He was an infamous baboon from the idyllic Cape Peninsula at the tip of South Africa: After many misdeeds, the burglar, as daring as he was repeat offender, recruited a team. And there, the authorities stalled.
The dominant male was put to death on Thursday morning, Cape Town City Hall said in a statement, saying he had been “humanely euthanized”, with the assistance of a veterinarian.
The baboon, notorious trash scavenger and thief of food left even for a few moments in the gardens of houses or on their terraces overlooking the ocean, terrorized for months the quaint little hamlet of Smitswinkel Bay, one of the very last before the southern tip of the continent.
Settled in the area since 2018, after dropping out of his original group which operated on a nearby tourist route, he began to attack inside houses, empty or even in front of their dumbfounded inhabitants, from the second half of last year.
His thefts have become less and less subtle. The fearless baboon has broken into “urban areas” more than 40 times in five months. In February alone, he robbed ten occupied houses, specifies the city of Cape Town in its press release.
And its scope of intervention extended over more than eight kilometers.
Hundreds of baboons, whose habitation areas are tending to shrink, live around the port city of Cape Town. A presence considered painful because of their attacks for food, against properties or tourists.
In recent weeks, a splinter group of females and juveniles has teamed up with the Ugly Baboon and authorities have had to intervene, the city says, its behavior putting the whole group in danger.
The locals had fortified their homes with anti-baboon devices, limited their food waste, and removed their outdoor garbage cans. But they failed to deter the gang.
“Despite additional expenses and a more active commitment from the village, particularly around garbage management, the baboon continued to have more numerous and more significant contacts with the population,” regrets the press release.
With the death of their leader, the city hopes that the splinter group of young people and females will soon find their natural habitat. And a more normal life.