The arrival of baboon troops - mostly on the southern side of Plett - have now become a major problem. They are getting into people’s homes, destroying everything they find, killing livestock and attacking dogs.
Our Baboon Chat Group is full of suggestions and remedies and, as usual, you have those ‘for’ and those ‘against’, most of the latter resolving to handle the menace themselves. We are told we are invading their space; however, when we moved to Plett 20 years ago, there was not a baboon in sight in any residential areas.
There have been discussions on getting so-called experts from different parts of the country to come and advise us on the action to be taken, but I fear there will be nothing new to add.
Some of the alpha males in the group are very large and intimidating but, I have noticed, will run off when confronted. They are also more frightened of men than women, but will take any chance they can get in their hunt for food for themselves and their ever-growing families, which seem to be breeding faster than rats or rabbits.
Cape Town as well as many of the wine farmers appear to have appointed baboon watchers.
This idea has also been discussed for Plett, but I don’t think we are going to get much assistance from Cape Nature, who maintains it is the responsibility of Bitou Municipality - which I believe to be correct. This service should be covered by the rates we pay.
Over holiday seasons, we see a huge increase in khaki-clad law enforcement personnel, who walk around in groups of five or so. The same five also set to issuing parking tickets aplenty.
Apparently, we do have a number of law enforcement staff only seen occasionally in town. Why can’t some of these municipal employees be used to react to baboon callouts from residents and respond accordingly?
Surely this is the responsibility of Bitou Municipality, and not that of private security companies - as was witnessed in Maplin Drive on Sunday morning, when an ADT officer was slowly driving down the road before getting out of his car and going down several driveways to chase baboons off the properties.
It can’t be too long before there is a serious incident, possibly involving baboons and a young child or an elderly person.
Do we have to wait for this to happen before action is taken? The time of talking about it is over.
Robberg Resident, Plett
(The bothersome baboon issue has been debated on these pages before - turn to page 11 of the July 10, 2019 edition at www.cxpress.co.za and read ‘A different kind of looting’ - but we will endeavour to procure an update from Bitou Municipality on the progress made in terms of training ‘baboon chasers’ as part of the expanded Public Works mentioned by Cape Nature head Henk Nieuwoudt in this context last year. - Eds.)