Read the local newspapers around Cape Town and very quickly you’ll gather that baboon-human interactions are an ongoing issue. Particularly in the more rural areas, the primates tend to wander onto residential properties and cause all kind of havoc – tearing up gardens, getting into rubbish bins, and sometimes even raiding homes for food.
I wasn’t home to witness it, but yesterday one of these “break-ins” occurred at the bed-and-breakfast where I’m temporarily housed. The B&B owner said he walked into the kitchen around mid-afternoon and found a baboon helping himself to a bowl of fruit. He was even so brash as to peel a banana and leave the remains on the floor! Fortunately he left without incident, which apparently doesn’t always happen, as these “cute” creatures can bare their teeth and become pretty ferocious.
The really shocking thing to me is that it’s not like this was out in the wild – the B&B is located one block off the main street in town in a densely populated neighborhood. Most baboons are part of a troop, but it seems this fellow was acting on his own – the B&B owner said the wildlife authorities told him they are quite familiar with this particular baboon but just haven’t been able to corrall him yet.
As the saying goes, “This is Africa.”