Nov 25, 2009, 5:45 PM EST
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa is almost here, and many people I know are boasting that they are already planning the trip. Sounds like fun, except for the vicious monkeys.
According to several reports, marauding gangs of baboons have been terrorizing Cape Town and other South African cities for years, and the problem is only getting worse. In fact their reign of terror is so complete that the government there is worried that the baboon threat will prevent people from attending World Cup matches. Surely, you think, this is an exaggeration.
No, it is not.
Holy crap, did you see that? Go back up and click on that link. The monkey takeover of our planet is real, people! This is not a drill.
On Tuesday 29 baboons raided four cars outside Simon’s Town, a coastal neighbourhood. A baboon dubbed Fred, the leader of the group, opened unlocked doors and jumped through a window to search for food. He ransacked a bag in one car as a couple panicked over their passports. Others climbed on to car roofs looking for ways inside. Many people who stopped to watch had their own cars broken into by baboons.
“We spend the whole day basically rescuing tourists,” said Mark Duffels, a volunteer who monitors the animals.
About 420 baboons in 17 groups roam the city’s outskirts, especially the popular coastal sites. Baboons are protected under South African law but their persistent pursuit of food has led to conflict with residents. The baboons associate humans and cars with food, although people are strongly discouraged from feeding them.
Harrowing stuff, made better by the thought of a baboon exiting a car, then pointing a remote at it and hearing the “boop-boop!” sound.
But you say that you’re still going to the Word Cup, despite the threat of monkey wilding? Well, we’re here to help.
HOW TO FIGHT MONKEYS
* Most monkeys attack because they want food. If you have food, throw it in their direction. If you don’t, show your empty palms and slowly back away.
* Do not show fear. Also do not bare your teeth, which is a sign of aggression to most primates.
* Shake a stick at them. If confronted, bop them on the head.
* Always travel with a langur, which is a larger, mellower breed on monkey which other monkeys won’t mess with.
Hope this helps.
South Africa’s marauding baboons add to World Cup worries [Guardian.co.uk]
How to fight monkeys [Slate]
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