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Cape Town Baboons Getting 'Out Of Control,' Expert Says

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Hendrik Raven reacts as a baboon jumps towards him after raiding his car for food on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011.   (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Hendrik Raven reacts as a baboon jumps towards him after raiding his car for food on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

JOHANNESBURG -- A renowned American primates expert says baboons are "out of control" on Africa's southernmost tip because animal rights supporters have thwarted efforts to keep them in check.

Kenya-based U.S. anthropologist Shirley Strum said Tuesday troops of baboons are roaming freely in parts of urban Cape Town and surrounding districts. Some even sleep on the roofs of buildings.

In an open letter to the Cape Times newspaper, Strum said after visiting the Cape peninsula that she believed it may already be too late for fencing or other control measures to succeed, although that remains "the only option now, short of eliminating most or all of the baboons."

Strum, who is also a professor at the University of California San Diego, said the baboons are raiding homes and restaurants, using their typical "ingenuity and adaptability."

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