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Jake tiernan, takashi honzawa, jacob kackley, charlie liu

Urban Baboon: No More Monkey Business

As Cape Town expanded, habitat along its perimeter began to diminish. The chacma baboons, once restricted to the hills and mountains surrounding the city, began to move to the interior of the city in search of food. Enticed by anthropogenic food sources and emboldened by a lack of natural predators, the baboons became increasingly aggressive. This led them into near-constant conflict with humans living at the foot of Cape Town’s mountains, as they regularly raided picnics, tourist traps, cars, homes, and even people’s grocery bags as they searched for calorie rich, easy-to-attain anthropogenic food. Attempts to dissuade the baboons proved futile. Guards armed with paintball guns, meant to pose as rival troops and scare away the baboons, did little to affect them. While they could not explicitly understand that their dwindling populations in the Cape Peninsula has garnered them protection from humanitarian and conservation groups alike, they do understand that the vast majority of humans they encounter will not use lethal force. With no natural predators, such as lions and leopards, left, the chacma baboon troops have become increasingly emboldened and, as a result, increasingly aggressive.