Outcome of Baboon Meeting

 
 

Executive summary

Context

A self-appointed ad hoc committee tasked with preparing a primate management plan called a public meeting believing baboons are a village problem requiring a village solution. A proposal, based on research and expertise in the field of human wildlife conflict was presented and approved at the meeting based on the premise baboons be kept out of Greyton for the sake of baboons and humans.

The problem

Baboons, an occasional feature of Greyton, are increasingly visiting the village foraging for fruit, vegetables, water and shade. In a survey undertaken it is evident residents North of Kloof Street are experiencing increased incidents of destruction of veggie gardens, trees and property as well as worries for personal safety and that of children and pets. Baboons are attracted to Greyton because it offers easy pickings and is accessible. Poor/Inadequate waste management is a contributing factor.

The cost of doing nothing

  • Escalation is inevitable. If unchecked the baboons will extend their foraging range to include all of Greyton with daily incusions into the village.
  • Baboons will start entering homes in search of food/trash.
  • Significant property damage – thatch, gutters, fences, trees, satellite dishes.
  • A change in lifestyle. Residents will have to lock doors and windows and be on constant alert.
  • Visitors/Tourists affected which may impact tourism.
  • Baboons cannot be untrained. If they habituate to Greyton, the problem will become entrenched.

Legal framework

  • Need to follow baboon management policies of Cape Town and Cape Nature.
  • Euthanasia cannot be undertaken without following the correct procedures dictated by the policy. It is also not proven to be effective. Cape Nature does not support relocation.

Draft proposal

  • Introduce non-lethal, non-aggressive monitor programme starting June 2017. Go big or go home.
  • Programme to employ one manager and four monitors (or more) on duty daily – sunrise-sunset.
  • Equal importance placed on the protection and conservation of the baboons.

Monitors tasked with:

  • Ensuring baboons do not cross an identified buffer zone and enter Greyton by following the baboons and acting as a deterrent.

  • Collect data of movements and numbers of baboons to provide accurate data/insight for the management process.

  • Monitor waste/rubbish.

  • Use spare time completing useful community or conservation type tasks.

  • Address waste disposal of holiday/weekend houses.

Financial model

  • Theewaterskloof Municipality will provide four monitors as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP):
  • Daily rate of R100 per monitor.
  • Total contribution R8 400 per month.
  • Addition funding to be sourced from the community:
  • A daily rate ‘top up’ for monitors of R50, totaling R4 200 per month.
  • A manager at a daily rate of R250, totaling R5 250 per month.
  • Total cost of around R9 700 per month.
  • (If an additional monitor is required the full salary of R3 150 would have to be sourced from the community, increasing total cost to R12 600 per month.)
  • Equipment cost will be financed separately.
  • Total programme cost (excluding equipment) ranges from R17 850 to R21 000 per month.
  • In the long term the establishment of a Special Ratings Area (SRA) will be sought:
  • All rate payers pay an additional monthly rate towards the funding of this programme.
  • Not feasible to establish in the short term, pragmatic action needs to be taken now.

Accountability and capacity

  • The programme needs to be accountable and deliver the goods. Requires professional and effective management, with adequate staff, equipment and funding, addressed by the community as a whole. Need more volunteers from the community.

Conclusions

  1. Improve waste management.
  2. Adopt proposed baboon management plan with monitors.
  3. Financial load must be spread over large area including currently unaffected areas. Accountability and management crucial to success.
  4. Investigate establishment of Special Ratings Area to finance the programme in equitable manner.

