Take food out of the equation, not the baboons!

So here we have it – two more male baboons, Merlin and Force of the Smitswinkel troop are to be put down as they are deemed habitual raiders and have become aggressive.   Are you surprised?  I’m not.  It was inevitable, just as it was that Manuel the new incoming male became an accomplished raider within three weeks of arriving in the locale.   With attractants such as picnic areas, camping grounds, and an enticing restaurant where food is openly displayed and available, why wouldn’t the baboons become raiders? Top that off with people who illegally feed them, and residents with unsecured wastebins and the environment is rife with opportunity.  There is a fundamental flaw in the protection of the species when there’s a lack of management of the environment, which results in a perpetuated cycle of raiding and aggressive behaviour in the animals.  How sad it is that the baboons end up paying the price for peoples’ lack of accountability.

Merlin with a bag of bird seed.
Merlin and “Gogo”, his mate, have scored a bag of birdseed from one of the caravans in the campsite.
This photograph of Merlin and a juvenile was taken about a week after Fred was put down. The troop members appeared very subdued.
Here Force is raiding one of the fishing boats. The fishermen are not tolerant of the baboons, and often through out ‘decoy’ food to keep them away from getting onto the boats.

Merlin does his “Won’t Budge until I get the Food” trick. The occupants of both cars oblige by throwing out titbits – apple cores to get him off the car. It is illegal to feed baboons, but enforcing the law is not much in evidence.