Rivendell Boutique Wine Estate along with many other areas in and around Hermanus and Bot River are troubled by the endless pestering and destruction of baboon troops in the region.
We have recently done major renovations at our wedding and function venue, says venue manager Michelle van Zyl, but we are having endless trouble with the baboons as the troop now thinks this is their personal playpen.
The Farm Manager, Wentzel van Zyl, is also concerned about the damage they are causing in the olive grove and keeping the baboons away from the vineyards is an ongoing struggle and major challenge for the vineyard team.
"We did'nt want to hurt the baboons but we required an urgent solution, and fast too since wedding season has already started and our first weddings are coming up soon!" said Michelle.
The team contacted Panthera Africa, based in Stanford. Panthera Africa is a rehabilitation and releasing project for lions and other big cats. They then asked if they could possibly collect lion/‘cat’ manure and naturally this was frowned upon so they explained the situation at Rivendell.
"After strategically placing the manure for the first time in areas where the baboons are prevalent, we noticed that the troop was not around for about four weeks" explained Wentzel. "I then contacted Panthera Africa again and informed them that the scent of the manure seems to keep the baboons away but only lasts approximately two weeks, weather permitting."
Subsequently the team have met with the founders, Lizaene Cornwall and Cathrine S. Nyquist – AKA Cat. They suggested keeping a record of the baboons behaviour by using different types of cat manure which have been implemented on the estate since.
Panthera Africa's slogan states - 'In union there is strength' - this rings true, we are grateful that we have found a ‘natural’ repellent to keep the baboons away from Rivendell's olive groves, vineyards and newly renovated buildings whilst at the same time forming a partnership, and collaborating, with Panthera Africa.