Greyton Human-Baboon Conflict

Greyton Human-Baboon Conflict
October 31, 2019
by Kathleen Rowan
On the recent trip to Africa by WellBeing International, we had the privilege of meeting with the Field Guides of the Baboon Monitor Team of Greyton, South Africa. The team was originally reported in a WBI News article on October 26, 2018. As noted in numerous press articles and social media posts, human-baboon conflicts are a growing concern across South Africa. In an innovative approach to mitigate this conflict, members of this team monitor and discourage baboons from entering residential areas of Greyton where they have access to fruit trees, vegetable gardens and garbage bins. When a baboon troop is observed on the edge of town, team members calmly confront their potential visitors with subtle body language until such time as the baboons relocate to the adjacent mountains. No paint guns or any other weapons are used.
Members of the Monitoring team – Wilmohr Williams, Jirmaine Lewis, Bertrim Moses, Andrew White (Greyton Conservation Society) and Leefred Damons. Photo by K. Rowan
The Field Guides are supported by contributions from Greyton citizens and the municipality. Under the direction of Andrew White, the team seeks alternative, less intrusive approaches to mitigate human-baboon conflict rather than the approaches deployed by the Cape Town Municipality. There baboon control has relied on routine paintball gun use and some killing of individual baboons, usually alpha males. Greyton is hoping to “educate” their local baboons and persuade them that the human community is not a good place for them.
The Field Guides are dedicated to the well-being of people, animals and the environment as evidenced by the quotes from them below.
Large Male Baboon, Greyton, South Africa
I take my job very seriously. Through this work, I have learned that these baboons have families just like us. They are fathers, mothers, and children. By protecting and respecting these baboons and the environment, we are protecting our future and ourselves. – Lee-Fred Damon
I don’t really like to refer to this (being a monitor) as a job. This is my life. – Wilmohr Williams
We as field guides do our best to discourage the baboons from entering residents’ properties. We don’t need paint ball guns, stones, or whips to get our message across to the baboons. We communicate with our body language that they are going to be better off in the Reserve. The baboons are learning where the acceptable and safe boundaries are—for them and for us. – Cedric Tromp