Minutes of

Public meeting on Primate Management Plan

Tuesday, 23 June 2017

Greyton Lodge

 

Speakers

Andrew White – Chairman: Greyton Conservation Society

Tarryn Van Wyk – Greyton Transition Town

Jenni Trethowan - Baboon Matters

 

Facilitator

Ilke Steyn – Ilke Steyn Consulting

 

Apologies

Johan Viljoen – TWK

 

Agenda

  1. Open and welcome
  2. Objectives of meeting
  3. Report back on Baboon Survey
  4. The legal framework
  5. Experiences in Greyton and other areas with baboon/human interaction
  6. Presentation of proposed Greyton baboon management strategy
  7. Open discussion
  8. Conculsions
  9. Close

 

Attendees

  • Henry and Jane Barenblatt
  • Marise Bishop
  • Chris and Leslie Blakey-Milner
  • Aubrey Bothma
  • Sorita Bothma
  • Natasha Lee Carter
  • Barry Davies
  • Ebeth Davis
  • Di Duncan
  • Anne and Pat Hill
  • Jens and Jill Kargaard
  • Justin King
  • Marguerite King
  • ColetteKleyn
  • PatMasterson
  • Don Matthews
  • Gayand Cliff McCormick
  • Jo Phillipson
  • L & J Pretorius
  • Nici Proudlock
  • Tim and Gill Radcliffe
  • Janet Richards
  • Mike Roscoe
  • Robert Scurrah
  • Shaun Sephton
  • SusanStanley
  • EstelleVan Hogg
  • Ken and Helena Watkins
  • Neil Weedon
  • Sharon Weedon
  • Ria Wills
  • Tristram and Lisa Wilson

 

  1. Open and welcome – Andrew White
  2. Objectives of meeting – Ilka Steyn
  • Gain a joint understanding of the current situation regarding escalating conflict between residents and baboons in Greyton. This will be based on the survey undertaken by residents.
  • Present proposed solution which has been put together based on all available information in an open and transparent way.
  • Agree on the next steps for a plan required to reach a solution.

3.  Report back on Baboon Survey – Tarryn van Wyk

  • Feedback from the survey was offered to the meeting. A copy of the survey attached - Annexure A.
  • 85 respondents, 74% these were from permanent residents.
  • Most respondents are concerned baboon encroachment is escalating – majority worried about their vegetables, fruit, pets, children, personal safety and baboons entering homes.
  • 52 respondents indicated baboon sightings on plots located on upper Main, Vlei, Nerina, Park and Kloof Streets.
  • 60% of respondents indicated the problem is affecting their way of life, 21% indicated they were not affected, with 19% being unsure.
  • Respondents indicated sighting frequencies of daily (37%), once or twice a week (48%), once every two weeks (4%), once a month (11%).
  • Two respondents indicated sightings of baboons eating human rubbish.
  • 52% of respondents indicated they are prepared to contribute financially.
  • No reports of baboons entering homes or injuring pets have been made.
  • Attending residents noted baboons have raided chicken coups.
  • Previously only a single troop of baboons inhabiting the Greyton area. However this troop has now split into two separate groups, totaling 37 members.
  • Sightings have been made in Boschmanskloof.
  • Baboons are sleeping on the village boundary.
  • Three years ago baboons seldom seen, now in town three times a week.
  • The problem, although currently only opportunistic, is escalating.

4. The legal framework – Andrew White

  • TWK follows the baboon management policies of Cape Town and Cape Nature.
  • Euthanasia is an option but cannot be undertaken without following the correct procedures dictated by the policy. This involves tagging perceived ‘difficult’ individuals, building a history and if the problem behaviour persists, a permit is issued to euthanase the individual.
  • Residents cannot take the law into their own hands because is is illegal to discharge a firearm within a residential area.
  • Cape Nature does not support relocation of baboons.
  • Clarity will be sought around use of paintball guns/non lethal force by residents.

5. Experiences in Greyton and other areas with baboon/human interaction
 - Jenni Trethowan

  • Baboons are attracted to Greyton - offers fruit, vegetables, water, shade. Easily accessible.
  • Poor/Inadequate waste management is contributing factor.
  • In contrast to Fynbos, Greyton offers easy pickings.
  • Lethal intervention doesn’t always resolve the problem, there was a marked increase in baboon activity in Misty Cliffs after baboons were killed.
  • Deterrents like virtual fences and paintball guns can be effective, however baboons are opportunistic and adaptive and over time will overcome such interventions.

