May 11, 2008

More About Our Primate Populations:

As a naturalist focussing on the plight of the Chacma Baboon and Vervet Monkey in the Western Cape, South Africa, I have strong reason to believe that there is an urgent need to halt the ongoing damage done to our primate populations. I have been observing the troops in this area for the last six years.
Development continues to encroach onto wild habitats; people choosing to live in semi-natural environments – farms, smallholdings, seaside villages etc. increasingly need to find environmentally friendly ways of co-existing with wild animals and flora in order to preserve and rehabilitate the natural bio-diversity.

It is common to assume that primate numbers are not threatened. Age-old myths serve to justify the persecution of these animals by certain sectors of society (the farming and hunting communities for example), and sightings of baboons and monkeys are generally not considered rare.
As a result, it is widely assumed that primates are not threatened. This is an important misconception.

In spite of many primates living in low predator areas, they get shot, poisoned, electrocuted, killed by dogs, caught in snares and trapped for research laboratories and muthi

After checking out the pylons around here and the vervet injuries, it is clear that PYLONS pose a big threat to vervets in the area.


Extremely cruel methods to kill are often used by certain sectors of society who believe so called "problem animals" pose a threat to their livelihood. Over the years, troops have declined in numbers and troop structures are damaged.
To put it simply, humans are creating dysfunctional primate societies when primate territory is encroached on.
Reports of troops with 200-300 individuals (eg. Eugene Marais – “My Friends The Baboons” or Vincent Carruther’s book; The Magaliesberg) no longer exist; there is proof that both the baboon and monkey have suffered dwindling numbers. Old reference books state the vervet monkey was common, and could be found in most parts of South Africa. It is recorded, that they lived in large troops, of between a hundred and twenty to a hundred and fifty members strong. Older generations claim that, years ago, you could find vervets everywhere. Today they are no longer regularly sighted here. The area in which I live, shows signs of unusually small troops (below five individuals per troop) who are rarely spotted. Residents do report of local vervets visiting their properties but generally, the area between Plettenberg Bay and Bloukrans Pass appears to have damaged vervet populations that desperately need to be monitored before we can find get to a realistic idea of what is really happening to primates here.

Anyone who has information about vervet and baboon populations and troop structures noted in your area, can help by contacting us so we can formulate a better idea of how these species along the Garden Route are faring. Your insight will be much appreciated to help us with our goals for helping these primate species.

Things to look for are: how many individuals in the troop.
Adult male to female ratios.
Number of injuries and types of injuries.
Behaviour amongst group members.
Behaviour towards humans - in cars and houses.

You can contact me at: