Residents fight to save baboons

2019-07-16 06:00
Baboons are a natural fixture of the Cape Peninsula and residents are pleading for them to be treated as natural inhabitants, and not euthanised.PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

Baboons are a natural fixture of the Cape Peninsula and residents are pleading for them to be treated as natural inhabitants, and not euthanised.PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

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More than 50 residents representing Scarborough, Welcome Glen, Slangkop, Misty Cliffs and the greater South Peninsula gathered at Camel Rock restaurant to formulate a solution to the senseless killing of baboon troops in the area.

“The baboons rely on us and if we don’t get ourselves together, they’re all going to be killed,” said Jenni Trethowan who chaired the meeting.

Many of those in attendance have lived in the Cape Peninsula for decades and have had numerous encounters with the baboons. They said the baboons do not show aggression, except for a few rare incidents, and should be left to inhabit the lands freely.

Trethowan says since May this year, five baboons have been killed under euthanasia and only four are left as a part of the Misty Cliffs / Scarborough troop. This number has whittled down from a troop of 20. Residents are now calling for the killing to end.

“We are all collectively calling for a moratorium for the senseless killing of baboons in Cape Town. They have to review the policy completely,” said Trethowan.

A resident of Scarborough for 25 years, Ushka Devi echoes the sentiment of the Trethowan. She says: “I am quite familiar with baboon behaviour and the perception of them is wrong. I would like to see the legal killing protocol of baboons come to an end. How can we dismantle the lethal protocol that has been in place since 2010?”

Devi continues: “We haven’t made estuaries where they can live and we’ve just expropriated their habitat. I am prepared to fine-tune my lifestyle to coexist and that’s a passionate response.”

This was the general feeling among the group, but they were aware and concerned about the responses of other residents in the area who are not as accommodating of the wildlife in the area.

The immediate solution presented by the group was the moratorium for the killing of the wild inhabitants, with residents offering more suggestions to save the baboons. One idea presented was to erect fencing to keep the baboons within a restricted area and prevent them from accessing spaces that would open them up to human contact.

Another idea was to train baboon monitors better, to allow them to more efficiently alert residents of troops in the area and reduce human contact as much as possible.

Trethowan says she will soon be sending a letter to the Baboon Technical Team (BTT); which is made up of City of Cape Town, SANParks Table Mountain National Park, South African Navy and CapeNature, to call for the official instatement of the ban against the killing of baboons.

Trethowan has also launched a petition to save the baboons.

V Sign the Baboon Pledge at https://bit.ly/2NTomh6

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