Nestling at the bottom of the mountains near Cape Town in South Africa, is the seaside resort town of Scarborough. This is a popular destination for visitors. Someone is shooting and killing the baboons that live in the town.

The Cape is known for its baboons, especially in the protected areas. However, they quite often spill over into residential areas where their behavior can cause problems. The local baboon troop which used to contain 18 members two years ago has been reduced to just seven Animals. Two of the most recent deaths occurred when someone shot them with a high powered air gun.

Cape officials believe the killer is a local resident in the town and they are appealing for information from the public. The conflict between humans and the baboons can cause the animals to lose their lives. Problem animals are sometimes shot at by the Cape City officers, however, they use paintball guns to try and chase the apes away from the town.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager for the City of Cape Town says, “We don’t support lethal methods”. The animals may be hurt by paint balls, but it discourages them from staying in the town and, at the same time, it lowers the numbers that they might possibly have to kill. Although some problem animals are euthanized from time to time, this is done only with the approval of Cape Nature and the SPCA.

Jenny Trewothan of the NGO Baboons Matters Trust said that they believe the method the City Council uses to chase the baboons away is encouraging residents to shoot them. They are being sent the wrong message. If people see the council shooting, they think they can do it as well. Jenny said to Enca news, “people get very frustrated but it doesn’t give anybody the excuse to kill these animals.”

Baboons that become too familiar with people can become aggressive.

They have been known to attack and kill small dogs and cats, rummage in dustbins, and may put small children in danger. The best way for people to prevent baboons from hanging around, is to take extra care with how they pack and store the waste from their homes. It is very important that visitors to areas where baboons occur do not feed them. Feeding wild animals almost always results in the death of animals that lose their fear of humans.