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'We kill 7 baboons a year, habitual raiders who are a danger to the public'

7 September 2020 9:33 AM
Tags:
baboons
City of Cape Town
Kataza the baboon
Baboon management

Baboon management follows best global practice City of Cape Town's Biodiversity manager Julia Wood tells John Maytham.

Kataza the baboon has made headlines over the past week after Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) the body employed by the City of Cape Town, relocated this adult male from his troop in Slangkop, Kommetjie to Tokai.

RELATED: 'If anything goes wrong it is the baboons who are criminalised' Jenni Trethowan

Videos and photographs have been widely shared on social media showing Kataza attempting to climb SIlvermine and believed to be trying to make his way home.

Other viewpoints have now shared a video of the Tokai troop they argue shows Kataza integrating with them.

The City of Cape Town's Biodiversity manager Julia Wood speaks to John Maytham about the issues surrounding baboon management in Cape Town.

She insists its baboon management follows global best practice, but many Capetonians argue that from a scientific standpoint this is far from the truth.

Is the HWS contract coming to an end?

Wood acknowledges that the HWS contract is coming to an end.

Their last day of being in the field will be 30 September.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

Who is taking over, asks Maytham?

We will be able to confirm at a later stage but cannot confirm right now.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

She says the process takes a long time and has been underway for over a year.

Maytham asks her to corroborate claims that there will therefore be no baboon management in place for 30 days, come month-end.

Wood prevaricates and Maytham suggests she is 'ducking' the answer. He cites the City of Cape Town have stated there will be a 30-day period without baboon management.

I am ducking....We are working night and day to make sure that doesn't happen.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

She then insists the key problem is humans who do not baboon-proof bins and homes.

It is very important that people baboon-proof their properties like they should always do...People leaving food out, that is why baboons end up in an urban area which is a very unsafe place for them.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

Jenni Trethowan of NGO Babon Matters has been critical that there are no City by-laws in place to make sure humans do baboon-proof their bins and properties.

I completely agree with Baboon Matters and e have been trying to get a solid waste by-law...I agree we have to minimise waste in the urban areas...

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

But by-laws are complex and hard to put in place, she notes.

Maytham notes that the City has however recently acknowledged there is no supply of tamper-proof bins available and Wood concedes this.

There has been a problem with the availability of baboon-proof bins.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

So, fix this problem, says Maytham.

Wood says it falls under the Solid Waste Department and Maytham notes they will be contacted by his team to elaborate on this.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

Will the controversial protocols for baboon management remain in place for whichever body is contracted going forward, ask Maytham?

The protocols have been worked on with international expert, protocols which take into account the welfare and health of the baboons.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

Wood claims that prior to the City's programme, the baboon population in the Cape was declining.

In fact, in the past 12 years, the population has gone up 80%.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

How many baboons have been killed?

How many baboons have been killed? And I am not using the 'put down' or 'euthanased' euphemism - How many baboons have you killed?

John Maytham, Presenter - CapeTalk

Wood responds:

On average for management purposes, we kill about seven a year - habitual raiders and it is a danger to the public to have them in urban areas.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

Wood says Cape Nature makes the final decision in the process and issues permission and permits to kill.

And it is euthanasia. We do everything in the most humane way possible,

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

Maytham aks if the City entertains any other conversation on the criticisms of methods used such as constant paintballing of baboons described as painful and disturbing to the animals.

We don't just work with activists, but with the broader community as well and we do have a sort of stakeholder process where we do discuss baboon issues and we always welcome people's comments.

Julia Wood, Biodiversity Manager - City of Cape Town

Baboon protection NGOs in Cape Town made contact with the Jane Goodall Institute via email and their response presents a very different view on the alleged global best practice the City claims to follow.

Listen to the interview below:




7 September 2020 9:33 AM
Tags:
baboons
City of Cape Town
Kataza the baboon
Baboon management

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