Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa

by Baboon Matters Trust
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa
Protect the Chacma Baboons in Sabie, South Africa

Our report for August is regrettably a very short one; despite a great deal of commitment and effort, we are waiting for the plantation owners and Forestry SA to resolve internal issues before they can decide on planned research that will mitigate baboon damage.


It is extremely frustrating for Baboon Matters as we are aware of the many lives of baboons who are killed in the pine plantations, and we have offered to help with collecting data, counting the baboon troops and assisting wherever possible to get non-lethal management methods in place.


We are hoping that a meeting will take place in coming months and that the internal forestry issues will be resolved so that we can move forward and fins sustainable solutions.







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GlobalGiving Report -  May 2018


Saving the Chacma baboons of Sabie


We are delighted and very excited to report that as a direct result of funds raised through GlobalGiving there has been some positive movement and progress in our on-going work to save the baboons of Sabie.


On the 2 May 2018, Baboon Matters attended at workshop in Johannesburg hosted by the Baboon Damage Interest Group.  It was wonderful to see that our efforts to bring the plight of the baboons in Sabie to the fore has resulted in more attention on this issue and four large, well respected NGO’s attended the workshop to fight for the baboons.


The on-going engagement with plantation owners and Forestry SA (FSA)  as well as the international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has been fractious over the past 10 years as Baboon Matters has continually fought to stop the slaughter of baboons within the pine plantations. We have been requesting research results and base line data that supports the plantations idea that the population density of baboons is the main reason for damage caused by baboons but despite our efforts the killing continued and no information was forthcoming.


This may start to change now – simply because, through GlobalGiving, we have been able to raise R65 000 for specified research. The plantation owners, FSA and FSC are now in a position where they are under pressure to match the funds we have “put on the table” and work to much stricter timelines to come up with quantifiable data.  It also means that we will be able to undertake research that we believe will help come up with solutions that end the need for lethal management!


But we can’t stop here, we need to raise more funding to ensure that the full scope of research needed is undertaken as quickly as possible and that results of the research immediately start to influence management.


We are meeting with FSA research directors again in June – in itself a remarkable improvement when one considers that in previous years there may be one meeting per year, but now ,thanks to the support of the GlobalGiving community, we can push ahead with greater speed and resources to put an end to the killing of baboons in Sabie as well as potentially create some employment and skills development for currently unemployed residents of the area.


We are all enthused and cautiously optimistic that we will start to see change within the management of the pine plantations so that baboons are no longer killed!  I look forward to reporting more positive movement in our next report.


Figure 1 Baboon Matters was joined by representatives from Prime Crew, Harnass and CARE at a recent workshop where solutions to stop the killing of baboons in pine plantations were discussed.

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When Baboon Matters was alerted to the plight of Chacma baboons in Sabie in 2006 we were outraged that 200 baboons had been killed by forestry companies in misguided attempts to reduce damage supposedly caused by baboon to pine plantations.

In the ensuing years, the numbers of baboons killed has risen dramatically, with over 500 baboons killed annually, but reportedly the damage to trees continues to increase despite the huge reduction in baboons within the plantations. 

The killing methods are undoubtedly efficient but are inhumane and unethical and when Baboon Matters was taken to mass grave sites and mass trap cages we were appalled to discover that the trapped and traumatized baboons are killed by multiple shots of buckshot or bird shot.

By 2017, we realized that our appeals to the forestry industry had received no response and our legal request for information was effectively stalled, meaning that we have no way of knowing how the ongoing slaughter of baboons was impacting the regional population, apart from ethical and welfare concerns.

Baboon Matters realized that the only way we would get clear answers and changes to the lethal management methods would be through focused research and as baboons are considered a low conservation priority across Africa, we understood that we would have to raise funds for this urgent research.

Our campaign on GlobalGiving has raised sufficient funds to start putting together a full research project as we raised $5 711 from our goal of $6 500. 

Baboon Matters initiated communications with leading international primatologists with the focus being to formulate a lean research project (within our limited budget) that will not only supply population data, but will also direct plantation owners towards sustainable management methods. 

We have engaged with specific plantation companies in the Sabie region, those who are most affected by damage to their pine trees, and initiated a process whereby we are encouraging the affected timber companies to match our initial research funding so that we produce the most effective research results.


Our project leader is currently liaising with an acknowledged primatologist who has specific expertise in population models. Together we are working on a 12 month research project that we hope will create job opportunities in this economically depressed region, as well as supply information that ends the on-going slaughter of baboons in pine plantations across South Africa.


We are encouraged that the initial funding will lead to a full research project that engages the timber and plantation companies so that better informed decisions will be considered, and that chacma baboons in Sabie will have a secure future.

Photo of a shot hip bone of a chacma baboon
Photo of a shot hip bone of a chacma baboon
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Organization Information

Baboon Matters Trust

Location: Cape Town, Western Cape Province - South Africa
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Jennifer Trethowan
Cape Town, Western Cape Province South Africa

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