New study on Peninsula baboons
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