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Betty's Bay baboon Scarface has been killed by authorities

17 September 2021 6:00 PM
Tags:
Conservation
local
Betty's Bay
baboons

Pete Oxford describes the situation to Amy MacIver as authorities attempt to dart the baboon on Friday in order to kill him.
Photograph of Scarface by Pete Oxford

Update: On Saturday 18 September animal advocacy groups including Beauty Without Cruelty, attempted to intervene and have Scarface relocated to a sanctuary. However, HWS reportedly stated it would take too long to obtain a relocation permit. Scarface was captured and killed.

RELATED: 'Scarface baboon given reprieve by mayor, but authorities killed him anyway'

Residents of Betty's Bay are up in arms over the news that Scarface, a member of the local baboon troop, is facing a death sentence.

The Betty's Bay baboon troop is a small troop made up of 22 animals, including 3 babies, and resides in the Kogelberg biosphere reserve.

Recently the troop came under the management of Human Wildlife Services (HWS) and on Friday, angry residents and members of the local Baboon Action Group contacted Cape Talk to say that HWS is planning to execute Scarface this afternoon.

For more on this story, Amy MacIver speaks to Pete Oxford conservationist, zoologist, and the founder of the Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group.

The Baboon Management Task Team has taken the decision to kill Scarface, confirms Oxford. Attempts by the authorities to dart him and catch him on Friday had not yet been successful.

So he is running around taking his last breaths.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

Previously an unmanaged troop, HWS was brought in by the provincial government to do so.

HWS was brought in my 'Province' this nebulous concept of Province saying they have to be kept out of the urban area - but it is not working.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

[The baboons] have been subjected to pain and if they don't comply with their wishes, right now we have the first case of one of them being killed for his supposed crimes.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

Oxford acknowledges that Scarface has entered houses, but says the key issue is that HWS monitors do little to prevent this from happening.

He says a meeting was held to deliberate on Scarface's fate

We were not present at the meeting of course but had I been present I would have been able to produce an equally damning rap sheet against the inadequacies of HWS and their failings to mitigate the problem in the first place.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

This is their standard M.O where the males are selectively killed. It is basically premeditated if you look at the past history. It has always happened.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

Despite this modus operandi, Oxford says it does not solve the problem at all.

A new method needs to be found to deal with the issue, says Oxford.

Why are we still subjecting animals to this strategy? And it comes down to a number of factors.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

One key factor, he notes, is once again the lack of waste management. Waste is a huge attractant for baboons and is regarded as an easy reward.

There is not one single baboon-proofed municipal public bin in Betty's Bay.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

But before they fix that problem they decide to kill one of the baboons, he adds.

That can't be right. Surely we must all act together? We can't trash the whole world.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

Kogelberg Reserve has always had baboons living there.

It is not just about Betty's Bay and a single baboon. It is about much deeper issues than that and we have to learn to protect and be custodians of where we have chosen to live.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

But we have a situation where intolerance is being rewarded. All those who are intolerant of baboons are rewarded by having HWS in and the municipality has bowed to the pressure of litigation and threats of being sued by them.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

On the other hand, the majority of people are baboon tolerant and have made the effort to baboon proof their lifestyle, their houses, their bins, and have learned to live in a coexistence model with the baboons - but those people have not been rewarded and the reward for them would simply be to treat the animals with the respect they deserve.

Pete Oxford, Zoologist, Conservationist and Founder of Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group

Oxford says there is no willingness to come together and find a solution.




17 September 2021 6:00 PM
Tags:
Conservation
local
Betty's Bay
baboons

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