No more killing of baboons

2019-08-06 06:01

In response to the comments by Angela Botha of Fish Hoek Tourism (“Baboon interventions are currently working well”, 23 July), I’d like to take issue with the assumption that the baboons are in “good hands” with Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS).

On the contrary, there has been a killing spree of note since they took over, which has not stopped the baboons. Neither has shooting them with paintballs.

When humans refuse to use baboon-safe bins, leave un-barred windows open and leave food lying around, then baboons, like humans, will take shortcuts to find food. Many people move into an area knowing there is wildlife but expect wildlife to stay outside the gate. We have encroached on their territory more and more, and lone males are meant to disperse and find their own troops, which they are unable to do because of built-up areas everywhere.

The Baboon Technical Team came under fire in 2018 for the secretive issuance of hunting permits to two Cape wine estates, and subsequently there has been a disappearance of dozens of baboons – no report has ever been issued to explain what happened to the baboons, and certainly, there have been no real investigations or prosecutions.

While communities were lodging concerns, a new protocol was slipped into place, which has substantially lowered the level of so-called acceptable “raids” by baboons, which gives the go-ahead to kill them.

There is enough demonstrable evidence, through 74 baboon killings, to support the fact that a landscape of fear, aversion tactics and the killing of individual baboons have not solved the problem. It has, however, caused social problems within troops, due to the deaths of so many adults. The public at large does not want baboons killed and the authorities are ignoring their wishes. This issue has been raised several times over the years, and the public is frustrated at the lack of change, lack of transparency and on-going killing of baboons, who incidentally, are now numbered by the authorities – giving them numbers makes it easier to kill them.

The remaining four female baboons, of the Misty Cliffs troop, have been targeted for “euthanasia in terms of the protocol” which is polite society wording for killing them because they behave as baboons do. The agenda seems to be to kill all local baboons. What else can be deduced from this intention to kill rather than relocate? The suggestion of which has been rejected. Two decades-plus of baboon experience and a love of these primates by those at Baboon Matters and their monitors have been ignored. The losers are the baboons.

Toni Brockhoven, Beauty Without Cruelty SA

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