Second Attempt at Relocating Smitswinkel Baboon

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CapeNature, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, and the City of Cape Town made a joint decision under the leadership of CapeNature to give a young dispersing male baboon from the Smitswinkel Bay troop a second chance at integrating with the Da Gama troop. A new methodology will be applied during the capture and release of SWB12 in an effort to increase his chances of a successful integration with this troop once the situation allows.

SWB12 left his natal troop in October 2021. Unfortunately, an attempt to relocate him on 21 December 2021 was unsuccessful. Since then he is spending all of his time in Simon’s Town and surrounds, displaying raiding behaviour.

Attempts to keep SWB12 in his natural environment and out of town where he is exposed to many dangers, have been increasingly futile.

CapeNature, the CGHSPCA and the City agreed that SWB12 should be given a second opportunity to integrate with the Da Gama troop before alternatives are considered, among which euthanasia. This time around a different methodology will be applied that will attempt to increase exposure of SWB12 to the troop before and after his release within their home range.

The City’s service provider, NCC Environmental Services, will undertake the capturing by way of darting with the CGHSPCA present.

The joint decision is based on the following factors, among others:

  • SWB12 is spending all of his time in town since the failed relocation attempt on 21 December 2021, raiding and roosting in the urban environment where he faces many dangers such as dogs, traffic, and hostility from some residents
  • A second attempt at relocation still provides the best possibility of survival for SWB12.
  • The Da Gama troop currently does not have an Alpha male, meaning SWB12 will have the best possible chance of integration with this troop.
  • It will be beneficial to the genetics of the Da Gama troop
  • Should SWB12 integrate, he may spend most of his time with his new troop, in the natural environment

This intervention will be done with minimum interference. Thus, SWB12 will not be collared or ear-tagged. However, the City’s service provider will monitor his movements and attempts at integration with the Da Gama troop.

CapeNature, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, and the City are calling on residents, the general public, and stakeholders to please not follow, or interfere with SWB12 in any way as this will seriously hamper his efforts to integrate.

The public is also reminded that the feeding of wild animals is prohibited by law.

The second attempt at relocation may also not succeed:

  • It is impossible to predict how the process will unfold as baboons are wild animals
  • Every relocation is different, and relies on the individual animal
  • It may take months for SWB12 to integrate, if at all
  • He may display raiding behaviour in his new environment
  • He may return to Simon’s Town and surrounds and continue raiding behaviour in the urban setting. In such case, one of the outcomes that may need to be considered as a last resort is euthanasia.


Photo Credit: UCT

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