Cape Fire Update – Baboons

Below is a Situation Report from the Baboon Management Authorities

Baboon Technical Team  BTT)  Situation Report – Tokai Troop Monday 9 MARCH, 2015 @ 16h00

Managed troops

Over 60 baboon rangers from City of Cape Town’s service provider, Human Wildlife Solutions, are responsible for ten managed troops, divided into three management regions.

* South-eastern region:  Smitswinkel Troop, Waterfall Troop & Da Gama Troops

* South-western region: Groot Olifantsbos Troop, Misty Cliffs Troop & Slangkop Troop

*Northern region:  Tokai Troop, Zwaanswyk Troop, Mountain Troop and Constantia Troop

The baboons in the South East Region and South West Region are unaffected by the fires at this stage.

Tokai Troop

The Baboon Technical Team (BTT) regrets to confirm, that a total of nine baboons in the Tokai Troop have now died, on account of injuries sustained in last week’s fire.

The final tally of dead and recovering fire-injured baboons in the Tokai Troop, as @ Monday March 9 @ 14h00, is as follows:

* Four critically injured baboons have been euthanased

* Four dead baboons found as charred carcasses.

* One critically injured infant – assumed to be dead

* Seven injured baboons continue to be assessed.

The Tokai troop is now confirmed to have 64 baboons in the troop – down from 73.

Foraging for the Northern Region baboon troops

Images of baboons surveying moonscapes of burnt sand, released late last week, resulted in an outpouring of emotion from concerned residents over the weekend.

Baboon rangers, BTT members, veterinarians and animal welfare experts are all evaluating the situation, on a daily basis.  The assessment is that there appears to be adequate food in the forests and plenty of water in running streams, for all four Northern Troops.

Dr Phil Richardson from Human Wildlife Solutions notes the following:

* Pine trees across the Tokai Forest went into shock after the fires and have dropped cones filled with pine nuts across the forest floor. So there are seeds and nuts that the baboons are picking up beneath the burnt trees.

* There are also hundreds of dead and burnt lizards, mice and insects across the mountain slopes to provide protein for the baboons.

Plea to residents NOT to feed the baboons

It is absolutely critical that residents do NOT start to randomly feed baboons in their gardens or along the road with vegetables, fruits or ANY food associated with a human home. This will just encourage baboons to start raiding homes again.

The baboons are being carefully watched.   There is a Provisioning Baboon Protocol and any feeding, if it becomes necessary, will follow international best practice as laid out under this protocol.

If additional provisioning is required, the baboons will be fed surreptitiously, in such a way, that they do not realise they are being fed.  To this end, baboon rangers will just sprinkle seeds or mealie pips in baboon foraging areas.

It is vitally important to encourage the baboons to continue foraging out of town.

Rejuvenation of the forests

Research has shown that the fires stimulate plant growth and as soon as the first rains arrive, bulbs will be easier to find and the foraging may be even better than it was before the fires.

Where are the four Northern Troops?

At noon this morning (Monday 9 March), the troops were in the following locations:

* Tokai Troop:  Foraging up at Level 5 in the Tokai Forests.

* Zwaanswyk Troop: Foraging up at Level 4 in the Tokai Forests.

* Mountain Troop:  Just above Buitenverwachting Wine Estate.

* Constantia Troop:  Just above Groot Constantia Wine Estate.

Posted by the Baboon Liaison Group

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