Don’t feed the baboons!

This item appears on page 23 of the May 2009 issue.

An estimated 350 chacma baboons, a protected species under South African law, live in and around Cape Town. After years of being fed by tourists and tour operators interested in photo ops, the baboons have become dangerously aggressive, snatching snacks from people and even breaking into cars to steal food. Park rangers have been forced to kill monkeys that became too aggressive.

City authorities now will impose a fine of up to ZAR1,500 (near $150) plus six months in jail on anyone caught feeding baboons.