Concern after baboon programme official receives threat stating ‘Kataza is untouchable’
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has said an official form its Urban Baboon Programme has been threatened, and that residents have been interfering with baboon rangers.
This comes after the City has confirmed the return of much-loved baboon Kataza to his natal Slangkop troop home on Thursday.
Kataza was controversially relocated to join the Zwaanswyk troop in Tokai on August 26 after he was said to have begun to inbreed, causing the troop to splinter and so compromising the welfare of all members.
The City also requested the public to not follow Kataza now that he has been released.
However, has now come out stating that it’s concerned for personal safety of officials involved in its Urban Baboon Programme.
“The threat and damage to private property were reported to the South African Police Service for investigation yesterday, 19 November 2020, under CAS 262/11/2020.”
A threat was sent to the official’s cellphone with the message that he has been ‘warned’ and that ‘Kataza is untouchable’.
The City said that in the interest of the safety of the official and his family, they would not divulge more details about this matter.
Mayco Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt said: “We have noticed a trend where officials are being targeted and vilified by some of those who disapprove of the City’s Urban Baboon Programme. It is very distressing that it has now reached a point where an official is threatened with physical harm shortly after his personal property was vandalised.
“This is over and above the hate-mails, abusive messages, and insults aimed at staff who are, as part of their duties, involved in managing this programme. These intimidation and bullying tactics are absolutely shocking and unacceptable.”
The City said it also concerned about the ongoing interference with baboon rangers as they have received reports that the rangers from NCC Environmental Services, the City’s service provider, are prevented from performing their duties in accordance with the guidelines.
“I’m very concerned as this interference will give way to an increase in baboon raiding in the area and damage to private property,” Nieuwoudt said.
“Some residents have already contacted the City with complaints about the impact this is having on their quality of life as they have to stay indoors and lock all windows and doors while the baboon troop is moving through town.
“Adding to this challenge is that the residents who actually support the programme are reluctant to do so in public out of fear of being targeted and vilified by those who are opposing efforts to keep the baboons out of town.
“Given the abuse that our officials are being subjected to, this is quite understandable,“ said Nieuwoudt.
The City has requested residents from Kommetjie and surrounds to please allow Kataza to adapt to his surroundings and to not follow or feed him.
“Furthermore, we implore residents not to interfere with the baboon rangers who are tasked with encouraging the troop to forage in its home range and to remain out of the urban environment.
“The community is requested to please assist by baboon proofing their properties as far as possible, and to reduce food attractants as this will discourage raiding,” the City said.