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Sustainability Research Unit George Campus

16/05/2017

City sprawl, diminishing habitat and increasing baboon numbers have resulted in increasing urban human-baboon conflict, widely publicised issue in the City of Cape Town and surrounds.
In George, the recent emergence of baboon WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, press releases, appointment of wildlife monitors and the occasional baboon in the street, prompted two NMMU researchers, Ryan Kaye and Chloe Guerbois (Phd), to do a research project on human-baboon conflict in George and share the outcomes with George Herald readers.
 
A year into the study, they are sharing their insights with the public.
 
Main points that emerged from the study so far are:
  • There are four main baboon communities in George, of which the ones from the plantation areas adjoining Denneoord and Eden impact on residents most.
  • Open access to garbage and the presence of fruits trees were the most significant factors increasing the likelihood of baboon damage on properties. Placing rubbish bags in baboon-proof bins or in a locked store-room, significantly reduces raiding incidents. One resident reported that placing leftover food in a separate bag stopped baboons raiding through the black bags.
  • Agressive responses to problem animals (for example shooting and threatening) often result in transferring the problem to neighbours. It has been reported to increase aggressive behaviours from wildlife towards humans (and between humans), worsening the situation.
  • The George baboon situation is not yet as bad as in other towns and it is the right time to act as the costs could still be kept low for both humans and baboons. Long-term conservation will require that we take a different approach to our relationships with the natural world and adjust our planning of residential vegetable gardens and orchards, in order to achieve longer-term solutions.

 

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