Abstract # 2734 Event # 124:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2009 03:00 PM-03:10 PM: Session 13 (Del Mar Room) Oral Presentation


THE EFFICACY OF A MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND ITS IMPACT ON CHACMA BABOONS (PAPIO URSINUS) IN THE CAPE PENINSULA OF SOUTH AFRICA

A. C. Van Doorn and J. O'Riain
University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
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In the South African Cape Peninsula, ‘baboon monitors’ are employed to herd baboons out of urban areas. The goal of this study was to understand the effects of these monitors on baboon behavior. Scan samples were conducted at 20-minute intervals from dawn to dusk on the Da Gama troop of chacma baboons during summer 2004 and 2005 and during a 10 day experiment in 2007 (totaling 310 observation hours). Comparisons were made between high and low herding days and between days when monitors were present versus absent. High levels of herding significantly reduced time spent feeding [Wilcoxon signed ranks test, p<0.01, n=12] and increased time spent traveling [p<0.05, n=12], socializing [p<0.01, n=12], resting [p<0.05, n=12] and self-grooming [p<0.05, n=12]. Habitat use and dietary composition did not differ between high and low herding days but did differ between the presence and absence of monitors. When monitors were present, the baboons ate more naturally occurring foods such as alien seeds and fynbos. When the monitors were absent, the baboons spent more time within the urban edge [Mann-Whitney U test, p<0.01] and fed predominantly on human-derived foods. This study provides the first conclusive evidence that monitors are a highly successful management strategy for the reduction of human-baboon conflict in the Cape Peninsula. However, intensive, unsystematic herding impacts baboon behavior in measurable ways.