Experts have warned that urban development is increasingly encroaching on the natural habitat of baboons and that a lack of planning around baboons and their habits is causing an increase in the number of confrontations with humans.
They (primates) will take food wherever they can get it, and will go back to that place for more,"
"They become less afraid of humans and it lessens their wildness, which is when they cause problems."
Cape Nature baboon management team head Melikhaya Pantsi said it was important for people to be cautious when dealing with baboons.
"It is very rare that a baboon would attack a human being. They might jump on you to grab what they think is food, but they are generally not aggressive," he said.
But Graeme Young, conservationist at the Ndlambe conservation department in Port Alfred, said it was not unheard of for baboons to attack humans without provocation.
Sometimes older males were kicked out of their troop and became aggressive towards humans as they scavenged for food on their own, he said.
"We've had reports of an old male baboon that has spent up to three weeks a year disturbing residents in Port Alfred - running through gardens and rummaging through rubbish bins."
Jenny Trethowan, of Cape Town-based baboon monitoring project Baboon Matters, said attacks on humans were usually not the fault of the baboon.
"When you unpack the attack, usually the person has done something wrong."
Trethowan warned that the "exponential rate of urbanisation" was leading to urban development encroaching on the natural habitat of the baboons.
"Unless people make an effort to make their homes unattractive to baboons, we will encounter problems," she said.
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