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[LISTEN]Baboon management abuse claims, City calls on Capetonians to lay charges

30 September 2020 12:24 PM
Tags:
baboons
Kataza
Baboon management

Spatial Planning and Environment Mayco member at City of Cape Town Marian Nieuwoudt responds to criticisms of baboon protocols.

CapeTalk listeners called in describing numerous eye witness accounts of HWS baboon monitors paintballing baboons at close range. The BTT protocols forbid the paintballing of mothers and babies, yet photographs and accounts show many are paintballed.

And even those who are allowed to be paintballed may only be hit on their flank and rear.

Spatial Planning and Environment Mayco member at City of Cape Town Marian Nieuwoudt noted that people should report complaints where paintballing incidents broke protocol.

When asked, she confirmed the Democratic alliance still has a policy which states:

The acceptance of non-human animals as sentient beings, which feel the same pain and emotions as humans.Freedom from hunger or thirst; Freedom from discomfortFreedom from pain, injury or disease Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour Freedom from fear and distress

However, she was unable to explain adequately how the protocols in place to manage baboons fitted into this policy.

Niewoudt admitted she had no idea what the status of baboon proof bin availably is in Cape Town and noted it was a Solid Waste Management issue.

Background to Kataza:

Kataza, the baboon who was relocated by the management company Human and Wildlife Services (HWS). The company has held the contract with the City of Cape Town for the past number of years, and Kataza's plight has brought the City's baboon management protocols under the spotlight.

At the end of August, Kataza disappeared from the Slangkop troop in Kommetjie and residents began asking questions. A number of days later they were told he had been moved to Tokai.

HWS has to follow the Baboon Technical Team guidelines drawn up by the City together with SANParks, Cape Nature, the SPCA, and UCT's Baboon Unit.

The reasons given by HWS and the City for Kataza's removal was that he was a dispersing male and also a serial 'raider' or urban forager in residents' homes, and it was argued he was teaching the other members of the troop to do the same.

Data collected by HWS, and according to BTT guidelines, provides the drawing up of a charge sheet for a baboon who if caught 'raiding' more than three times in a month, may end up on a kill list - termed 'euthanasia' by the BTT.

Activists who monitor baboons closely in the area dispute the data, raising questions about the verification and validity of 'hotline' calls which comprise a large portion of the data collected.

Kataza was taken off the kill list twice and the City claims relocating him to Tokai was the solution that could save his life.

The past weeks have seen volunteers helping to ensure Kataza was kept safe as he ran around the busy roads of Tokai. For weeks he showed little sign of integrating with the Tokai troop.

At last, there are signs he is beginning to integrate, and all activists involved welcome this but remain concerned about whether his urban foraging, while he has been without a troop, will be added to his charge sheet and end up leading to him being killed.

Activists are also concerned that the alpha males of Tokai may kill him at some stage as has been witnessed with a number of other relocated baboons to date.

Poor waste management is a problem across the southern peninsula and baboon proof bins have not been available from the City of Cape Town for nearly two years. Niewoudt was questioned about this but replied it was a Solid Waste Department area.

Another issue raised by those who believe in developing a more harmonious relationship between humans and wildlife in the urban edges is the need for the introduction of City by-laws to enforce people to take more responsibility for ensuring homes and property are baboon-proofed.

Niewoudt responded she supports the introduction of a by-law and as well as title deed restrictions on properties.

The City stands by its evidence and believes the baboon management protocol has been highly successful.


30 September 2020 12:24 PM
Tags:
baboons
Kataza
Baboon management

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