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How Constantia Wine Farms Got Permits to Kill 7 Baboons

How Constantia Wine Farms Got Permits to Kill 7 Baboons

In this article, we will explore the controversial issue of killing baboons on Constantia wine farms in Cape Town, South Africa. We will look at the reasons why the farmers applied for permits to kill the baboons, how the permits were granted by CapeNature, and what the implications are for conservation and wildlife management.

7 Baboons killed on Constantia wine farms after permits issued

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Why did the farmers want to kill the baboons?

The farmers of Klein Constantia and Buitenverwachting claimed that they had suffered extensive losses due to baboon raids on their vineyards and infrastructure. They said that they had tried multiple non-lethal mitigation measures over a number of years, such as game fencing and aversive conditioning, but without success. They argued that the baboons were causing damage to their crops and property, and posing a threat to their livelihoods.

How did they get the permits to kill the baboons?

The farmers applied for permits from CapeNature, the Western Cape's conservation authority, as a last resort. CapeNature evaluated their applications and granted them permits to kill seven baboons from October 2018 to October 2019. CapeNature spokesperson Marietjie Engelbrecht told News24 that the permits were not for recreational hunting, but for removing the damage-causing animals. She said that the applicants were able to prove that they had implemented multiple non-lethal mitigation measures over a number of years without success, and experienced extensive losses.

What are the consequences of killing the baboons?

The killing of the baboons has sparked outrage and criticism from animal rights activists, environmentalists, and the public. They have questioned the ethics and legality of killing baboons, and the effectiveness and sustainability of lethal methods. They have also raised concerns about the impact of killing baboons on their social structure, population dynamics, and genetic diversity.

Professor Justin O'Riain, director of the University of Cape Town's Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa, told News24 that killing baboons may have some short-term relief for the farmers, but it is a distant second to non-lethal methods. He said that when baboons get shot, they learn to avoid that particular hunter, but they will return for the rich pickings when the hunter is absent. He also said that killing baboons may disrupt their social hierarchy and increase their reproductive rate.

O'Riain also pointed out that we are all complicit in the conflict between humans and wildlife, as everything we eat comes at a cost to wildlife. He said that we have broken almost every eco-system and many now have to be actively managed if we want to balance food security with wildlife preservation. He noted that in the Cape Peninsula, where there are no natural predators of baboons, such as leopards, the baboon population has been growing steadily at a rate of 8%. He suggested that more research and collaboration are needed to find long-term solutions for coexisting with baboons.

What are the alternatives to killing the baboons?

Many experts and activists have advocated for non-lethal methods to prevent and reduce baboon-human conflict. Some of these methods include:

  • Improving waste management and securing food sources to reduce the attraction of baboons to human settlements and farms.

  • Installing electric fences, baboon-proof doors and windows, and alarm systems to deter baboons from entering buildings and properties.

  • Using paintball guns, bear bangers, pepper spray, and dogs to scare away baboons without harming them.

  • Educating the public and tourists about the behaviour and ecology of baboons, and how to avoid feeding and provoking them.

  • Monitoring and tracking the movements and activities of baboon troops using GPS collars and field rangers.

  • Implementing population control measures such as contraception and sterilization to limit the growth of baboon numbers.

These methods require more resources, coordination, and commitment from various stakeholders, such as farmers, residents, authorities, researchers, and NGOs. They also require more understanding and respect for the baboons as intelligent and social animals that have a right to exist in their natural habitat.


The issue of killing baboons on Constantia wine farms is a complex and controversial one that reflects the broader challenge of human-wildlife coexistence. While the farmers have a legitimate interest in protecting their crops and livelihoods, killing baboons may not be the most effective or ethical solution. There are alternative non-lethal methods that can be used to prevent and reduce baboon-human conflict, but they require more collaboration and compromise from all parties involved. Ultimately, we need to find a way to balance our needs and wants with those of the wildlife that share our planet. ba313b4491


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