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Baboons and your waste


Managing your waste so that baboons do not pay you a visit!

Baboons are wild animals and their natural habitats are shrinking, putting troops into conflict with humans as they move closer to the urban edge. The survival of baboons on the Cape Peninsula depends on keeping them away from urban areas and separate from humans, some of whom are not tolerant of them and may maim or kill them.

Baboons are opportunistic feeders. Once they become accustomed to humans and the ease at which they can find human food, they will enter urban areas more frequently to find it, which leaves them vulnerable to be injured by pellet guns, poisoned, attacked by dogs or injured or killed if hit by a car.

If you live in a known baboon area, it is your responsibility to baboon-proof your property.

No attraction – no baboons. As a start, you can make sure that your bins are secure and recycle as much as you can.

Baboons are attracted by waste and will return again and again to those properties, including businesses, where they have managed to access food.   Follow these tips to minimise access:

  • Make sure you are registered for waste collection and have a bin. You cannot put your waste out in bags.
  • You can email wastewise@capetown.gov.za to apply for a bin or call 0860103089 (Get a reference number)
  • Keep your bin secured at all times if stored outside on your property. Store it in a refuse room or your garage if possible when not in use.
  • Businesses should preferably have a caged bin area to store their waste bins.
  • Keep your bin locked on bin day.
  • Only put your bin out on bin day (as early as possible) not the night before.
  • Never leave food on top of the bin.
  • Educate new neighbours/business  about baboons and how to  best secure their bin.
  • Make use of the recycling service in your area. Make sure all  recyclables put out for collection are clean.


  • Do not plant fruit trees or keep a vegetable garden or compost heap unless it is in a caged area or surrounded by electric fencing.
  • Plant indigenous – your garden will be less attractive to the baboons.
  • Do not put out seed for wild birds unsupervised. If you do feed the birds, keep an eye on the situation and remove the feeder when you go indoors.
  • Never feed baboons on your property. They will return for these easy pickings time and again. It is illegal to feed baboons and heavy fines can be imposed for breaking this law.


  • Keep windows and doors closed and don’t leave food in the open where it can be spotted through a window.
  • Ensure that sliding windows have latches at both ends to prevent baboons from pulling the frame and breaking the glass.
  • If you keep windows open, ensure that burglar guards are fitted. The gap should not exceed 8cm to prevent juveniles from entering your property. If you don’t want your view compromised, consider transparent burglar guards.
  • Fit night bolts onto sliding doors to prevent baboons from lifting them off their tracks.
  • Reinforce guttering and downpipes.
  • If you live in a known baboon area, feed your pets indoors and do not store pet food outside.

What to do if baboons are in the area:

  • Give your neighbours a warning if you see baboons in the neighbourhood, so that everyone can lock up. Neighbourhood whatsapp groups are proving to be a valuable source of warning when baboons are in the vicinity.
  • Do not allow baboons to feel welcome in your neighbourhood. Residents need to defend their ‘territory’ and chase baboons away using accepted methods which include making a loud noise and spraying water.
  • Never use any method that could potentially kill or injure an animal. The use of equipment, like pellet guns, is illegal and residents could be held responsible for acts of cruelty towards animals. Injured or maimed animals often become problematic as they are unable to re-join the troop in the natural areas.
  • Bring your pets indoors.

Baboons want your food!

  • Don’t consume food or drinks in the presence of baboons
  • Don’t open your bag or rucksack in their presence – they associate these with food

How to react if confronted by a baboon:

  • Stand still, remain calm and avoid eye contact.  Sudden movements may cause aggression.
  • Don’t block the baboons path or escape route  – if in your home, they will leave the way they entered.
  • Don’t try and take anything from the baboon until they have lost interest in it.
  • Don’t approach infants or juveniles – they are fiercely protected by adults.

Exercise caution when you encounter baboons. They are wild animals and can be dangerous, especially around food.

Text supplied by Choachamma


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