'CoCT stops use of paintballs on baboons with no transition or alternative plan'
Many lobbyists have argued for a long time for more humane practices in helping manage baboons living alongside humans on the urban edges of the Cape Peninsula and have called for the stopping of the use of paintball guns.
The paintball markers are used to move the troops out of the urban areas. They are meant to be fired near the baboons and at most on their rump or rear. No mothers with babies may be shot at.
However, many photos show baboons' faces splattered with paintballs, mothers and young ones included.
The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) has recently withdrawn support for the markers.
Then on Friday the City of Cape town announced that the Urban Baboon Programme will no longer include the use of paintball markers as an aversion tool.
Amy McIver talks to the founder of Baboon Matters Trust Jenni Trethowan about the sudden decision by the City.
We are very happy that the NSPCA has withdrawn its support but I am absolutely furious at the way in which the City has handled it.Jenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
Once again, the City of Cape Town has not met and consulted with the role players, says Trethowan.
They have no discussion, no planning going forward. they just an abrupt withdrawal of the use of paintball markers from today.Jenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
She says it seems the City's baboon management service provider NCC has not been given any warning or opportunity to work out an alternative plan.
This means that the rangers who have been used to using the paintball guns for an extended period of time are suddenly left in this very invidious position where they have suddenly got to adapt everything they have known and are used to.Jenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
She says baboon advocacy groups like Baboon Matters, the Wildlife protection Forum of South Africa (WAPSA), and Baboons of the South have been calling for an overview of the baboon management protocols for a very long time, but to no avail.
It's not just about the paintball markers, it is about the fact that baboons are killed, most recently Philemon. What was Philemon's worst crime? He stole vegetables from an uncovered vegetable patch.Jenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
For the past two years, we have sent very sensible and reasonable requests to meet, review, revise and come up with a compromised document.Jenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
Now at the eleventh hour after none of the planning workshops happened, there is a huge change in the way the project works, but with no consultation.Jenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
Is the City of Cape Town trying to prove a point and tell those lobbying for change ‘ we told you so', asks Amy?
Trethowan says she believes so.
The City is stamping its foot, saying, saying you want us to withdraw we will and see what happens next.Jenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
She says nothing has transpired out of the promises by Mayor Dan Plato for a task team and Minister Anton Bredell's promise of a workshop to review the baboon management protocols.
I am deeply concerned because the residents have not been prepared and it is going to be a very difficult situationJenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
She says baboons may well come into the urban areas and damage property without any alternative in place.
More baboons will get killed.Jenni Trethowan, Founder - Baboon Matters Trust
The main reason baboons come into the urban areas is for easy food rewards
Baboon Matters has urgently suggested that the City needs to implement effective waste management, by-laws to enforce these principles, education programmes to show residents what can be done to effectively baboon proof property, she says
Other options are providing water points on the mountain and conducting food provisioning trials to keep baboons out of town, she adds.
She says despite the area being water-scarce and often leaving baboons with no water on the mountain, Table Mountain National park refuses to allow water points to be provided on the mountain, something which would along with food provisioning, help keep the baboons out of the urban areas for longer periods.
Pain aversion like bear bangers, paintballs, and scare tactics have been used for the past number of years despite proving ineffective, but there is no willingness to try positive alternatives, she says.
Listen to the interview with Jenni Trethowan of Baboon Matters below:
Source : Lizell Persens/EWN