Baboon damage on wine farms increase | WWF South Africa

Baboon damage on wine farms increase

Posted on 10 March 2011
Baboons can cause unnecessary damage to vineyards.
© Baboon Research Unit

Last year’s drought conditions have resulted in an increase in baboon damage in many vineyards, most notably in the Karoo.

Over the years, BWI members have used a variety of methods with varying success to try and restrict the associated damage. One method being electric fencing, which is expensive, but ineffective if no baboon monitors are in place to chase the troops out of the vineyards.

Baboon Monitors have however proven to be successful. By using a variety of “noise-making” instruments, from shot guns to vuvuzelas, as well as dogs on leashes, these monitors have assisted in chasing and keeping baboons at bay.  

CapeNature has also suggested placing discarded fruit at the top of the baboon’s access route to the farm, in the hope that they will eat the fruit and not move further into the farm. This has been tried with great success by a farmer in Porterville.

Valleys alongside vineyards that are overgrown with alien trees provide ideal roosting spots for the baboons and will encourage them closer to the vineyards.  Managing alien trees on the farm is thus another way of reducing the impact of baboons.

Baboons might rub you up the wrong way, but they are a protected species and shooting them without a permit and guidance from CapeNature is illegal. Shooting the Alpha Male, could also lead to catastrophic consequences and may result in the troop numbers increasing.

The only natural predator of the baboon is the leopard, thus the conservation of leopards will lead to a reduction in baboon numbers.

Should you experience any baboon damage, please send the following information to Joan Isham in the BWI office at,
1. Estimate of average yearly damage
2. Map indicating where on the farm the bulk of the damage occurs, or GPS point
3. Size of troop
4. Methods of control used and their efficiency

Baboons can cause unnecessary damage to vineyards.
© Baboon Research Unit Enlarge