The National Centre for Wildlife (NCW) in Saudi Arabia has warned residents and citizens that feeding baboons is a punishable offence, with violators incurring a 500 riyal fine.
This new fine comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to manage the burgeoning baboon population and mitigate the associated environmental impacts.
Dr. Mohammsd Al Qurban, Head of the centre, expressed his gratitude towards the Ministry of Environment for implementing this penalty. “We are monitoring the enforcement of the no-feeding rule through surveillance cameras,” Dr. Al Qurban revealed during his TV interview on Al Arabiya.
The centre has launched an initiative to manage the increasing numbers of baboons in impacted areas, following the completion of studies. According to Al Qurban, “since its establishment in January 2021, the centre has been committed to addressing the escalating baboon populations, an issue ongoing for more than 50 years.”
Prior to the treatment phase, the centre conducted extensive research to understand the roots of the problem, determining the number of baboons, their hotspots and their impact on six Saudi regions.
The study found approximately 40,000 domesticated baboons in urban areas.
The comprehensive study has offered a clear understanding of the issue, allowing the commencement of treatment in the most affected areas.
Al Qurban emphasised that the centre has a set of solutions to address the baboon problem. These include reducing their numbers through scientifically approved methods used worldwide, sterilisation, public awareness campaigns, and continuous monitoring from the centre.
Improvements in waste management, specifically the treatment of containers and landfills, are also expected to contribute significantly to the programme’s success.
Baboons are a type of primate found in Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, including Saudi Arabia. They belong to the genus Papio, which is part of the family Cercopithecidae, also known as Old World monkeys.
Baboons are easily recognisable by their dog-like muzzles, powerful jaws, heavy body build, and relatively long, muscular limbs. They also have a distinctive, hairless, padded rump, which they use for sitting.
Their size varies depending on the species, but males are generally larger than females.
Baboons are highly adaptable and can be found in a wide range of habitats, from savannas and forests to semi-arid regions and even mountainous terrain.
They are omnivorous and have a varied diet, consuming fruits, grasses, seeds, insects, small mammals and birds.