My involvement with the Baboons came as a complete surprise to me. When I heard stories from friends in certain coastal areas around where I live, that Baboons would come and visit their homes at times, I tried hard to imagine what that experience would be like as you look out your home window and watch in your own garden, a Baboon troop arrive there. And a bit of fear was something that came up for me.That is, until I actually made direct contact with the Baboons.

It happened that I was in my car driving with a client, who was involved in a healing process with me on this particular Saturday, towards the end of May 2009. We had completed a specific process and were driving enroute over the montains, back to my place. I noticed a troop of Baboons walking along the road side and saw an offical Baboon monitor, walking with the animals. As I slowly drove past, in my rear view mirror, I saw three young Baboons crossing the road and the last little one was hit by a very fast driving car. The person did not even slow down. I was horrified. I stopped my car and ran to the baby Baboon, pulled off my jacket and ever so gently picked the little one up, and we raced to the vet practice down the road. My client who is a professional nurse and Reiki Master, and who was terrified of Baboons beforehand, sat in my car, next to me holding this little baby in her arms rocking the animal and applying healing energy to the creature who was in severe pain. This profound happening is something I now live with, and this experience changed us both as human beings, forever.



Unfortunately, young Billy which was her name, died two days later from severe neurological brain damage. I was introduced officially to Jenny Trethowan who is the founder of Baboon Matters, an organisation based in the Far South Peninsular of Cape Town, in the heart of the area of the Baboons' natural habitat. Established in 1990 she started this organisation in an attempt to begin to work towards a sustainable management solution, to ensure continued Baboon protection and to ensure a long term future on the peninsular, for them. Since 1999 Baboon Matters, started an exciting initiative, employing Baboon monitors who are qualified, experienced men, approximately five men per Baboon troop, and these monitors traverse with the Baboons across the mountain ranges and in forests during day hours. As part of her program, Jenny offers the inspiring "Walking with Baboons" project in an ''effort to create a level of awareness and appreciation for these incredible creatures; perhaps through better understanding will come an acceptance and tolerance that will enable the humans and primates to learn to live alongside each other in harmony. The aim is to bridge the gap between the wild world of the Baboons and the civilised world of their human relatives''. Jenny and these monitors accompany, as personal guides, those groups of humans who select to 'walk with Baboons.' The monitors have been effective in assisting to help protect the Baboons and to keep them as much as possible, away from the human places.Roads have always been a dangerous area because of the human speeding.
There were countless challenges they faced as an organisation: a major one was that she did not have sufficient funds to be able to employ enough monitors, for more effective Baboon management - apparently there are some 13 individual Baboon troops currently roaming the mountains of the Far South Peninsular of Cape Town and she employed monitors which covered only 3 of those 13 troops.



In addition, the available attraction of thrown away foods etc in rubbish bins and elsewhere, naturally was/is an attraction to the Baboons and these primates need the monitors to lure them away from 'easy food' options. The greatest worry now, however, is that Jenny has just lost the renewal of this contract and while the project of Baboon management has officially gone to another group, the actual monitor programme which Jenny had established, officially ends at the end of January 2010 with no repeat or renewal of the monitor program as yet. It is not looking good at all for the future of our Baboons.What will happen to them without the monitors? The concerns for the Baboons' welfare are warranted if you consider what the authorities are sanctioning currently as the way forward. One concern lies in their approach towards 'dispersing males' - this relates to male Baboons who have for whatever reason, decided to leave their troop. The issue regarding this is, if a Baboon has left its troop, naturally the Baboon will not generally want to return to that troop again, and the authorities state that unless the dispersing male returns to its troop, or another troop, the situation will be 'remedied' by euthanasing (killing) these dispersed Baboons. Another concern lies in ' repeat raiders' which is a term referring to those Baboons who have raided a place at least once before, for food.

A program is being put into action which results in the authorities tagging the Baboon on an ear, to indicate that the Baboon has raided once, and the authorities will eventually euthanase the tagged Baboons, yet there is no accountability upon the human side, where people could leave unclosed rubbish areas etc, containing food items and naturally the Baboons will be drawn to find the easy food.The concerns are enormous considering the increasing levels of urbanisation and the ever reducing natural spaces in the Far South Peninsular which led to many of us recommending a project to help relocate these Baboons elsewhere away from urban areas. This recommendation has been met with another decision by the authorities, that there can be no translocation of these animals.

Governmental policy decision is duly being called for to ensure baboons are protected.


I would highly recommend checking out the site www.baboonmatters.org.za and I encourage you, if you are able to join in on a 'Walk with Baboons' which is a world-class experience, filled with life-changing moments, to do so. Sitting with and observing these entertaining, caring animals as they carry on around you, is breath-taking and humbling. Quite naturally your outlook regarding these beautiful Baboons, who will touch your heart in ways you can not imagine, and help you to open your own perceptions and considerations, will transform you, forever. Please assist by contacting Jenny directly, jennit@cybersmart.co.za


Baboon medicine teaches lessons about maintaining sacred ground, and reminds us of the sacredness of family, and right now, it is sacred ground which these family members are in need of, to secure their existence here.
The future for all Baboons here in the Cape Town areas, does not look good at all. Please get involved to help find the solution for the Baboons of these lands, that they may continue to live, and that they may do so, in freedom and in safety.