Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Baboons go ape in North West town

Three troops of rowdy baboons are harassing Zeerust residents by rummaging for food in rubbish bins in the North West town.

The baboons, numbering about 30, first showed up at the Abjaterskop hotel just outside the town a few months ago. The hotel is near the rubbish dump, which has been moved closer to town recently.

The animals quickly learnt that rich food pickings could also be had from the rubbish bins in town.

Hotel manager Naomi Erasmus said on Tuesday she puts everything that could interest the baboons inside the building.

"Then, at least, they behave themselves a bit," she said. "But they still run across the roofs and just generally make a nuisance of themselves."

Erasmus said campers in the adjacent caravan park have had a tougher time.

"They can't even braai outside, or the baboons come. It looks like they smell the food from miles and miles away."

The baboons are obviously hungry, because there are so many of them, she said.

Residents are highly upset about this invasion of their properties.

"Meetings have been held with the municipality in an attempt to address the problem, and it was now decided to put up boards forbidding people to feed the animals.

"But that is useless. People feeding the animals is not the problem. The baboons feed from the rubbish dumps and the bins."

No one has yet been bitten by a baboon, although there is one male that is quite aggressive.

Erasmus said she spoke to nature conservation officials about this male and their reaction was: "Shoot him."

Story here.

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