Progression/Future Escalation

  • If unchecked the baboons will extend their foraging range to include all of Greyton.
  • Daily raiding will occur within Greyton, with whole groups raiding.
  • Baboons will start entering homes in search of food/trash.
  • Significant damage to property will occur as a result, with one resident already noting damage to a thatch roof totaling R32 000.
  • The ‘fear factor’ will increase, with residents increasingly fearing for their own safety and of their loved ones and animals.
  • A change in lifestyle will occur as a result, with residents having to lock doors and windows and be on constant alert.
  • Visitors/Tourists will also be affected.
  • Baboons cannot be untrained. If they are allowed to habituate to Greyton the problem will become entrenched.

6. Proposed Management Programme – Ilke Steyn

  • A non lethal, non aggressive approach to managing human-baboon conflict proposed starting June 2017. It is a positive preventative measure before the situation escalates.
  • Equal importance placed on the protection and conservation of the baboons themselves.
  • Requires professional and effective management, with adequate staff, equipment and funding, addressed by the community as a whole (this is not just a Theewaterskloof municipality or Cape Nature or Greyton Conservation problem).
  • Proposed management programme entails monitoring of baboons by dedicated full time monitors. Monitors need to be on duty seven days a week from dawn to dusk.
  • Monitors are tasked with:
    • Ensuring baboons do not cross an identified buffer zone and enter into Greyton by following the baboons and acting as a deterrent.
    • Keeping count and recording movement of the baboons to providing accurate data/insight for the management process.
    • Monitoring waste/rubbish.
  • Initial June 2017 pilot programme will consist of one manager and four monitors on duty daily (an additional monitor will likely be required to account for downtime).
  • Sufficient manpower to monitor Greyton, Heuwelkroon and Boschmanskloof, as there are currently only two groups of baboons to monitor.
  • During the pilot programme constant community engagement and feedback will be provided. Accountability for the programme is vital – need to have proper management structures.
  • A futher public meeting will be scheduled for January 2018, to report back and establish agreement on next steps.
  • Additional measures
  • Waste management issues need to be tackled. Including management of waste on a household level by both permanent Greyton residents and weekend and holiday visitors.

7. Finances

  • (The following numbers are calculated assuming each monitor works 21 days per month.)
  • Theewaterskloof Municipality will provide four monitors as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP):
  • Daily rate of R100 per monitor.
  • Total contribution R8 400 per month.
  • Addition funding to be sourced from the community:
  • To provide a daily rate ‘top up’ for monitors of R50, totaling R4 200 per month.
  • To employ a manager at a daily rate of R250, totaling R5 250 per month.
  • Total cost of around R9 700 per month.
  • (If an additional monitor is required the full salary of R3 150 would have to be sourced from the community, increasing total cost to R12 600 per month.)
  • Equipment cost will be financed separately, with no costing having been provided.
  • Total programme cost (excluding equipment) ranges from R17 850 to R21 000 per month.
  • In the long term the establishment of a Special Ratings Area (SRA) will be sought:
  • All rate payers would pay an additional monthly rate towards the funding of this programme.
  • Not feasible to establish in the short term, pragmatic action needs to be taken now.

 

8. Open discussion

  • Baboon conservation and protection imperative.
  • The rubbish dump (illegal) will likely contribute to the problem in future.
  • Doubt raised over the sustainability of the project in the long term and whether alternative plans should be considered.
  • General consensus was a minimal approach will not be adequate - go big or go home. The programme should have adequate funding and accountable manpower to address the problem decisively.
  • Concern raised over the daily rate of monitors with a proposal made to increase the daily rate ‘top up’ per monitor from R50 to R100.
  • Attendees on average indicated they are willing to contribute R100 per month towards the funding of this programme.
  • Greater community education and public awareness is required.
  • Constant communication and feedback was requested.
  • General consensus more funding is needed.
  • Success of the programme is predicated on larger community involvement and financial contribution.
GCS GreytonComment