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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!


Baboon Matters Trust thanks the all of our generous supporters who have enabled the Trust to maintain a very directed and visible approach to on-going concerns regarding management of the closed baboon population groups of the Cape peninsula, as well as baboons over South Africa.

In addition to advocacy and collaboration we have also directly enabled baboons to get veterinary care, ensured orphaned baboons were taken to places of safety and provided education to interest groups, schools, farmers and other urban areas.

2019 has been an exceptionally busy year with on-going efforts in the Cape peninsula and we have continued to hold pine plantations accountable to the on-going slaughter of baboons in the Sabie region and continue to provide guidance and education to areas impacted by increasing baboon interactions. 


Successes of 2019  

The main success of 2019 has been the establishment of inclusive community liaison and Baboon Matters has liaised with a variety of groups such as Prime Crew, CARE, Bambelela, Wild Rescue, Baboons of the South, the Far South Peninsula Community Forum, the newly established Wildlife Forum of SA, Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay baboon action groups and the Primates of SA group.

All the groups share concerns that the lethal method of management are not addressing core issues that cause baboons to seek opportunistic food rewards in human areas. It is productive to be working collaboratively with a wide range of groups on key issues and the united appeal for a moratorium and workshop does seem to be gaining support. We are lobbying role players within the CoCT to call a workshop to discuss areas of concern but recognize that the notion of a moratorium is a point of conflict between the civic groups and BTT.

It has been gratifying to note that specific aspects raised by BM have been incorporated into current management (albeit with no recognition to BM input)

  • We have been actively pushing for by-laws in baboon affected areas and after a lot of effort it seems that draft by-laws supplied by BM are currently being considered. We have noted that public participation in this process is inadequate. 
  • We suggested the use of a designated member(s) of staff to deal with specific areas where on-going poor waste management is an attractant that actively draws baboons into those areas and the service provider now has a community liaison manager who attempts to get the “problem” areas to implement better strategies. This will be more effective if the by-law is in place and businesses and residents could be fined. 
  • Our concerns about impact of on-going fires on the vegetation as well as water points have been noted whereas they were previously, actively, denied. 
  • Our education and visual material has been extremely well received, specifically the first two educational videos about baboons have collectively had over 60 000 views. 
  • Through my on-going time in the field I was able to ensure that:
  •  four badly injured baboons received appropriate veterinary care; a snare was removed from a female baboon in Tokai; cases of mange received treatment, counts in two troops have been questioned (it appears that two female baboons have “disappeared” from Plateau Road troop and there is a discrepancy about the total number of male baboons in southern managed troops).
  • Baboons in Kathu were euthanased after being held in poor conditions, a badly injured juvenile in Bains Kloof was euthanased after a vehicle knocked him over and a male baboon at Du Toits tunnel was euthanased after being hit by a vehicle. In all cases the baboons would normally have been left to suffer however the relevant authorities were willing to spend time to ensure the baboons were humanely dispatched.

Limited success in 2019.

Without doubt the exclusion of Baboon Matters from selected management has proved to be impactful. In addition:

  • It is apparent that there is a lack of interest in finding mitigation strategies that could provide long term relief from damage caused by baboons whereas the current strategies and methodology of gathering empirical data are not solution oriented.
  • Funding has been extremely difficult this year; this is partially due to the overall funding climate for animal welfare groups but is also due to the fact that I am not able to spend enough time on fund raising.
  • Lack of effective veterinary care is an ongoing issue and it is cause for distress that baboons who should get immediate care are left to suffer as they are “monitored”. It cannot escape attention that often the injured male baboons “hide” within the urban edge and are then classified as “problem raiding“ baboons only to be killed for this “behaviour”. •
  • We have liaised specifically with groups to direct very specific letters to the three main role players and pine plantation owners of Sabie in efforts to engage and reduce the ongoing slaughter of baboons. Regrettably the companies merely defer to FSA and FSA sends requests and objections back to the individual companies. The primate groups will have to engage at a higher level and we will have to approach FSC and the National Minister of Environment , Minister Creesey in 2020.


Reactionary management vs Comprehensive management plan.

