Cape Town's 'mugger' baboon Fred to be put down

Fred the baboon eats a piece of fruit inside a car in Cape Town. File photo Fred the baboon has been targeting cars in pursuit of food in Cape Town

A baboon known for raiding cars and attacking tourists in Cape Town has been captured and will be put down, South African officials say.

They say they took the "difficult decision" to kill the baboon, named Fred, after he became more aggressive.

In 2010, the monkey attacked and injured three people as it searched for food in the city.

City officials blamed Fred's violence on "misguided efforts" by tourists to try to befriend and feed the animal.

"The decision to have him (Fred) euthanised was not taken lightly and not without extensive discussions between all role-players involved," Cape Town's Baboon Operational Group said in a statement.

"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," it added.

There are some 400 baboons roaming Cape Town's outskirts, particularly the popular scenic route to the Cape of Good Hope.

Baboons are a protected species in South Africa but their aggressive pursuit of food has led to conflicts with residents and complaints from tourists.

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