Fred (baboon)

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Fred eating in a car

Fred (died 25 March 2011) was a chacma baboon from Cape Town, South Africa. He came to international attention as the leader of a baboon gang[1] which developed a reputation for raiding cars, assaulting and interfering with tourists, and stealing food. This led to Fred being labelled as aggressive by authorities.[2] He was captured in 2011, and put down soon afterwards.[1][3]

Fred was pursued by photographers and police for at least three years.[3] During one attack in 2010, the baboon was reported to have caused injuries to three people while searching for food in Cape Town.[3] Two of the wounded received medical attention after the attack.[1] When monitors were mobilised to disrupt Fred's activities the baboon initiated a violent campaign against these too.[4] Human negligence and "misguided efforts" were found to have led to Fred's "demise" – "Because people want to love, laugh at and be entertained by baboons, they start a cycle of events that can lead to tragedy, as in the case of this baboon", the city said, adding "He targets cars with bags and visible food, but it is his ability to open closed car doors that surprised everyone".[1]

The decision to have him euthanised was not taken lightly and not without extensive discussions between all role-players involved. This baboon's aggression levels had recently escalated to the point where the safety of tourists, motorists and other travellers along the road past Smitswinkel Bay was being threatened. – statement released by Cape Town's Baboon Operational Group.[5]

Not all local residents agreed with his sentence. Documentary filmmaker Joss Lean filmed Fred's capture before following the vehicle in which he was imprisoned amid efforts to have him released. The Baboon Matters organisation also attempted to intervene on his behalf.[2]

Fred features in the British television programme Baboons with Bill Bailey[3] and an episode of Inside Nature's Giants, in which his dissection took place. With X-ray and dissection, numerous shotgun pellets were found throughout his body.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Death sentence for robber baboon". The Times (South Africa). Avusa. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b Bamford, Helen (26 March 2011). "Infamous baboon put down". Independent Online (South Africa). Independent News & Media. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d "Fred the baboon given lethal injection". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Baboon Fred who mugged tourists to be killed". The Australian. News Limited. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Cape Town's 'mugger' baboon Fred to be put down". BBC News. BBC. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Rogue Baboon". Retrieved 11 January 2012.