CAPE TOWN, S AFRICA MO - In the street battle for supremacy between man and baboon, it can only be said that both sides are using guerrilla tactics.

For the baboons it means swarming SAS style up the sheer sides of blocks of flats, prising open windows and plundering anything that is inside. Usually they just want food, but sometimes a flapping set of net curtains or a child’s cuddly toy bear can provide some added entertainment.

For the humans, the weapons of choice – given that their enemy is a protected species – tend to be paintball guns and pepper sprays. They have the momentary effect of driving the baboons away, but hunger and sheer nerve always bring them back. As the pictures here show, these are the scenes which regularly affect life in Cape Town, South Africa, where man and baboon share a sometimes uncomfortable existence. Protected on the Cape Peninsula since 1999, there are now around 500 baboons living in 16 groups, increasingly cut off from their old, native habitats by the sprawling city.

To survive, they trawl through waste bins, loiter at rubbish dumps, steal from shops and markets and prowl around the picnic sites. Some are such practised scavengers that they know exactly when the rubbish carts will be arriving with fresh supplies at the dump. While some people don’t give a monkey’s about their vagrant neighbours even leaving out food for them, others go ape just at the thought of them. In the suburb of Scarborough, a woman screams at the pair of baboons sitting casually on the roof of her house munching hunks of pilfered brown bread.