Conservation groups demand solutions after the electrocution of two Cape baboons

Rafiki, one of the electrocuted baboons. Picture: Supplied

Rafiki, one of the electrocuted baboons. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 10, 2023


Cape Town - Conservation groups and activists are demanding immediate action from the City following the electrocution of two baboons from the Da Gama troop by transformer boxes behind Da Gama Park flats on the weekend.

This, the groups said, brings to four the number of baboons killed in the last 18 months at the same spot and the groups are demanding that the City insulate these “inadequately greased” poles to prevent this from happening again.

Activist Tim Basset said that in September and October 2021, the Da Gama troop lost two male members, Buddy (TK 57) and the alpha male Khangela (DG 14) after they were electrocuted on the power lines above the Navy flats in Da Gama Park.

Basset said that in November of the same year, they met up with officials from the electricity department and were given the undertaking that the first six poles would be greased to a height of 4m every three months until a better solution could be attained.

Following the electrocution of the baboons, Basset said when he checked the scene he found out that only the first three poles had been greased and not the six as promised.

“I took some videos of poles, where you can see that a baboon had attempted to climb but the grease prevented him/her from progressing further up. The fourth pole was completely dry with nail marks embedded into the dried-up grease.

“The City has once again failed our protected chacma baboons. Surely it’s time that the City and other parties involved take the proper actions and precautions to ensure the survival and well-being of these awesome animals who are an important cog in our ecosystem,” Basset said.

Lorraine Holloway from Baboons of the South said the incident was avoidable and that there was no accountability from anyone for this ongoing tragedy. Holloway said the trauma for the rangers seeing the electrocuted baboons was an outrage. Holloway said greasing the poles was not a long-term solution but only proper insulation was.

Spatial planning and environment mayoral committee member Eddie Andrews said several interventions were taken to prevent this from happening, including insulating transformer contacts, greasing electricity poles, and poles wired off.

Andrews said these measures were not taken only in areas adjacent to baboons’ natural habitat but across the city in an effort to protect all wildlife, including baboons.

[email protected]