South African Baboon Bandit is Put Down

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AP

A baboon notorious for robbing parked cars and stealing from tourists at a scenic Cape Town lookout has been euthanized because he has been showing increased signs of aggression, officials say.

"The Baboon Operational Group had to make the difficult decision to euthanize a raiding baboon in the Smitswinkel Bay area, (who is) commonly known as Fred," says the city of Cape Town in a statement.

The Australian newspaper reports the baboon attacked and injured three people in 2010, and was also the ringleader in a 2009 car raid that included 29 baboons.

"This baboon's aggression levels had recently escalated to the point where the safety of tourists, motorists and other travelers along the road past Smitswinkel Bay were threatened," the group tells the news outlet.

Fred was able to open unlocked car doors, unlike other baboons who could only access cars through open windows.

More than 400 baboons roam the outskirts of Cape Town, particularly along scenic routes.

The animals are a protected species under South African legislation, but as the animals become exposed to human food, they become increasingly intent on getting more, the group says.

"Unfortunately, this baboon's demise can be contributed mainly to the continuous misguided efforts by humans to befriend and feed baboons," says the group.

People caught feeding baboons around Cape Town are liable for a fine of $215.

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