Independent vet slams CapeNature, City over euthanasia of alpha baboon, Bolo



Published Jul 23, 2021


Cape Town - An independent veterinarian who was among the team that medically treated Bolo, the Waterfall troop’s alpha male baboon, has said news of him being euthanised came as an “unfair blow and betrayal” to their intentions to allow him a chance to recover.

It is understood that Bolo was found by the NCC Environmental Services blind and unable to move freely earlier this month.

He was treated by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, which deemed physically fit to return to his troop this week but instead he was collected by CapeNature and euthanised on Tuesday.

Dr Georgina du Plessis, an Independent Consultant, has in an open letter expressed her anger and disapproval of the decision to euthanize Bolo and said they had decided it was worth giving him a chance at recovery.

She said on July 10, she was called out by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Inspectorate to aid in a veterinary examination of the 14-year-old male Chacma baboon that had been in their care for a day.

“When I arrived as a private, independent veterinarian with hands on baboon treating experience at the holding site at SPCA, I was met with a member of the SPCA Inspectorate, a SPCA Veterinarian, and a representative of NCC. So we were 4 different individuals with different qualifications - not only to examine this baboon and the extent and possible causes of his injuries, but to decide his prognosis i.e his chances of recovery and reintegration to his troop. Also with that, his treatment or euthenzia,” she said.

Du Plessis said during treatment, the first few days were not promising but then Bolo’s vision started to return as the inflammation in his right eye subsided.

However, he was euthanised on Tuesday.

“If we had known this was to be the cold calculated completely unacceptable attitude, easy solution and action of CapeNature, we would have euthanised him humanely on the first day of examination, while under general anaesthetic nine days prior and saved this animal further suffering, pain and stress,” she said.

The SPCA had earlier this week said they refused to action the instruction by CapeNature to euthanise Bolo and and the euthanasia did not take place on their premises.

The City and CapeNature referred the Cape Times to a joint statement issued earlier this week in which they explained that having taken all the relevant information into consideration, both from an individual welfare and baboon conservation perspective, it was CapeNature’s opinion that, on the balance of probabilities, Bolo should not be released.

’’To release the animal would not be in his or the troop’s best interests and would most likely result in future troop destabilisation and potential welfare compromises,” they said.

Irrespective of a full recovery from the condition in his right eye, Bolo would have remained visually impaired if not fully blind in the left eye due to advanced cataracts, they added.

Cape Times

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