Baboon car raids – who is to blame?

The popular Cape Town cycle tour is to be held on Sunday (12 March) and as the participants and visitors arrive in preparation for the event the peninsula is abuzz.   35,000 cyclists are registered to take part.   The lead up on the roads with the mix of cyclists, motorists, heavy vehicles, tour buses and wildlife sometimes result in dangerous situations.   The stretch of road between Millers Point and to the top of the Smitswinkel rise has been particularly challenging especially with it’s blind rises and sharp bends.  A couple of days ago, dodging cyclists and tour buses we came across this scene where a troop of baboons scattered across a section of road and motorists had pulled off to get a close-up viewing.   Generally this troop’s movements are curtailed by appointed rangers, but this day they had given them the slip.   What followed was inevitable,  car windows were open and baboons being opportunistic went to investigate.   A female baboon made off with a backpack, which fortunately she surrendered when chased.  Luckier still is that the adult male baboon following behind did not challenge the man as he retrieved the bag.  It’s doubly disappointing that careless motorists aren’t penalised or fined as this particular troop is being “conditioned” through the use of noise / pain deterence to prevent raiding behaviour.   If motorists abided by the conservation laws and kept their car windows up and doors locked the baboons would have a better chance of not becoming raiders.

Swallows

Signs of autumn appear and last week the swallows (Hirundo albigularis) were gathering, swooping  and wheeling in large flocks, getting ready for their long flight back to the northern hemisphere.

We wish them a safe journey.

“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.”  Peter Pan (JM Barrie).

WPC: Wish

The Road Taken: Ecosystem Engineers

Travelling through Sweden last summer, a back road through a forest took us through an unexpected landscape.  It looked as though a storm had cast it’s devastation striking down trees which lay hapzardly across a water course.  On closer inspection it turned out to be a piece of skillful engineering accomplished by a rather innocuous looking creature.  It was my first encounter with the extraordinary feats of a beaver family’s industrious accomplishments.

Their ability to physically alter habitats by cutting down trees, building dams, digging canals and building lodges has resulted in their recognition as ecosystem engineers.  The resulting change to the environment is far reaching, benefitting and altering the distribution and abundance of many organisms.

WPC: “The Road Taken”.