The plight of the remaining four Scarborough baboons has clearly illustrated the deep mistrust from the public toward the BTT and has highlighted the lack of a comprehensive management plan in favour of reactionary management tactics. As an example of the lack of a comprehensive management plan:

  • Whilst use of electric fencing is endorsed as the most effective baboon management strategy there is no “official regulation” defining the installation or maintenance of such baboon proof fencing. As an example, when a vineyard spent hundreds of thousands of rand installing an electric fence he could argue that mitigation had been complied with, even although the fence was ineffective in terms of baboons. 
  • Of concern is that there is huge public pressure as a result of the four Scarborough baboons and in response the CoCT is considering installation of an electric fence around Scarborough; the question that must be asked is should this be a priority fence? Or would money be better spent containing the light industrial area where a troop of over 40 baboons regularly cross an extremely busy road to gain food rewards from food factories?

A management plan and priority list would address this and other issues.


Cape peninsula baboon population

The annual census has revealed the impact of the on-going killing of males and the figures indicate a huge skew in male to female ratio; whereas a healthy male to female ratio should be 1:3 we can see that some troops have ratios as high as 1:17.

Also of concern is the lack of sub-adults and high ratio of juveniles. When one considers that the numbers of adult baboons is not increasing significantly, one has to question what is happening to the juveniles, many of whom do not appear to be reaching adulthood. In healthy populations it is anticipated that approximately 40% of infants and juveniles may not reach adulthood; in these closed populations the percentage of immatures not reaching adulthood appears to be significantly higher yet there is no breakdown of this data.  

Questions asked of members of the BTT t o explain why the aspects of the 2019 reflect such skewed ratios were not explained and the response that we cannot compare managed populations to unmanaged populations is inadequate.

Colleagues with whom I have debated the 2019 census are in agreement that the facts as detailed above, together with the acknowledged lack of genetic diversity, should be sufficient reason to implement a moratorium on killing baboons, yet despite our requests, objections and communications it does seem as if the BTT will not grant a moratorium but will continue business as usual.


Going forward

It is clear that Baboon Matters has to re-strategize as there is simply too much work for one person as there is huge need arising from the sharp increase in baboon human conflicts over many areas.

We need a full time assistant to help deal with the myriads of demands on my time; such as calls and messages from the general public and concerned residents, injured baboons, baboons shot or in snares or requests for education and information, training requests; time meeting with community groups, writing appeals or legal requests or time in the field.

The current management strategies do not deal with resolving core issues, but focus on the elimination of individuals. If the systems continue without review there will be no reduction in the conflicts.

The review of management undertaken by Baboon Matters in 2016 and the population trends show that the elimination of baboons is not sustainable; it is not ethical nor morally defensible – and it does not solve long term problems.

We need to change the strategy so that emphasis is placed firstly on reducing and managing attractants successfully and that the use of monitors must be part of a comprehensive management plan – not merely a reactionary force to chase baboons out of urban areas. I am currently busy with a document addressed to local Minister of Environment Bredell, in this document I stress the benefits of job creation, skills development, waste management, recycling and (for example) production of composting material through the removal of organic matter from waste source. A positive outcome from the implementation of the above through a comprehensive management plan would be that effective baboon management would be achievable.

In 2019 we received requests to train monitors in the Northern Cape, Limpopo, Cedarberg, Aughullas and in the Plettenburg region; regrettably in all cases the municipality or conservation organization did not have budget to pay even the most minimal costs of travel and accommodation. Sadly, it is perceived to be simply quicker and cheaper to kill baboons. We have found that providing training at no cost to the municipality was problematic so we need to find a way to ensure the training happens through official systems. I hope that the request to Minister Bredell will help address the need for an integrated approach, including training which could be provided as part of municipal budgets.

Baboon Matters has received an indication that a conservation organization will assist us with the costs to host a primate symposium whereby all SA primate groups can meet and discuss our areas of concern with relevant authorities. We believe that the symposium, together with a specific workshop to address Cape Town’s management strategies will enable effective change in baboon management. Planning this symposium will be one of our top priorities of 2020.

The Baboon Matters Trust thanks everyone who supports, and continues to support our efforts to help baboons and to find long term, sustainable management options.  Baboon Matters is entirely dependent on public funding and support and, with your help, we hope that we will be able to increase out outreach in 2020.

Have a wonderful festive season.

Wahoo! from the baboons.

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The life of a Cape baboon, collared & paintballed.
The life of a Cape baboon, collared & paintballed.

Baboon Matters has been hard pushed to keep up with the increasing need to protect baboons across South Africa. In the wake of devastating fires in the Overstrand Municipality at the start of this year, as well as extreme fires in the Knysna area in 2017 and recurring fires on parts of the Cape peninsula in 2015,2016, 2017 there has been dramatic landscape change compounded by one of the worst droughts in 100 years. In addition to the impact of fire and drought, there is increasing urban and agricultural pressure on land and within these parameters it is not surprising that the interface between humans and baboons is under pressure!

