A campaign is calling for greater transparency regarding the way baboons have been managed in recent years. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
A campaign is calling for greater transparency regarding the way baboons have been managed in recent years. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Baboon lives matter, says environmental institute

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Sep 21, 2020

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Cape Town - Civil society is not satisfied with the way in which the City of Cape Town and decision makers have been dealing with the Cape’s baboons, prompting the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei) to campaign for greater transparency.

Safcei raised its concerns in a letter to the City about the way baboons have been managed in recent years.

Safcei’s Executive Director, Francesca de Gasparis, said the City was not talking to the people directly affected by baboons because they lived in close proximity to them.

“The communication with City has deteriorated over time.”

She said the current protocol was extremely aggressive towards the baboon population and there did not seem to be recognition of baboons’ intelligence.

De Gasparis said they were perturbed by the absence of information provided to the public from the City of Cape Town, the Baboon Task Team (BTT) and the Councillor-Appointed Representatives for Baboons of the South (Carbs) regarding the decision-making processes.

The recent relocation of male baboon Kataza was reportedly causing the baboons considerable stress, exposing them to dangerous roads and access to private homes, prompting outrage by residents.

Gasparis said they were also witnessing the cruelty inflicted on Kataza because he was walking around residential areas that he did not know.

Internationally acclaimed primate expert Jane Goodall said a baboon without his troop was not a baboon, as identity was so deeply linked to family.

“We request that the City provide greater transparency and accountability for its actions.

“We would like to view the terms of reference guiding these processes, in addition to the minutes of previous discussions which should already be a matter of public record,” she said.

According to the City’s Baboon Programme, the BTT advises the City on protocols and standard operating procedures affecting the troops that live alongside the suburbs.

“The decision was taken in consultation with the relevant authorities, CapeNature, SANParks and the City, as well as UCT and the SPCA.”

They said the Baboon Programme team held regular operational meetings with the service provider, and followed the Guidelines for Baboon Management which have been developed over the past decade in accordance with international best practice.

Cape Argus

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