Cape Town – The City of Cape Town is to blame for the death of an injured baby baboon, named Phoenix, on Saturday according to a welfare organisation.
“We are frustrated because any form of wildlife was given medical attention, from bucks to tortoises, but here this baboon [had] to suffer only because it was a baboon,” Baboon Matters Trust marketing co-ordinator Kathy Kelly said on Monday.
Phoenix suffered burn wounds during wildfires in Simon’s Town last Wednesday.
Kelly said the city was informed about Phoenix’s deteriorating condition directly after the fires. She said the city told them they did not want to take it out of captivity because it could become habituated to humans and not be welcomed back into the troop.
She said Baboon Matters had safely returned several baboons to the wild following medical treatment and they had shown no signs of human dependency.
The City of Cape Town could not immediately be reached for comment.
'Severely traumatised by the fire'
Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson Tara McGovern said authorities had shown exceptional commitment to the treatment of baboons.
She said a City of Cape Town veterinarian decided not to remove Phoenix from her habitat as she might have died due to stress or from being rejected once returned.
“Bearing in mind that the troop, and very definitely the injured juveniles, would have been severely traumatised by the fire, it was decided to rather leave them with the troop, as opposed to removing them, which may have added to their stress levels and complicated their recovery,” McGovern said.
Jenni Trethowan, of Baboon Matters, said that they were denied entry to the area where the baboon troop was. McGovern disputed this.
“To the best of our knowledge, no-one can ban anyone from a national park without good cause. We are unsure of who Baboon Matters approached and the reasons for declining the request – if one was ever made,” McGovern said.
“Baboon Matters has numerous photographs and reports of the baboons on their Facebook page, so despite claims of not being allowed to traverse the park, [they] obviously went regardless.”