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Conservation

Join the Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group on our Facebook page. Follow us for all kinds of baboon information.

sanparks logoAgulhas National Park eBulletins.

We have the occasional copy of this fine PDF available here.

Attributions

Many of the professional photographs you will see on this site are courtesy of www.peteoxford.com and www.peteoxfordexpeditions.com

peteoxford.com
baboons golf course peteoxford
"If I stick it in my mouth they'll never find it!"

Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond baboon troops are one and the same. Today we responded to another call-out that a baboon troop was inside the residential area of Palmiet village. We soon found them walking through people’s yards, feeding on fruiting trees and foraging on lawns. We have been with them pretty much every day for the last couple of weeks. They are very relaxed around us and we are getting to know individuals.

20190703 baboons return up the mountain
After a couple of hours feeding in Palmiet Village they crossed the R44
and went back up into the mountain.
20190703 stumpytail and dogs
This is Stumpy Tail, a juvenile who is well know in Betty’s Bay.

One very positive outcome of todays visit was that we confirmed 100% that this was the very same troop that has been in the Sunny Seas area.

There is a Palmiet WhatsApp baboon alert group which seemed pretty effective in relaying the whereabouts of the visitors and after discussion with one resident an idea came to mind whereby a community, such as Palmiet, Sunny Seas, Jock’s Bay or the Caltex garage area in Betty’s Bay for example could each have a dedicated baboon-only siren/whistle to alert residents in the area.

This would have to be manned of course by someone. What do you all think of that idea?

 

Betty’s Bay neighbourhoods are experiencing lots of visits from the baboons since the fire. I urge you all to read this article written by Jocelyn Mormet , who has been studying the baboon troop in Rooi Els. I have visited many homes, especially in the Sunny Seas area, who are upset with the amount on visitations they are getting.

Almost everyone I have been to has some kind of food out for the birds, mongoose or porcupines. They say they are not feeding the baboons—however baboons are omnivores - they eat anything! They love bird seed, they love porcupine veggies and they don’t mind eating mongoose meat! There is so much food out there for these animals. Have you seen a skinny baboon in our troop? Do they have lots of babies? Wild food has less calories so they’ll be occupied for longer if they forage naturally.

Please also encourange neighbours not to feed any animals. We are in the process of setting up a Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group. In the meantime please do not hurt these animals. We live in a Biosphere Reserve and they are important to our eco system. They are also a lot of fun to watch. Go outside and just walk with them!

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Avoid this by being aware of food
20190624 Baboons 321
Enjoy their natural behaviour
20190624 Baboon 189
..out in the fynbos!

All photos ©Pete Oxford http://peteoxford.com

I had a brief but fortuitous visit yesterday to Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and came across these two White-fronted bee-eaters (Merops bullockoides). Rare vagrants to our area they are way out of range usually found much further to the north and east of South Africa. These two however seemed quite happy sallying for insects often returning to the same perch. Midday sun wasn’t the best light but great to see them anyway.

20190623 White fronted bee eater20190623 White fronted bee eater 8020190623 White fronted bee eater 107

dead puffadder shyshark main beach bettysbay may 2019
Photograph © Pete Oxford

I walk Main Beach, Betty's Bay, everyday, proud to live alongside this designated Marine Protected Area ("MPA"—Ed). Yet, nearly every day I find another dead Puffadder Shyshark on the beach discarded by fishermen.

If you catch one guys, Put It Back Alive! Our MPA is suffering enough as it is from blatant, uncontrolled abalone poaching. Let's not be part of the problem too. Even These little sharks may be annoying to a fisherman but they are pretty cool, harmless (and necessary).

They are classified as Near Threatened, which means they are not in good shape already. When threatened they curl up like a doughnut to make themselves harder to swallow! They only live in South Africa. We should be proud of them.

humpback pectoral fin wikimedia
By Milan Nykodym. Licenced cc-by-sa-2.0.

 We were in a meeting on the shore of Betty's Bay today when we got a call about a lot of commotion in the water off Sunny Seas. Was it the orcas?? Jumping up we got to see and watch a great display by a big humpback whale close to shore, probably about 30 tons. He was flipper flapping (a real term), slapping the water hard with his long pectoral fins. Usually the humpies are more active at the beginning of the season as they announce their presence and become boisterous in the excitement of the build up to mating. Once you see the large pectoral fin of a humpback whale it cannot be confused with any other. It gets to about 15 feet long!! Even their Latin name Megaptera novaeangliae means 'long-winged New Englander'.

 

After being alerted by a local resident, Michelle, on Saturday night that there were 5 dead sharks on Main Beach, Betty’s Bay we walked the beach looking for their corpses to try to figure out what might be the cause of their deaths. Finding four of the five in the darkness, they all showed exactly the same apparent cause of death. Namely that their throats seemed to have been ripped out. They were cowsharks, or sevengill sharks, the oldest sharks in the shark evolutionary ladder. They are rare sharks.

Let’s help our wildlife, particularly during these hot spells (one of the hottest on record) and after the fires, by providing lots of drinking stations. In this case we have placed a shallow ceramic bowl filled with pebbles and then added water up to the brim. This gives the bees and other insects some purchase on the pebbles, allowing them to drink safely without falling into the water and drowning. On especially hot days you can even add some ice cubes!

beewater oxford.small

The low volume of water evaporates quickly and should be topped up everyday. Another measure by which we can help our indigenous insects is to plant your garden with as much native flora as possible. One reason, in particular is that some insect species are very specific on the type of plants they require, especially on which to lay their eggs. Take butterflies for example, one of the main goals of an adult butterfly is to lay eggs on a plant that its caterpillars have evolved to feed on. Without those plants you won’t attract those butterflies. Invasive insects are usually a lot less fussy about the plants they can use and therefore quickly become dominant in gardens devoid of native flora.