Baboon with the fullest cheek pouches.

Summer’s _Careless Tourists

The action follows on from the previous post where the international windsurfing set had gathered at Platboom, Cape of Good Hope Reserve.  While most spectators’ attention was on the daring windsurfers out in the big seas, a drama unfolded on shore, when a wiley old female baboon staked out the cars waiting for a raiding opportunity.  And she hit the jackpot – a car door was open and she made off with an easy lunch.  Stuffed into those impressively full cheek pouches are a half dozen crispy breadrolls as well as a banana.

When the baboons lose their fear of humans and start raiding for human-derived food they can become overly persistent and even aggressive in their pursuit of an easy meal and land up being euthanased.   “Problem” people are generally the cause of this change in the animals’ behaviour through actions of feeding or teasing the baboons or in this case where the food was too easily ‘available’.

15 thoughts on “Summer’s _Careless Tourists

  1. It makes me so mad when I see this happening … were there no Cape Point Reserve rangers on duty there keeping an eye on things? At the very least, the organisers of this event should have made sure the windsurfers and their friends were warned about the possible presence of baboons at Platboom.

  2. Tourists can be careless, and this also messes with the diet of animals. I have seen monkeys eating chips and chocolate, and this is not usual diet for monkeys

  3. People are the problem as you say – I am not overly fond of baboons since being attacked by one in my vehicle, nonetheless I am acutely aware that it is a result of the wrongdoing of people that the baboons become so fearless and ready to snatch what they can. Rangers cannot be everywhere, but individual visitors can take precautions.

  4. Well, you can’t blame the old lady for taking advantage can you? Educating people not to feed wild animals and birds seems to be an impossible task; the Barbary Apes in Gibraltar are the perfect example of tourists finding them cute and giving food, which has led to ‘attacks’ on people they think may have food on them. Similarly with the Herring Gulls in our British seaside towns.

    1. True, people need monitoring more than the animals! Watched a documentary on the macaques in Bali where they ‘rob’ tourists of jewellery or sunglasses, handbags and wait until food is offered to distract them before relinquishing hold of the item … clever creatures. We had an old male baboon here who would hop onto the bonnets of cars and then adopt “a won’t budge” strategy until the occupants threw out food to get him to move. Worked most times. Amazing that -how gulls can home in on food offerings and then they get the bad rap. People!!

  5. When I was in Kenya, with my husband and our two children over a decade ago,our guide told us that on the road to Mombasa there is a group of baboons and one man gave one of the baboons something a bun with an exgremely hot and spicy curry sauce on it. The poor baboon was distraught and in tremendous discomfort. the man and his family laughed and drove off. On the way back they stopped again. This time a baboon, possibly the same one , came up and leapt up to the man’s window, reached in and seriously injured the man . I do not know if this story is true but I’m afraid I hope it is!! Serves him right.

  6. WE have a similar problem on Fraser Island off the Queensland coast, where mainly European visitors insist on feeding the Dingoes. The result? Dingoes get too familiar and aggressive with humans and sometimes attack. A pity the tourists don’t get euthanized instead of the animals.

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