It has been five days since a baboon was first sighted in Fourways, Johannesburg, with the primate continuing to give rescuers the run-around.
Initially named ‘Mr Baboon’, rescuers at the Owl Rescue Centre (ORC) have since dubbed him Elon – “Just because he is South African and pretty darn smart”.
ORC, Community-Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) and NPO Wild Serve have made attempts to dart and sedate him, but have so far been unsuccessful.
Suspected to come from the Hartbeespoort area, ORC earlier this week the baboon had been “running rogue” on the roof of the Broadacres Shopping Centre for days.
Elon had also made a few appearances at Fairfields Estate in Fourways.
Fairfields Estate manager Charlene Mathe told Fourways Review the baboon this was not the first time monkeys or baboons had roamed the complex.
“This time though, the baboon is going into gardens and houses.”
ORC co-founder and communications manager Danelle Murray told The Citizen traps had been placed to capture him safely, but that he seems “a bit trap shy”.
She said Mr Baboon was followed all the way to Lonehill Koppies on Tuesday evening, where he spent the night.
On Thursday, Elon had made his way to the eastern side of Sunninghill, next to Megawatt Park.
Three primate traps were placed along his route, with veterinarian Dr Rob Campbell on standby, should there be a safe opportunity to dart him.
“He has figured out that the local residents’ kitchens have good food inside if the windows are left open. If this happens, just lock him inside. We’ll fundraise to cover the damage,” ORC said in a social media post.
Later on Thursday, ORC made their way to an abandoned office park across from Megawatt Park, where Elon was ambling about on the roof.
Attempts were made to lure him into the building using apples to form a sort of bait trail. The plan was to get Elon into one of the offices and trap him so that he could be darted and rescued.
That, too, fell through.
En route to more baboons
ORC said as of 3pm on Thursday, Elon had managed to cross the N1 highway under the bridge, through Buccleuch and into the Modderfontein reserve.
It was assumed Elon would make his way through Tembisa, but it was hoped he would take the “less treacherous Kempton Park route”.
Should he find himself in that area, ORC said he would be in the vicinity of an area wild enough to find other baboons.
“But that’s still a lot of ifs. We shall do our best to get him through safely,” ORC said.
If you or someone you know spot Elon, contact the Owl Rescue Centre on 082 719 5463. Provide as much information of the sighting as you can.
Compiled by Nica Richards.