New study on Penin­sula ba­boons

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

THE BEST way to man­age ba­boons in the Cape Penin­sula is to make sure land is avail­able for them and to keep them away from food for hu­mans, a new study re­veals.

The study was done for a doc­toral the­sis by Univer­sity of Cape Town zo­ol­ogy stu­dent Tali Hoff­man.

It has pro­vided the first de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the con­flict over space be­tween ba­boons and hu­mans in the area, the univer­sity said.

Hoff­man ex­am­ined the home range size, habi­tat pref­er­ences, daily pat­terns and di­ets of nine of the 12 troops of ba­boons in the Penin­sula in 2007.

Ac­cord­ing to her re­search, the key land­scape fea­tures which at­tract ba­boons are low al­ti­tudes and steep slopes. This is the same type of land­scape pre­ferred by hu­mans.

Hoff­man said that if the Cape Penin­sula wants to keep the ba­boons in the area, it has to make sure that not all the land is ur­banised.

The com­bi­na­tion of these vari­ables pro­vides ba­boons with ac­cess to high-qual­ity nat­u­ral and an­thro­pogenic ( caused by hu­mans) food sources in close prox­im­ity to suit­able sleep­ing sites.

Ba­boons are adapt­able and have a wide diet range. They have adapted to eat­ing hu­man food.

“We’ve added to this by hav­ing dust­bins and fruit trees in our gar­dens,” said Hoff­man.

“These must not be made ac­ces­si­ble to them so that they stop com­ing into hu­man ar­eas.”

In Septem­ber, the city of Cape Town set up a com­mit­tee to pro­mote re­la­tions be­tween hu­mans and ba­boons.

It was es­tab­lished af­ter a meet­ing called by city coun­cil­lor El­iz­a­beth Brunette. She had sought dis­cus­sion on is­sues aris­ing from ba­boon troops liv­ing in the area.

The city said it was for­mu­lat­ing new ba­boon­re­lated by-laws aimed at eas­ing ten­sions be­tween man and ba­boon. – Sapa

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