The results of the three and a half month long, donor-funded Baboon Protector Project which came to an end in July have now been analysed. The donation was made to ‘protect the baboons’, and the Baboon Liaison Group (BLG) identified the troop at Miller’s Point / Smitwinkel Bay for the project as it is most habituated to, and thus threatened by, humans.
During the course of the project, the Baboon Protector on duty stopped 1221 vehicles to provide educational information. Whilst baboon raids on vehicles were prevented, regrettably few instances of human misbehaviour were reported to Law Enforcement (4 incidents of feeding baboons and 3 cases of cruelty). The Protector found that people ignored warnings and in some cases he was subjected to aggressive behaviour from fishermen and visitors.
The project highlighted the need for a different vision for baboon management. We do not need ‘baboon monitors’, we need well-trained ‘baboon conservation officers’ who are empowered to contribute towards effective law enforcement which leads to prosecution. The analysis of the project again emphasised the need to focus attention more on human behaviour rather than baboon behaviour: people management rather than baboon management. The BLG is now holding a number of meetings with the baboon management authorities to push for an evaluation of the current approach baboon management on the Peninsula in the light of the findings from the Project.
extract from Simon’s Town Civic Association Newletter September 2011-
Compiled by Lesley Shackleton