Baby boom sends baboon numbers soaring on Cape peninsula

Excluding Cape Point baboons, the Cape peninsula baboon population has grown to 445, the City of Cape Town said on September 2 2020.
Excluding Cape Point baboons, the Cape peninsula baboon population has grown to 445, the City of Cape Town said on September 2 2020.
Image: Gallo Images/Foto24/Taryn Carr

The baboon population of the Cape peninsula has grown by 80% since reaching its nadir 14 years ago, the City of Cape Town said on Wednesday.

Excluding the Cape Point troops, the peninsula has 445 baboons, up from 248 in 2006, said a statement about the success of a programme that aims to keep baboons away from urban areas.

The city statement followed an uproar among some animal activists in Kommetjie about the removal of a male baboon from the Slangkop troop to Tokai.

Marian Nieuwoudt, the mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, said activists tried to lure the baboon - nicknamed Kataza - back to Kommetjie on Tuesday.

“This male was born in the Slangkop troop and commenced to inbreed. He was also splintering the group and compromising the welfare of the whole troop,” she said.

“Being young and healthy, it was decided to relocate him to the northern subpopulation where his chances of outbreeding are greatly improved, and with that, the genetic health of any offspring.”

Nieuwoudt said rangers saw Kataza interacting with several female baboons in Tokai on Sunday.

“I want to urge animal activists to please work with the city and not to undermine what we are trying to achieve,” she said.

“In the end, we all want to see that the baboon troops are safe and healthy in their natural habitat, as opposed to foraging in urban areas where they are exposed to many dangers.”

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