Finding a boundary for baboons

Angela Botha, Kommetjie

I refer to the caption beneath the pictures of baboons on your commercial-feature page (Echo, February 6). It reads: “After a prolonged spell of relative order, the baboons were back in Kommetjie on a daily basis this past week leaving behind a trail of upturned bins, strewn debris, broken drainpipes and muttering homeowners as they trawled the area for easy pickings.”

For five years, Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) has taken care, very successfully, of the baboon problem in Kommetjie, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

This week we suffered seven consecutive days of havoc and raiding when both the superette as well a neighbourhood farm were raided and trashed with a a large amount of garbage littering some areas.

Komwatch received two emergency calls from homeowners whose houses were being raided or broken into.

Raiding baboons are extremely unpleasant, leaving faeces, urine and disease. I hope that it serves to remind you how grateful we should be to HWS and also Professor Justin O Riain (UCT and the Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa) as he has a special interest in sorting out conflict.

We are looking forward to re-establishing a boundary for these animals so that they no longer cause damage in our homes and with the dogs and there will be no more traumatised children, no more scratched cars, no more broken lights.

We will be able to open doors and windows and the roof tiles and gutters,and satellite dishes will be in one piece.

Sharing space with baboons is bad for people and baboons. Sharing an urban area with them results in conflict and ultimately the reduced welfare and conservation status of baboons.

So if one truly cares about wildlife, suggesting that baboons should be accepted into urban areas and appointing unqualified people to “handle” the situation is in direct contradiction with all research evidence now available.