Streaming issues? Report here
Sara-Jayne King Sara-Jayne King
Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King
06:00 - 10:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: Just the Hits with Abongile Nzelenzele
See full line-up
Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King
06:00 - 10:00
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

'CoCT stops use of paintballs on baboons with no transition or alternative plan'

14 May 2021 5:40 PM

Baboon Matters founder Jenni Trethowan says 'it feels like the City is stamping its foot, saying see what happens next.'

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

VACCINE WRAP | Sisonke study draws to a close, WC Covid-19 resurgence confirmed

14 May 2021 4:15 PM

CapeTalk gives you a round-up of the latest vaccine news every week.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

'Covid-19 resurging in W Cape, driven by social gatherings in affluent areas'

14 May 2021 3:36 PM

Areas of concern are Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay, the City Bowl, Sea Point, Milnerton, and Durbanville, says Dr. Keith Cloete.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Got a pet of any kind? You'll soon have to register it if you live in Cape Town

14 May 2021 2:02 PM

Cats, dogs, horses, you name it… "The population of pets is increasing at an alarming rate," says Mzwakhe Nqavashe.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

AfriForum: Farm murders on the rise and attacks are becoming more vicious

14 May 2021 1:39 PM

AfriForum says there have been 395 farm attacks reported countrywide since April last year.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

'Doctors push family members to front of vaccination queue'

14 May 2021 12:51 PM

People who are office-bound got jabs while healthcare workers are being turned away, says reporter Mia Lindeque.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Only 7 venues across Cape Town Metro in Week 1 of over-60s vaccine roll-out

14 May 2021 12:42 PM

WCHD urges the public not to queue at venues until they register and receive a follow-up SMS confirming the time, date, and venue.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Cape Town recorded most sightings and species in world 2021 #CityNatureChallenge

14 May 2021 12:05 PM

The City of Cape Town has been declared as the official winner of two categories in the global 2021 City Nature Challenge.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Covid-19 resurgence in the Western Cape confirmed - Premier Alan Winde

14 May 2021 10:01 AM

Premier Alan Winde says the Western Cape is recording a resurgence in Covid-19 cases and says it's now urgent that residents 60 and older register for the vaccine.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

DHA: Roughly 350 refugees in CT have refused both reintegration and repatriation

14 May 2021 9:29 AM

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) says an estimated 350 refugees refuse to leave temporary campsites in Cape Town and are still demanding a third country of resettlement.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

More from Politics

'CoCT stops use of paintballs on baboons with no transition or alternative plan'

14 May 2021 5:40 PM

Baboon Matters founder Jenni Trethowan says 'it feels like the City is stamping its foot, saying see what happens next.'

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

DA to haul Facebook before Parliament about misinformation, new WhatsApp terms

14 May 2021 2:56 PM

Got a question for Facebook? Contact DA Member of Parliament Phumzile Van Damme.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Unrepentant Ace Magashule drags ANC to court over 'step aside' suspension

14 May 2021 2:06 PM

Suspended ANC SG Ace Magashule has launched legal action against the ANC to challenge the constitutionality of the “step aside” rule that led to his suspension last week.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Only 7 venues across Cape Town Metro in Week 1 of over-60s vaccine roll-out

14 May 2021 12:42 PM

WCHD urges the public not to queue at venues until they register and receive a follow-up SMS confirming the time, date, and venue.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

[WATCH] Gloves off? Malema drops video of Ace Magashule after apology deadline

13 May 2021 5:41 PM

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is seen throwing a few quick jabs at a punching bag in a video posted by the EFF's Julius Malema.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Bathabile Dlamini finally pays R650 000 ordered by court after years of stalling

13 May 2021 2:21 PM

"It was a real battle to get those monies paid over. It required real doggedness," says Nicole Fritz of Freedom Under Law.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

South Africans can register to vote on 17 and 18 July weekend

13 May 2021 6:18 AM

Africa Melane speaks to Michael Hendrikse, IEC Western Cape Provincial Electoral Officer.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

SA can't afford stricter lockdown warns business, as Mkhize 'confirms' 3rd wave

12 May 2021 7:00 PM

News24 reports that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned provinces to start containment measures as Covid third wave hits.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

'We had real heroes at Battle of Bangui that should have been celebrated'

12 May 2021 3:19 PM

Lester Kiewit talks to journalists Stephan Hoffstater and James Oatway, as well as Kele Bojane widow of Rifleman Motsamai Bojane.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Arms Deal Inquiry judges may face JSC probe over claims of whitewashing evidence

12 May 2021 1:50 PM

Arms Deal Inquiry judges may face allegations which, if substantiated, could lead to their impeachment, says Karyn Maughan.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward