Stop Killing Baboons!

by Baboon Matters Trust
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Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Stop Killing Baboons!
Skeleton of young baboon found on beach
Skeleton of young baboon found on beach

Stop killing baboons – Report July 2021

Baboon Matters thanks all of our wonderful contributors for their continued support of these persecuted animals and confirms that we are working our hardest to ensure that the changes to management guidelines and protocols are effected.

We have had meetings with the Mayor of Cape Town and his committee and lobbied the Western Cape Minister of Environment, Minister Bredell, to call a workshop so that long outstanding issues can be addressed through an inclusive process.

I am pleased to report that our projects to have specific electricity transformer boxes insulated (to prevent baboons being critically injured or killed) are underway and we await the City of Cape Town to let us know when the first two pilot projects can be installed.

We have also made headway on getting emergency rescue equipment together and look forward to getting this project to areas where baboons and other wildlife are frequently injured as a result of humans (cars and dogs being the most common cause of injury).

We have been able to supply some emergency food supplies to Prime Crew who provide accommodation, food and care for many orphaned baboons.  The impacts of Covid have meant loss of financial support through the volunteer projects at Prime Crew and they urgently need help to continue looking after the animals in their care and to prepare the first release sites for the Gumble and Bean troop.

Baboon Matters is reliant on public support and financial aid to continue or work and are so grateful for your on-going support.

 

Transformer box to be insulated in pilot project
Transformer box to be insulated in pilot project
New trap-cage for injured baboons and wildlife
New trap-cage for injured baboons and wildlife
Baboons continue to be killed by pellet guns.
Baboons continue to be killed by pellet guns.
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Caring baboons.
Caring baboons.

Across South Africa baboons are coming into conflict with human as landuse is intesified. Whether it is agriculture, urban development or even tourism, humans are taking more space, not managing their waste efficiently and baboons are adapting to easy food rewards in human occupied spaces.

Baboon Matters has been lobbying for changes to the way in which baboons are managed and are pleased to note that after two meetings with the City of Cape Town Mayor and letters to Minister Bredell, both the City of Cape Town and province have agreed to review and revise the current management guidelines.

The City of Cape Town is in the process of conducting an internal review of their mandates and will soon open the process to public participation.  We are waiting feedback from an initial meeting with provincial enivironmental departments (held in November 2020) and hope that the workshop process gets underway within the first half of the year.

Baboon Matters liaises closely with a range of associated welfare groups and NGO's and together we will continue to explore all avenues so that the much needed change is found through a collective compromise document that we can all buy into and accept.

Baboons have been considered to be a species "of least concern" for too long now and it is through our on going and collective efforts that we will ensure better protection and management for our intelligent and engaging primate neighbours.

Thank you for supporting our efforts and we look forward to your on-going support as we make change for baboons.

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Kataza walking the streets of suburbia
Kataza walking the streets of suburbia

2020 has been an extraordinary year with the impacts of the Corona virus being felt globally and nationally. In baboon related issues, I had expected the impacts of the lockdown to have been felt primarily in fund raising, as a result of the associated economic downturn, yet it seems that during the lockdown there was an increase in both baboon activity and associated conflict.

 

I had hoped that with more people at home and able to attend to issues that there is not normally time for, such as baboon proofing, that there would be a significant reduction in time in village and conflicts, however, it was the very opposite of what I had expected.

 

What we experienced in Kommetjie, and this was also reported in other areas, was that as a direct result of the lockdown there was an increase of baboons in the village, there was also an increase in the number of injuries suffered by baboons, as well as attacks on baboon by dogs.  It must be noted that the increase in conflict was not due to any change in the management who continued to operate as usual. It will be interesting to unpack  the triggers which led to the increase of conflicts.