In 2019 we have been liaising closely with other groups and collectively challenged the Baboon Technical Team (comprising City of Cape Town, Cape Nature and Table Mountain National Park) to impelement a moratorium on killing baboons until such time as an inclusive groups can review and revise current management systems through a comprehensive workshop; the goal being to creat a full management plan for the Cape peninsula baboons.

The collective authorities have either ignored the call for a moratorium or delined the reasonable suggestion - but we are continuing to lobby for support so that we can improve the current management through the implementation of by-laws, effective waste management and education.

We have been working hard to find a workable solution for the remaining four Scarborough female baboons and are as frustrated as the many concerned residents and stakeholders who, like us, are not informed of decsions or plans for these isolated and vulnerable baboons.

In Sabie, we have continued to challenge the Baboon Damage Interest Group and Forestry South Africa who hace cancelled planned meetings and refuse to make relevent information available.

It has been a very hard, challenging year with so much to do and very little resources.  I would love to be able to have assistance for the myriad of tasks that lie ahead and thank you for your on-going contributions allowing Baboon Matters to keep helping baboons.

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2019 has not been "kind" to baboons!  It seems that in the Western Cape we have seen a sharp increase in numbers of baboons killed. Earlier this year the Overstrand region suffered massive wild fires that devastated huge tracts of land, it is not surprising therefore that some villages affected by the fires may see and increase in  numbers of baboons coming closer to urban areas for easy food rewards.

Towns such as Betty's Bay, Kleinmond, Pringle Bay and Hermanus were all affected by the fires and sadly some residents have resorted to shooting at baboons with pellet guns causing injuries to at least one male and killing two female baboons.

On the Cape peninsula the auhtorities authorised the killing of four adult male baboons and two of the surviving three juveniles of the Misty Cliffs troop died (one knocked over by a car and the other "drowned"); this leaves just one surviving juvenile in this small group.

Although we are unbearably saddened and frustrated by the relentless killing of baboons we do believe that our efforts to educate and liaise with interested and affected parties is bearing fruit.

Our educations videos have reached (colelctively) well over 60 000 viewers and our newsletters extend to an ever increasing readership.  On social media over 45000 people actively comment and share posts from our Facebook and Instagram sites - so we are reaching more and more people who are showing willing to be involved.

In coming weeks we wlll be launching a new educational video, a newsletter and we are hosting a public meeting at teh end of June where we hope residents will pinpoiont key areas of concern for the authorities to address in a meaningfull way.

We desperately need to turn our attention to fundraising as funds are perilously low, and we plan to work on this issue through some innovative ideas we are planning.  Watch this space...

Please keep supporting Baboon Matters - we are so grateful for your on-going contributions and support for the baboons.

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In December 2018 we launched our campaign to raise funds that would enable Baboon Matters Trust to continue working towards our long-term goal whereby baboons are protected  from hunting and that non-lethal methods of management are encouraged as preferred mitigation strategies for reducing conflict between baboons and humans across South Africa.

In the first quarter of the cycle we have raised just 10% of the goal for the year, and as we have been under huge pressure to assist in areas affected by fires as well as baboons killed by land owners, we know that we are going to be under enormous strain to keep up our good work if we don’t secure funding quickly.

We are planning specific fund raising campaigns but our work  will also be taking us to the pine plantations of Mpumalanga to gather samples and to meet with land owners so that we can start work on scientifically based mitigation strategies that will reduce damage attributed to baboons.

We continue to pursue prosecution in cases where baboons have been heinously treated and killed – one case goes to trial at the end of March and we hope to push the public prosecutors to actively bring at least two other cases to court; a clear precedent must be set that it is not acceptable to kill baboons.

In efforts to create awareness and education about baboons, we have produced our first short education video about the behavior of baboons, watch the short on clip on this link:

We have also produced our first newsletter for 2019 and the articles have been well received, if you missed it, do take time to  have an enjoyable read through!

We will be hard at work on a number of issues over the next few weeks, so please look out for our updates on social media, you can find us on Instagram, Facebook and in next couple of days twitter too.

Thank you so much for your support to date, it really is appreciated!

Warm regards,


Baboon Matters Trust




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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
$20,111 raised of $35,000 goal
240 donations
$14,889 to go
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