Village south of Qunfudah fights off baboon invasion

JEDDAH: Arab News

Published — Sunday 3 February 2013

Last update 3 February 2013 6:20 am

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A minor war has broken out south of Qunfudah in the village of Kiad where large groups of hungry baboons from nearby valleys are attacking residences in search of food and drink. Residents have employed a variety of methods to combat the primates but it is still a daily battle from sunrise to sunset.
Hussein Al-Barakati, a resident of Kiad, said that he feared for his mother’s safety as she lives alone near the valley. Baboons raid her home from time to time in search of water. Weather conditions have left the valley parched and prompted the baboons to forage among the humans.
Hussain said that he did not find it inconceivable that a major disaster would strike the village because of baboons invading people’s homes, noting that some of the animals are quite large.
Adel Medini, from the town of Helli, has his own take on the recent scourge of baboons: “It’s a daily game of hide and seek. The baboons are targeting empty houses and are well aware of what they are doing. The assault on the village is not random, as some believe. They proceed according to studied plans. That’s why their attacks do not fail. For example, imagine a resident who is absent from their home for a period of time. Even though it’s just one day, he is surprised to return to find his home in disarray. Some people in this situation thought that thieves had broken into and ransacked their houses … The problem is that the village’s houses are old and non-roofed, and our daily guest is hungry.”
Salem Al-Barakati said that the main reason that the baboons are difficult to stymie is because of their high intelligence. They easily match wits with those out to drive them away.
Mayor of Helli, Ali Al-Qarni, explained that the baboons arrive in the winter and migrate away in the summer. They live on the slopes of the mountains, and they descend to the valley in the winter to search for food and drink.
He attributed the assaults on residences to the Kiad weekly market where vendors leave vegetable and fruit out to rot, attracting the hungry baboons. The houses attacked, he said, were close to the market.
Al-Qarni explained that the municipality continues to exterminate the baboons by putting poison in bananas. The method was originally successful but the baboons figured it out and stopped eating the poisonous bananas. “We try to change the method from time to time,” he said.

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