 

 

“Kataza, Kataza”

Kataza unwittingly became the most famous baboon in the world (literally!) after he was relocated from his home troop of  Slangkop to Tokai.  The decision to move Kataza was so bizarrely illogical that Baboon Matters launched the #BringKatazaBack campaign, a campaign that had unprecedented traction resulting in;

  • Legal action – Ryno Engelbrecht made a high court application against 5 respondents of whom only the City of Cape Town defended the action.
  • Massive mobilization of the general public who wrote many hundreds of emails, and over 350 residents protested to have Kataza returned. 

o   A determined group of woman, dubbed “The Angels”, watched over Kataza for 84 days. The authorities had thought that the public would tire of the story and “move on” but the volunteer group refused to stand down and worked in shifts from sunrise to sunset every day -  they made sure Kataza stayed alive whilst we fought for his return.

  • There was incredible national and international media attention to the story.

o   Kataza featured in press and television from UK, USA, and around the globe.

  • We had meetings with Alderman Purchase and two subsequent meetings with Mayor Plato and his Mayco members.

o   At our specific request, Mayor Plato has directed Alderman Nieuwoudt to set up a task team to resolve long outstanding baboon management issues.

We are waiting for feedback in respect of the task team.

 

As a result of the immense public pressure, the City of Cape Town reached agreement with Ryno Engelbrecht and Kataza was subsequently returned to his Slangkop troop last week. Currently Kataza is in close proximity to the troop but has not fully reintegrated.

The success of this instance is that the huge following Baboon Matters has gained over the years was used to pressurize the authorities to change the bad initial decision; we have now had successful meetings with the Mayor and Mayco and will continue to push for a task team to resolve the on-going management problems.

 

Workshop to review and revise the baboon management Protocols and Guidelines.

In July 2019, Baboon Matters wrote a moratorium to decision makers on the Baboon Technical, and followed this up with direct letters to the heads of Cape Nature, CoCT Biodiversity and TMNP; our suggestions for a workshop to review and revise the management guidelines were ignored. However,  through the Wildlife and Animal Protection Forum SA (WAPFSA) we wrote to Minister Bredell and he subsequently instructed Cape Nature to host the necessary workshop.

  • The workshop is still to happen, but we had an initial meeting on 13 November 2020 and are hopeful that progressive steps will be taken to make the changes so urgently needed to better manage and protect baboons in the Western Cape.

 

Rock Water Life.

Professor Lesley Green has published her book Rock Water Life in which chapter 5 is focused on baboon management.  It is fantastic to have this incredible support and I urge you all to read this profound book.

 

Education and outreach.

We have continued to create short, educational and awareness videos which enjoy a very high viewership and our social media campaigns reach in excess of hundreds of thousands of viewers.

 

Our mass clean-up project along Slangkop  was a great success and literally tons of rubbish and litter were taken off the mountainside by residents who did a fantastic job. The on-going dumping of builder rubble and car tyres needs to be addressed by CoCT Solid Waste and we will be pushing them to install barriers that prevent access to dumping rubbish off the mountain.

 

Welfare of baboons.

We have been able to assist in numerous instances where baboons have been injured or orphaned and were able to assist when the Dept of Social Welfare contacted BM to assist with a case where a young baboon had been taken from her mother by displaced children; the children were taken into care and the baboon back to her troop.

 

This year we had clear plans in place for fundraising through production of a shopping bag (based on the runaway success of the Woolworth bag) and T-shirts. We had printers and a local sewing project lined up – and then lockdown and the huge Kataza campaign dominated all my time and I was unable to finalize the shopping bags..  

We are launching the T-shirts for the Christmas season, but the bags will have to be on hold until I have more time to manage the project.

Mazoe was paintballed at close range.
Mazoe was paintballed at close range.
we had a very successful day!
we had a very successful day!
So many people voiced their concerns!
So many people voiced their concerns!
Kataza was internationally famous
Kataza was internationally famous
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A nervous mother with her newly born infant .
A nervous mother with her newly born infant .

The past six months have been the most unusual time in recent global history, with the Corona virus and subsequent lockdowns affecting us all.

Our Baboon Matters July Newsletter contains the array of issues undertaken by Baboon Matters during this lockdown period. I had thought that it would be a very quiet time and of benefit to the baboons, but we have seen that the very reverese is true.  The baboons have come into increasing conflict with some residents in urban areas and injuries have been high as a result.  In addition, the levels of household waste being dumped inappropriately is an attractant which brings baboons into villages and is a contributing factor in escalating the conflicts.

