Streaming issues? Report here
CapeTalk logo 2017 1500 x 1500 CapeTalk logo 2017 1500 x 1500
Best of CapeTalk
00:00 - 03:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: Weekend Early
See full line-up
Best of CapeTalk
00:00 - 03:00
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

Person reading book or novel - lifestyle literature and stories 123rf

John Maytham's Weekly Book Review: 27 November 2020

27 November 2020 6:41 PM

Afternoon Drive host John Maytham reviews some of the books that he has read this week.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

tashas-inspired-book

Founder of popular restaurant chain Tashas releases new coffee table cookbook

27 November 2020 4:25 PM

"I never imagined that Tashas would be what it is today", says founder Natasha Sideris.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

190306coligny

[JUST IN] Supreme Court of Appeal overturns convictions of duo in Coligny murder

27 November 2020 1:45 PM

Two men convicted of the murder of a 16-year-old boy in Coligny have had their convictions overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Dudu Myeni

Judge Zondo orders police to investigate Dudu Myeni

27 November 2020 1:15 PM

The Deputy Chief Justice is saying police must charge her if she broke the law, says EWN reporter Nthakoana Ngatane.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Ford Family 3

"Backdoor dealings" in Ford Kuga settlement, claims Reshall Jimmy's sister

27 November 2020 1:13 PM

The sister of Ford Kuga fire victim Reshall Jimmy claims there were some underhanded tactics involved in her brother's case.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

wedding-ring-band-vows-marriage-couple-matrimony-anniversary-123rf

Cape Town couple celebrate 70 years of marriage and share secret to wedded bliss

27 November 2020 10:45 AM

Dora Freeman (93), and Benjamin George Freeman (92) celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this week.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Covid-19-safety-protocols-temperature-check-digital-thermometer-mask-black-woman

Here's a look at where Covid-19 cases and deaths have risen in the Cape metro

27 November 2020 10:01 AM

There's been a 73% increase in new Covid-19 cases and a 28% increase in new Covid-19 deaths over the last seven days in the Cape metropole.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

ORTAMBO_0293

Motion of no confidence in President Ramaphosa: 'It’s about optics'

27 November 2020 9:24 AM

The African Transformation Movement's move against Ramaphosa is posturing ahead of the election in 2021, says Sanusha Naidoo.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

ecommercejpg

Three questions to ask yourself before being sucked into the Black Friday frenzy

26 November 2020 7:45 PM

There's a danger of making bad choices when logic goes out of the window. Stuff magazine's Toby Shapshak has some pointers.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

platteklip-robert-van-zyl

Capetonian (70) completes his 1000th climb up Table Mountain’s Platteklip Gorge

26 November 2020 2:13 PM

A 70-year-old Cape Town father, Robert “Roy” van Zyl, finished his 1000th climb up Table Mountain in under an hour.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

More from Politics

ORTAMBO_0293

Motion of no confidence in President Ramaphosa: 'It’s about optics'

27 November 2020 9:24 AM

The African Transformation Movement's move against Ramaphosa is posturing ahead of the election in 2021, says Sanusha Naidoo.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

magda-wierzyckajpg

Offshore investment row: Asisa didn't consult properly says Magda Wierzycka

26 November 2020 8:51 PM

Bruce Whitfield interviews Wierzycka (Sygnia CEO) and Asisa's Leon Campher after Treasury's u-turn on pension fund investments.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

eoh-execpng

It was a massive relief when Zondo Commission approached me - EOH CEO

26 November 2020 6:44 PM

Stephen van Coller's come clean about the dirty dealings at EOH before his tenure. He talks about uncovering the corruption.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

201015-ramaphosa2-edjpg

Ramaphosa faces no-confidence motion in Parliament

26 November 2020 4:07 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa will face the first motion of no confidence in his leadership in Parliament next week Thursday.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

190111anc-supporterjpg

'Mixed messages' as Mpumalanga ANC reinstates PEC member charged with rape

26 November 2020 11:49 AM

The ANC in Mpumalanga has reinstated a former MEC into its provincial executive committee (PEC) as he faces allegations of raping his two daughters.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

capturepng

EFF MPs behind 2019 budget vote disruptions to fight Parly contempt charges

25 November 2020 6:21 PM

The EFF MPs who disrupted Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2019 budget vote speech plan to challenge the legislation and rules of Parliament in court.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

fw de-klerk

De Klerk told to 'stay in his lane' after foundation comments on Zuma-Zondo feud

25 November 2020 1:40 PM

Some South African Twitter users aren't impressed with the FW de Klerk Foundation's input on Zuma's state capture appearance delays.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

thumbs-down2jpg

Reserve Bank warns of dire consequences for SA if govt goes into debt distress

24 November 2020 7:46 PM

The creditworthiness of banks and insurers will be among the casualties. Bruce Whitfield interviews Kokkie Kooyman (Denker).

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

malema1jpg

We'll fight Saps! We'll go to their homes and fight them there! – Julius Malema

24 November 2020 2:21 PM

"You are not going to threaten the police and think they’ll stand back," warned Minister Bheki Cele. "Use your tools of the trade!"

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Zuma

'No one is above the law' Nadel supports criminal charges against Zuma

24 November 2020 12:18 PM

DCJ Zondo is pursuing criminal charges against former president Jacob Zuma after he walked out of the commission on Thursday.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward