Cape fire takes toll on baboons

The fire that raged around Cape Town's South Peninsula has left several baboons dead.

A young baboon glances up at a helicopter overhead after the fire swept through parts of Groot Constantia wine estate on 4 March 2015. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Six baboons have died as a result of the massive South Peninsula fire, and it's expected another three might have to be put down. The City of Cape Town's Biodiversity Management Team has been assessing damage done by the blaze to the flora and fauna of the area.

They've been paying close attention to four troops of baboons, who were in the areas worst affected by the fire. The main Tokai troop came off worst. Four of the troop members died, and two more had to be put down due to the severity of their injuries. Six more baboons from that troop are injured, and authorities believe three of them will have to be put down as well.

Manager of Biodiversity Management for the City of Cape Town, Julia Woods, says SANParks is turning off the electric fence around the picnic area at Tokai Forest, to allow baboons access to that area.

"One of the other baboon troops is actually sitting in Groot Constantia on the vineyard side, so they have come down."

Woods says the Swaanswyk electric fences remain operational, so they are confident people in the surrounding areas won't be affected by the animals movements.

The fire started on Sunday, and quickly raged out of control, consuming over 5,000 hectares of vegetation, destroying 14 homes and other buildings, and prompting mass evacuations. A team of over 1,300 dedicated fire fighters managed to bring the flames under control on Friday, but fire crews continue to damp down hotspots, and keep a close eye on the situation.