Please read the July Newsletter for all the details of our efforts to improve the guidelines and ethical decsions that impact the lives of baboons in South Africa.

Thank you for all your on-going support, there is so much to be done and we know that the baboons depend on our efforts to ensure better managmenet decisons  in the future.

The link to our newsletter is contained below, I hope you enjoy reading it!



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The first quarter of 2020 has been dominated by two events of baboon management on the Cape peninsula, as well as increased baboon human interactions along the Garden Route of the Western Cape.

Baboon Matters has flagged the impacts on the current management methods since they were implemented in 2010; we advised that lethal methods of management (by way of removing individual "problem baboons") would not solve long term areas of conflict.  In the case of the Misty Cliffs / Scarborough troop our warnings went unheeded and the result was that a small troop of 18 baboons was reduced to just 6 baboons by June 2019 (being 3 adult females each with a juvenile).  By 2020 there were just 4 of the troop left and the small group had taken to living within the villages of Scarborough and Misty Cliffs.

The management guidelines (the Protocol for Raiding baboons) dictates that baboons who incur "too many raids", time in the village or who "enter occupied houses" can be killed.  This meant that the remaining four baboons would be killed in terms of the protocol.  However, in face of strong residential objections, options of relocation, an electric fence around the village or the return of the baboons to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve would be preferred.

Unfortunately the village did not choose the option of an electric fence, and the baboons chose not to return to the CGHNR despite conitnued efforts by management to push them into the reserve.  At a public meeing on 1 November 2019 the local ward counsellor made it clear that the debates and negotiations were over and that options facing the 4 baboons were now reduced to relocation or to be killed.

In the ensuing months a wildlife rehabilitation center (Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation and Educational Centre) offered to take the 4 baboons and so at the end of February plans were implemented and the baboons were captured and transported to the Riverside centre where they are now in quarantine and will soon be released into a semi-wild enclsoure until they can join another troop and be released to a safe site.

Scarborough residents are devastated at the loss of the baboons and indeed it is a very sad situation that management decsions led to the demise of a troop and there are no longer baboons living in that range.

Management decsions have also impacted the Slangkop troop of baboons and the village of Kommetjie; for the past three years the Slangkop troop was kept away from their historical home range as it is a very difficult range to manage the baboons in. But after on-going issues whereby local youth were hunting and harassing both the baboons and the field staff, the decision was made to bring the baboons back to Slangkop Mountain.  In the ensuing weeks there have been escalated issues as there is no water on the mountain for the baboons and the lack of commuity awareness has meant that baboons have quickly adapted to finding easy, rich food rewards within the village.

The two management decsions have illustrated, again, the need for a comprehensive management plan that includes by-laws, education and effective waste management - without these critical factors management will always be reactionary and repetitive and it is the baboons who pay the price with their lives as they continue to be killed in terms of the guidelines.

Baboon Matters is desperately under funded and under resourced and we are battling to help provide information to new areas who are experiencing baboon interactiosn as well as deal with the the impacts of the fall out of management on the Cape peninsula.  We are struggling to get to all the areas where we are needed and to help both people and baboons so that conflicts are reduced with minimal damage to property and loss of baboon lives.

The current global crisis has put many people into economic vulnerability and the knock of effect of that means that even less attention is placed on wildlife or wildlife management issues.

Baboon Matters will continue to help baboons but desperately need the assistance of all our followers and supporters and hope that together we can continue to advocate for better management systems that help us behave as better neighbours on our small, crisis racked planet.

Baboons are chased using paintballs
Baboons are chased using paintballs
For today, be kind.
For today, be kind.
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Baboon Matters Trust

Location: Cape Town, Western Cape Province - South Africa
Website:
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Project Leader:
Jennifer Trethowan
Cape Town, Western Cape Province South Africa
$20,158 raised of $35,000 goal
 
243 donations
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