Streaming issues? Report here
CapeTalk logo 2017 1500 x 1500 CapeTalk logo 2017 1500 x 1500
Weekend Early
03:00 - 06:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King
See full line-up
Weekend Early
03:00 - 06:00
Home
arrow_forward
Local
fiber_manual_record
Politics

BTT minutes: Baboon management protocols must change 'to speed up euthanasia'

20 October 2020 11:15 AM
Tags:
BTT
Baboon management protocols

The minutes of a 2017 Baboon Technical Team meeting reveal iCWild's Justin O’Riain argued all male baboons will be 'raiders.'

Kataza the baboon forcibly relocated from his natal troop on Slangkop to Tokai 56 days ago has caused great public outcry and discussion about baboon management protocols in Cape Town.

The City of Cape Town and those who have worked to develop the current Baboon Technical Team (BTT) protocols defend them strongly and argue that activists do not understand the nature of conservation and are interfering.

Many observers report Kataza is not integrating with the Tokai troop, though he is certainly interacting with members. He spends most of his nights away from the troop sleeping on rooftops.

The City of Cape Town's public relations Facebook page Baboons of Cape Town dispute many of the reports and insist Kataza is doing very well.

Professor Justin O’Riain heads up the iCWIld Unit at the University of Cape Town, previously called the Baboon Research Unit.

He argues strongly in a recent TimesLive article that the protocols are for the good of the population versus the rights of each individual. Conservation biology is a scientific discipline, he says, and this is how to preserve the species.

Capetonian Ryno Enelbrecht is taking the City of Cape Town and other related groups such as Cape Nature and SANParks to court on Wednesday 21 October to have the decision to move Kataza overturned.

The City only responded at the eleventh hour declaring it will fight the case and defend its protocols.

However, now having seen a leaked 2017 BTT document, it raises many questions about whether this protocol's real aim is to ensure the survival of the Chacma baboons in Cape Town, or whether they are aimed at ensuring these animals are eradicated.

In a copy obtained from a confidential source, the minutes of a 2017 Baboon Technical Team and Baboon Liaison Group meeting clearly state that baboons are considered to be a problem that must be dealt with.

Justin O’Riain states in the meeting's minutes stated he wanted to collar every baboon. In the minutes he reportedly said: 'We need a discussion on the protocols. We need to change the protocols to speed up the euthanasia. The lessons learned on moving dispersing males has not been a success. There has been an increase in raiding.'

Baboon groups such as Baboon Matters Trust believes far more responsibility needs to be placed on humans living in the urban fringe, rather than this human/baboon conflict approach evident in the protocols that criminalise the baboons.

BTT minutes page from 2017: (Full minutes attached below and the response following this broadcast from Justin O’Riain on his interpretation of the meeting.)

Listen to the audio below about the baboon protocols from 2 minutes 37 seconds on Barbs Wire with Barbara Friedman:

[Note: Prof O’Riain contacted Barbara Friedman and asked that he have a right of reply to the minutes published. See below)

Read the full minutes of the 2017 BTT meeting below:

Professor O’Riain's written response to the minutes of the BTT/BLG meeting:

These minutes were from a combined BTT and Baboon Liaison Group meeting. The BLG are members of the public from residential areas impacted by baboons who contribute meaningfully to shaping and improving the Peninsula baboon program. The reason the minutes are not circulated is that the objective of the meetings is to engage in robust discussion on pertinent issues. It is almost impossible to capture a discussion in written minutes. These minutes fail to capture either the context of the content of my contribution. Below I provide context, content and intent.

Since 2012 I have been saying in public lectures, international conferences and local meetings with the public representatives that while the baboon program is succeeding at keeping troops out of urban areas we still do not have solutions for individual males (or females) that leave the troop and go into urban areas alone. Such behaviour is possible because we do not have natural predators that would normally make moving alone to forage a very risky behaviour.

I have thus routinely stated that as a collective (public, conservation managers, service provider, scientists) we are ‘failing males’. We do not have a solution to preventing these individuals from leaving the troop and foraging alone in urban areas.

My concern therefore is that all adult males are at some stage of their lives going to fall foul of the protocols. While they are alpha and mate guarding and protecting their offspring they can be deterred from dangerous urban areas as they remain close to the core of the troop. However, once deposed and denied reproductive access they are inclined to become peripheral and even leave the troop to forage alone in urban areas. In the minutes you will see reference to Wildman. I evoked this baboon as an example of the challenges. During the course of his life he went from wild, alpha and scared of people to low ranking and foraging in rural areas and houses without fear of people. Once a male has lost his alpha status and is peripheral to the troop then attractants in developed areas seem to outweigh the costs of foraging alone. How do we stop baboons going from wild to habituated?

So I suggested to the meeting, as an invited guest with relevant experience, that we needed to revisit protocols to address this challenge. I further highlighted, based on the presentations given at the meeting, that the decision time for deciding on protocols was too slow and needed to be speeded up. This talks to the fact that in 2017 CapeNature’s Wildlife Advisory Committee made the final decision on all protocol applications and at the meeting they had stated that they were struggling to find the time to meet and make decisions on whether or not they supported a proposed application. Delays in decision making for baboons with compromised welfare had lead to repeated criticism from the public. Improving the speed of such decisions does not change the decision – only the time from application to conclusion – whether supported or not.

