The City of Cape Town recently activated a virtual fence in Gordon’s Bay as part of its baboon management strategy. Since implementation in mid-January there have been no incidents of the resident troop entering town. Read more below:
In an effort to reduce human-baboon conflict in the Gordon’s Bay area, the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department has implemented a virtual fence system which will assist in deterring the resident baboon troop from entering the residential area.
When the troop enters the zone between their home range (in the protected area) and the houses of Gordon’s Bay, speakers emit the noise of a predator, such as a lion. Baboons immediately sense there is danger and do not enter the zone. The virtual fence then becomes a virtual boundary zone in the mind of the baboon troop and ultimately results in the animals staying out of the town altogether.‘In the last five years, there has been a steady increase in the amount of time that this troop spends in and around Gordon’s Bay. Baboons are extremely opportunistic and have learned that the residential houses neighbouring the protected area are an easy foraging source. We are therefore pleased with the success thus far of the virtual fence system as the resident baboon troop has not entered town once since it has been implemented,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.
The virtual fence does not reduce the baboon foraging area, as the Gordon’s Bay baboon troop historically spends most of its time in the City’s Steenbras Nature Reserve, which forms part of the greater Kogelberg Biosphere.
This is but one tool in a suite of management interventions which are being used successfully in the Gordon’s Bay area. Individual baboons in the troop are fitted with GPS collars which further assist reserve management to monitor the baboon troop’s movements
Better human waste management practices in Gordon’s Bay have also assisted in reducing human-baboon conflict, including the roll-out of double lockable baboon-proof bins in affected areas and an increase in general awareness.
‘The cooperation of stakeholders (including City departments such as Solid Waste Management, Bulk Water, and Environmental Resource Management), together with local residents, has contributed towards the success of this baboon management programme in the Gordon’s Bay area this summer,’ said Councillor Van der Merwe.
For further information or to report any baboon-related incidents, residents should please call the all-hours number for baboon issues in Gordon’s Bay on 021 957 4725.