Baboon Matters Trust - baboon conservation in South Africa


For more than 25 years Baboon Matters has been at the forefront of baboon conservation  – in the face of ever-increasing urbanization and intensive agriculture, and the resulting escalation in baboon/human conflict.

“Baboons could not, surely, have a more passionate advocate. Baboon Matters is doing so much to help both baboons and people.”

 – Jane Goodall

Throughout South Africa baboons are in crisis.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that their numbers are declining – the result of their low conservation status, and a society which sees them as problematic and expendable.  Many thousands are killed around the country each year under cruel and inhumane conditions.

Will you help us create awareness for their plight and put your  #HandsUp4baboons?

In a funding environment where baboons are not considered a conservation priority, Baboon Matters relies purely on the support of the public to carry out its work.


In a funding environment where baboons are not considered a conservation priority,

Baboon Matters relies purely on the support of the public to carry out its work.



We cannot continue advocating for the ethical treatment of baboons around the country without financial support.

Your once-off or monthly contribution, or bequest in your will, can aid our fight for a future for baboons in South Africa.

Please consider supporting us.

Add Baboon Matters Trust as a Charity Beneficiary on your existing MySchool card, or join the program. Because every swipe counts and every cent helps!


Baboon Defenders are a commited group of supporters who stand with us as a voice for baboons. All we ask is that you do what you can, when you can.

On occasion we may ask for your help – whatever it is, it will be what is truly needed, right when it’s needed most!

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the baboon-friendly people at Ayama Wines, who are generously donating R30 from the sale of each bottle of wine in their premium Baboon range to Baboon Matters.

Wine may be ordered directly from Ayama.  This is a real win-win:  Support Baboon Matters and enjoy some award-winning wine at the same time!

What to do - there are baboons in my home!

What to do if a baboon enters your home?

Stay calm!  He will not hurt you unless he feels threatened or cornered.

Make sure he has an exit route like an open window or door.

If you have dogs, lock them out of the way.

Read More

What to do - there are baboons in my home!

About Walking Tours

Although a change in policy by the City of Cape Town resulted in our Walking Tours with Baboons being stopped in 2011, we still get regular requests for these tours.  Our Walks were incredibly popular, and many hundreds of people developed a deeper appreciation for baboons as a result, but we are unfortunately not allowed to offer them anymore.

Join us on Facebook

We often comment on how similar non-human primates are to human primates. The single biggest difference is that non-human primates do not destroy their environment. The only species that consciously destroys their habitat are humans. ... See MoreSee Less

"This clip will bring your heart to your mouth..." A must watch for Attenborough fans, via BBC Earth:

View on Facebook

Photo credit: Attie Gerber, Soul of the Baboon ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Baboon Matters updated their cover photo. ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Some thoughts on baboons and plantations

Baboon damage in plantations is a symptom of a much larger problem. Mpumalanga province is oversubscribed in terms of industrial timber plantations.
I value and acknowledge the wood products we use daily in our lives - we need plantations. But we definitely do not NEED as much plantations as we have. A large proportion of wood product from our province and country is being exported, to fulfil the overconsumption of paper and pulp products in the north.
I value the timber farmers whose product are being locally beneficiated and consumed. The more value can be added locally, the more jobs can be created and the more a local economy can thrive and be resilient.

So what’s wrong with planting hundreds of thousands of hectares timber monocultures for the global market and the profit motive? - it comes at a massive cost to biodiversity and ecosystem services which all life (including us) depend upon.
The local grassland (north eastern mountain sourveld) is home to an estimated 4000 indigenous plant species, most of them not grasses but wild flowers with bulbs and storage structures underground. You find entire trees underground in a grassland (hier noem die boere dit ploegbreekers). Plants in grassland are fire adapted and the grassland has to burn, otherwise some grassland plants will become extinct. When you establish a timber plantation you destroy the original vegetation type. After two rotations it can never be completely rehabilitated. Plants create habitat for other components of the ecosystem, so in terms of insects, mammals, birds and reptiles grasslands are incredibly bio diverse. The oribi is South Africas most threatened antelope, due to loss of high altitude moist grassland. The blue swallow, rudds lark, the golden mole, the pangolin, the bats dependant on the insects - all these creatures affected by habitat loss in the high altitude moist grasslands. Quantify the costs of the millions of threatened humulus cycads, gone forever.

Apart from the biodiversity value, grassland has services like water retention, prevention of soil erosion and flash flooding. These services are worth billions to people, especially considering future generations who will struggle when all the topsoil have washed away. You can (not) go drive on most plantation dirt roads and you will note the erosion. The practise of burning slash after harvesting makes the problem worse, as the soil becomes more hydrophobic, water can not penetrate properly and more erosion occurs. These days, local rivers carry a much higher silt load, turbidity is increased and some fish species have become locally extinct.
With regards to water, eucalyptus roots have been measured 50m plus into the soil profile, capable of going deep for available groundwater. It is said that eucalyptus use the equivalent of 650mm rainfall annually. Pine uses 450mm equivalent rainfall. So when its dry, the local plantations make it a lot dryer.

A bigger problem for the plantation industry concerns long term sustainability. Healthy soil contains complex and diverse soil micro-life, which make nutrients available to plants. Monocultures deplete the soil micro-life and more soluble chemical fertilizers have to be applied over time. Ultimately, the soil will be "mined out" and become useless. Some third year rotation plantations in KZN are already growing more poorly.

The solution....???
Slowly start converting marginal areas in your plantations to indigenous, long ratation high value timber. I realize this involves slower growing trees and longer rotations. See it as a very high return long term investment.
Grow cash crops in the understory, and focus on maximizing diversity within forest compartments.
Incorporate animals into the system, Komatiland has been successfully and cost effectively using horses and mule teams for some selective timber extraction operations. This is beneficial as it requires more labor, creates more jobs, less compaction, less use of fossil fuels and more diversity.

Open wide conservation corridors - a recent study in KZN shows that in grassland, corridors or "buffer zones" need to be at least 200m wide to be ecologically functional.

If you feel the need to grow for the global pulp market, lobby the government to allow for the growing of industrial hemp, which produces much more pulp per hectare as it can be annually harvested. It requires less water to grow and does not impact groundwater reserves.

It is my understanding that most of the bark stripping damage occur where baboons move from one semi natural area to another. As a short term solution the industry could strategically open wider wildlife corridors and manage them as proper fire buffers. Such action could prevent the terrible losses due to fire in the past, much worse than can ever be inflicted by baboons.

The industry has been dealing with the baboon problem since 1975, when the first baboon troops were culled. Despite the on-going culling, the problem is escalating - which indicates that the current management solution is not effective. Alternative, humane options must be considered, tried and tested.

I feel empathy for the people who are required to do the physical killing. Baboons are much like people in that they realize their situation - they know they are going to die, as they are systematically shot according to Dave Pepler guidelines. Ask the plantation owners to pull the triggers....
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Just wish Sunday had at least another 24 hours.... ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Baboon Matters updated their profile picture. ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook


Jenni Trethowan
084 413 9482

Kathy Kelly
082 746 1609

Baboon Matters Trust is a registered
Non-Profit Organisation. 074-553-NPO


Sign up to receive our newsletter.