Last month, a gang of baboon burglars were recorded running in and out of a beach front property in the South African town of Betty's Bay, ransacking the kitchen and eating whatever they could get their hands on. The filmmaker and a few friends--bold, but mostly stupid--entered the home in an effort to scare the baboons away.
Baboons are terrestrial animals and are found in many environments throughout Africa. They are omnivores, eating plants, insects, birds and small antelopes alike. Their primary predators are humans, lions, and the hyenas. Other animals typically prey on baby baboons. Baboons are known to be extremely aggressive when threatened or when their babies are threatened.
During the tour of the Cape peninsula, we ran into baboons on many occasions. The first time we spotted an adult baboon with her baby not very far behind. While we did not see other baboons around, chances are that there was probably a few more lingering around that evaded our gaze. Baboons are known to live and travel in groups of about 5 to 250. Later on during the tour, we saw a troop of maybe 20 baboons crossing the street--babies riding on the backs of their mothers, with a few trailing closely. This encounter was extremely fascinating, albeit a dangerous venture for the baboons who moved quite slowly across the street.
Colleen, our tour guide relayed a story about the relationship between the baboons and the towns' residents. Many times, these baboons enter towns and are seen as a danger to the residents and their properties. These baboons are often shot down on the spot. The above video is a very compelling visualization of baboons raiding human dwellings. The men could have seen a very different ending to their exploit due to the aggressive nature of the baboon. In my opinion, it is best not to confront these animals. The best preventative measure is to keep windows and doors closed and in the event that baboons do enter your home, do not enter, rather call the authorities to properly negotiate with the animals.
Nonetheless, it was a fascinating watch of how wildlife can interact with sometimes unsuspecting humans.