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Are your clients insured against monkey business?

Make sure THEY’RE covered for when the wildlife goes ape.

Making sure that insurance policies provide cover against most risk scenarios is not always an easy task. For instance, does your clients’ cover extend to damage caused by wild baboons or monkeys? As urban development in South Africa continues to encroach on natural habitats and many regions face extended droughts and water shortages, residents from the suburbs to city centres are increasingly finding unexpected guests on their properties, and even inside their homes: wild baboons and monkeys.

Wild baboons and monkeys can become a real nuisance. Worse, they can cause thousands of Rands’ worth of damage to home interiors, structures like outbuildings and gardens. To top it all off, some insurers are cheeky enough to include exclusion clauses and won’t compensate for losses, damages and costs associated with such damage.

Luckily we know all about this monkey business and will help advise you on working with your clients to obtain adequate cover.

South Africa in general is known for its natural beauty and splendour. Rolling grasslands, the vastness of the Karoo, dramatic mountain facades and sweeping coastal landscapes are home to an incredible array of wildlife. One that seems to thrive in almost all of these habitats is the baboon.

As we become ever-closer neighbours, spatial overlap puts us as humans in competition with baboons and monkeys for resources. Environmental factors also have increasingly adverse effects on naturally available food and water sources.

It’s not really a competition for humans though, as we tend to take what we want. And as baboons and monkeys become more brazen and accustomed to the presence of humans, it’s not really a competition for them either… from a baboon’s perspective humans mean food. And it’s in our homes.

It is illegal to feed, injure or kill baboons under the Cape Nature Conservation Laws Amendment Act of 2000. Should a baboon insurgence begin harassing an area, the local municipality should be contacted. They will lodge the matter with the relevant nature preservation authority who will attempt to resolve the problem. This is often done by removing the dominant male from the pack, or even using paint guns as a deterrent (which also creates jobs).

There are other practical measures to safeguard your property that you can share with your clients – and try yourself:

  • Latch all windows and doors. One of the best ways of keeping baboons and monkeys out of the home is to stop them from gaining entry through windows and doors in the first place. There are ingenious products on the market that allows for leaving doors and windows ajar and unattended. Enjoy fresh air and natural light while openings are closed enough and locked, so baboons and monkeys can’t get in.
  • Have the hose ready. Baboons do not like water, which makes it a handy, inexpensive, yet effective deterrent. Use the garden hose or a big water gun to spray baboons from a safe distance. If they are squirted before they enter the property, it might deter them from future raids.
  • Do the electric slide. If the budget allows, electric fencing is a buzzing good way to protect properties from not only potential criminals, but also plundering baboons and monkeys. Be sure to charge the correct current and have the fencing installed professionally so there is no compromise on efficacy or safety.
  • Monkey-proof all bins. Baboons and monkeys will be attracted by organic kitchen- and household waste. Their highly developed sense of smell may lure them onto properties in search of discarded tasty treats. Separate organic waste into a separate, inaccessible container and baboons are more likely to try the garbage take-away next door.
  • Padlock everything. This may seem a bit excessive, but we know that baboons are smart, have very nimble fingers (and toes), and can open unlocked doors, cupboards, drawers and bins with ease. Make it as difficult as possible for baboons and monkeys to access anything. If they can’t access the treats in store, they probably won’t waste their time trying again.

Never corner a baboon or confront it in close proximity. They are not intimidated by humans, they are strong, confrontational and can be dangerous. Should you find yourself face to snout with a baboon, stay still and try to remain calm. Try to be confident and back away slowly. Never attempt snatching anything back from a thieving baboon. Safety is another reason why it is better to try and keep them away from your property from the start. Implementing these practical deterrents should provide a measure of protection and peace of mind.

There are more online resources regarding baboons and monkeys. Visit the Baboon Matters website or Facebook page, and the Monkey Helpline website or Facebook page.

Don’t let baboons and the damage they can cause be a monkey on your clients’ backs. Advise them to do what is practically possible to minimise potential damage, and contact us to relevant email address) to make sure that you are providing them with adequate cover against monkey business.