oxford of the Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group, wrote the following:
“When Scarface joined the Betty’s Bay troop in February last year, it was reasoned that he had dispersed from the Hangklip/Blesberg troop where it is known that the baboon males are regularly fed deliberately by well-meaning but totally misguided residents.
Scarface has become smarter over time and he is actively breaking sliding doors and windows to gain entry into houses. We fully understand the problems and completely sympathise with the affected households.
Much more of course needs to be done, on many levels, to address the cause of this. We are always available for advice and our BBBAG Facebook page has some great tips. BBBAG has, to date, been successful in averting house entries in many cases.
Unfortunately, there are still MANY households that put out ‘food for the birds’ in the areas where the Betty’s Bay troop forage. Baboons love this! It is HIGHLY predictable which route the troop will follow, according to which sector they are in, correlated exactly to these ‘feeding stations for birds. The households adjacent to those where these feeders are placed are negatively impacted and it is up to them to apply community pressure this to stop.
BBBAG has spent an inordinate amount of time, in their entirely voluntary capacity, advising homeowners how to mitigate baboon entries simply and cheaply.
Killing Scarface, as advocated by one side of the discussion is not the answer. Dozens of similar male baboons have been killed by baboon management over the years, yet the issues remain ongoing.
Remove the attractants! Misinformation is rife. Around our coastline there are a number of ‘sterile’ towns. What we have in Bettys Bay is special and so much more than a beach holiday destination. For the very many who have shown support for the baboons, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and biodiversity, we thank you.”
Photo credit: Pete Oxford Photography