I am happy that the protocols have been revised and are now guidelines with more flexibility for mitigating circumstances. I am happy that since 2017 the number of baboons that have been killed in urban areas by residents or put down as a result of protocols has reduced dramatically relative to the 6 years preceding this meeting. More baboons in 2020 now die of natural causes than human. From 2006-2011 most baboons died as a result of humans. This is progress. However we, and by we I mean all people who care for baboons and the rights of residents to not share their space with them, have still not solved the challenge of preventing low ranking single males from entering urban areas with their itinerant risks. The first person/group/organisation that solves this challenge should be hailed as a hero. I look forward to hearing suggestions on this platform.


20 October 2020 11:15 AM
Tags:
BTT
Baboon management protocols

More from Local

john-maytham-studio-commentpng

Govt again 'letting poor down, badly, callously, obscenely' says John Maytham

15 January 2021 4:29 PM

John Maytham vents about temporarily disabled people having to stand in long queues and getting water cannons fired at them.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Police van SAPS

[VIDEOS] Police spray Sassa grant queue in Bellville with water cannons

15 January 2021 2:28 PM

Journalist Saawmiet Moos in Belville describes people queuing for Sassa social grants sprayed with police water cannons.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station 123rf 123rfbusiness

'Eskom has again been grossly caught with their pants around their ankles'

15 January 2021 1:29 PM

Energy analyst Ted Blom says Eskom doesn't report the additional shedding of VLS clients totaling an over 4000-megawatt shortfall.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Man travel airport check-in boarding pass passport #123rflifestyle 123rf

Can you get a new South African passport right now?

15 January 2021 12:22 PM

W Cape Home Affairs' Sam Plaatjies says no, but the department has the discretion to renew passports on a case-by-case basis.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

dr-emmanuel-taban-carte-blanchejpg

Meet Dr Emmanuel Taban, a leading pulmonologist in SA's fight against Covid-19

15 January 2021 11:50 AM

Dr. Emmanuel Taban, a pulmonologist at Mediclinic Midstream, has become well-known for his novel methods in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

school-learner-child-pupil-writing-notebook-classroom-pencil-stationery-123rf

DBE postpones the reopening of schools to 15 February

15 January 2021 9:46 AM

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has confirmed that schools will reopen in mid-February and not on 27 January as initially planned.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

220504-sassa-grants-edjpg

We can't extend temporary disability grants again, says Sassa CEO

15 January 2021 9:27 AM

The CEO of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says the agency can't extend the validity of temporary disability grants that have lapsed any further.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

motshekgajpg

SGB associations don't support plans to delay reopening of high schools - Fedsas

15 January 2021 7:58 AM

The national coronavirus command council (NCCC) has recommended that the reopening of high schools be postponed to 15 February 2021.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

scam-alertjpg

Don't fall for promises of high returns from latest investment scam, warns FSCA

14 January 2021 8:19 PM

A new scam is surfacing on Facebook and WhatsApp groups. The masterminds are even using the FSP number of a legitimate company.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Restaurant with spaced table for Covid-19 social distancing

'Thank you Mr President for not shutting us down, but we need more support!'

14 January 2021 7:35 PM

Loadshedding is another blow to the struggling restaurant industry. We need more relief says Grace Harding (Restaurant Collective)

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

More from Politics

john-maytham-studio-commentpng

Govt again 'letting poor down, badly, callously, obscenely' says John Maytham

15 January 2021 4:29 PM

John Maytham vents about temporarily disabled people having to stand in long queues and getting water cannons fired at them.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Police van SAPS

[VIDEOS] Police spray Sassa grant queue in Bellville with water cannons

15 January 2021 2:28 PM

Journalist Saawmiet Moos in Belville describes people queuing for Sassa social grants sprayed with police water cannons.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Cyril Ramaphosa ANC

Ramaphosa: We've learned from the PPE scandal, vaccines will be better managed

15 January 2021 1:48 PM

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says SA's vaccine rollout will be better managed to avoid any possible exploitation by what he calls crooks.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station 123rf 123rfbusiness

'Eskom has again been grossly caught with their pants around their ankles'

15 January 2021 1:29 PM

Energy analyst Ted Blom says Eskom doesn't report the additional shedding of VLS clients totaling an over 4000-megawatt shortfall.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Man travel airport check-in boarding pass passport #123rflifestyle 123rf

Can you get a new South African passport right now?

15 January 2021 12:22 PM

W Cape Home Affairs' Sam Plaatjies says no, but the department has the discretion to renew passports on a case-by-case basis.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Restaurant with spaced table for Covid-19 social distancing

'Thank you Mr President for not shutting us down, but we need more support!'

14 January 2021 7:35 PM

Loadshedding is another blow to the struggling restaurant industry. We need more relief says Grace Harding (Restaurant Collective)

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

handcuffs-law-arrest-justice-crime-perpetrator-suspect-case-police-123rf

Lockdown violations: Do not sign admission of guilt form says lawyer

14 January 2021 1:58 PM

Nearly 300,000 people have been arrested for lockdown violations in SA since March 2020. Defence lawyer William Booth advises.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Police van SAPS

W Cape: 5000 lockdown violations so far in 2021

14 January 2021 1:28 PM

W Cape SAPS's Brigadier Novela Potelwa says arrests are mostly for not wearing masks in public and for breaking curfew.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Anoj Singh

Singh must provide affidavit by Monday after non-appearance at Zondo Commission

13 January 2021 7:47 PM

Former Eskom CFO Anoj Singh will still have to appear after not testifying as scheduled, says EWN's Gaye Davis. But will he sing?

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

liquor-sales-alcohol-beer-booze-drinking-consumption-drinks-bottles-123rf

Is liquor industry's plea for tax break the start of 'unaffordable tax revolt'?

13 January 2021 7:09 PM

The industry wants excise tax payment deferred until the alcohol ban is lifted. Wide-ranging reaction on The Money Show.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward