Cape Town - Baboon conservationists, scientists, animal welfare activists and wildlife managers hold a no-holds-barred meeting on Monday relating to baboon management on the Peninsula.

The Baboon Welfare Meeting is taking place at the SA National Parks’ Cape Research Centre in Tokai.

Baboon Matters Trust, the NGO headed by baboon conservationist Jenni Trethowan and which held the initial management contract, has prepared a list of questions for the Baboon Liaison Group that represents civic and ratepayer organisations in the South Peninsula.

In turn, the Baboon Technical Team – the joint “operations” team of the three statutory authorities involved – has drafted a set of questions for the trust and animal rights activists.

The Baboon Matters Trust wants to know, among other things:

* Since the new baboon management Protocol was implemented in 2010, there has been an exponential increase in the number of baboons killed - how can this be explained?

* If at least 24 male baboons and 18 females have been killed in the past 18 months, how can the total population of 475 have remained constant?

* Other than paintballing, what promised new baboon management technologies have been implemented and how will they be controlled?

The technical team’s questions include:

* Do you accept the humane killing of healthy baboons under any circumstances?

* Do you accept that “aversive conditioning” is a successful method to mitigate human-wildlife conflict?

* Do you accept the use of paintball markers and “bear-bangers” under approved operating procedures?

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Cape Argus