Killer Baboons Running Loose In Saudi Arabia?

saudi-arabia-baboonsFed by tourists for fits and giggles, Saudi baboons have turned rogue.

A gooey, cotton-candy visit to the local zoo or circus is the closest some people ever get to the ever-diminishing wild, which in turn dulls their wild sensibilities. There is the classic story of a Japanese tourist who visited a lion park in South Africa, pulled over with a tripod-mounted video camera, and walked over to cuddle one especially handsome maned-male. He never made it home.

Darwin award candidate treated a wild predator like a squishy Labrador puppy and paid the ultimate price. Unfortunately, such ignorance frequently results in extreme disposal measures for the animals that are then considered a nuisance. In Saudi Arabia, tourists who feed baboons (to satisfy their own fits and giggles) have turned them into rogue raiders against which the local community is now rallying.

Arab News reports that in Al-Hada, baboons have been raiding crops and farms, understandably raising the ire of local farmers. Complaints have been submitted to Taif Governor Fahd bin Muammar, who in turn referred them to the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development.

“Khaled Al-Namri, a farm owner in Al-Hada, is especially concerned.

“They attack neighborhoods and feed from trash containers. I am afraid that their rising number will spread disease in the area. They attack people and destroy crops in search of food. Something needs to be done about this because this is our livelihood,” he told the paper.

Like bears in North America that are world class dumpster divers in areas populated by tourists (and their food) the baboons have not restricted their activity to farms. Khaled Al-Qurashi, a nurse, claimed the baboons are “spoiling the scenery” and endangering residents.

“The problem is that visitors to Taif are attracted to them. They see them as a tourist attraction and buy food for them. The baboons become dependent on humans for food and that persuades them to live close to the villages and cities. Baboons could spread disease among humans, although there is no record of that so far,” he explained.

Although they have a hysterical ring to them, these outcries may not be completely baseless.

Resident Sultan Al-Sufyani told Arab News how earlier this year, eyewitnesses reported that baboons threw rocks at a man who was driving near Al-Karr Mountain. He was subsequently killed, and his passenger was injured. Another man said that baboons tried to drag away his four year old son.

Taif municipality’s official spokesman, Ismaeel Ibrahim said that 47 baboon attacks had been reported, 18 of which had occurred on farming property.

“There are at least 2,000 baboons living in and around the city, feeding from garbage,” Ahmad Al-Booq, who is head of the National Wildlife Research Center told the paper, adding that “the problem would be resolved soon.”

:: Arab News

More travel and nature news from Saudi Arabia:

Bottlenose Dolphins In Egyptian Pool Imported From “The Cove”

Great Examples Of ‘Hima’ Or Protected Areas In The Middle East

Protective Fence Causes Mass Starvation of Saudi Wildlife

image via northwestwildlife

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4 thoughts on “Killer Baboons Running Loose In Saudi Arabia?”

  1. Sooslover, share the link. Lives may be saved.

  2. They can be very dangerous, no doubt. But we forget this with our fascination with wild animals. I do hope no one else is hurt before they find a solution that works for everyone.

  3. Sooslover says:

    I just want to say “history repeats itself” Around 20 years ago when I was 4 years ,,, I went with my father to the same place “Al-Hada”, and my father like all tourists tried to feed baboons and while he was busy feeding a group of them, there was a fu*** big baboon sitting alone in the another side and suddnlly he ran and tried to drag me away…
    Now, its very sad to know it’s been 20 years and no body’s done anything about this wild baboons !!!

    1. No kidding? That’s a wild story!

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