KNYSNA NEWS - As winter approaches and food in the veld and forests decline, local baboon populations are increasingly encroaching on residential areas in the Knysna municipal area in search of other sources of sustenance.
While the Knysna Municipality is working together with residents' associations and conservation agencies to come up with a baboon management plan for its municipal area, Knysna Municipal Manager Lauren Waring asked local residents to do their part in dealing with the related issues.
“Residents can help a lot by not feeding baboons, locking up food waste and not leaving pet food outside. Residents on the edges of town in particular should accept that they have chosen their properties because they want to live in natural surroundings, and with that comes wild animals. The reality of this choice includes accepting that you cannot have vegetable gardens or fruit trees on your property or keep feeders for wild birds, as these attract baboons,” she said.
Waring said the municipality had met with CapeNature and local residents associations to discuss an integrated and sustainable approach to baboon management.
“We encourage all affected residents, housing estates and associations to join the Knysna Baboon Action Group, who is behind several initiatives to track and report problem baboons as well as the Baboon Management Plan. This kind of issue is best addressed when all affected parties work together. It is not a simple matter with a simple solution, but other communities have in the past been successful with collective efforts and we believe that we can be too,” said Waring.
She appealed to residents to not use illegal means to chase baboons, such as shooting or poisoning, as it could pose risks to other persons and animals, and carry stiff penalties.
“When the Knysna Baboon Management Plan is in place, CapeNature can assist with addressing problem baboons in particular. Until then, we can take precautionary steps and turn the hosepipe on them,” said Waring.
Useful information on handling baboons on the municipality’s website can be found here.