Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Saudis use electric shocks to deter marauding baboons

In southwest Saudi Arabia, baboons have no qualms about entering inhabited areas to loot bins and pantries. Such monkey business is causing panic among the local residents, who are resorting to unusual means to get rid of the baboons. There are many baboons in the mountainous regions of southwestern Saudi Arabia, namely in al-Qura, al-Baha, and Abha.

For the last few months, roving monkey hordes have been venturing increasingly closer to villages and farmland. Fayçal al-Zahrani who lives in al-Baha province said; "They typically arrive before dawn, in groups of 10 to 20 baboons. First, they raid crops in the fields around the village, then they tear open the trash bags and even try to break into houses to steal food.

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"Last week, they caused a panic at a girls’ school they attacked early in the morning. They managed to steal cookies in the backpacks of the students. Residents are also concerned because baboons can transmit serious diseases. In my village, we don’t know what to do to protect ourselves from the monkeys.

"We secure our trash bins with metal wire and some villagers have even installed barbed wire to prevent the baboons from getting into their houses. Others have set up traps that give off electric jolts. I don’t approve of this method because I think it’s cruel; these animals are not violent, you just have to wave your arms in the air or yell at them for them to run off."

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