Kommetjie baboon reprieved from sentence of 'death'

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World-renowned primatologist,Dr Jane Goodall who has offered personal support to the Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group.
World-renowned primatologist,Dr Jane Goodall who has offered personal support to the Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group.
Michael Nagle/Getty Images
  • Human Wildlife Solutions is contracted to manage baboons in Kommetjie, which sometimes prove to be a problem for local residents.
  • But some residents claim the company's methods are cruel.
  • The City of Cape Town's baboon management programme recently turned down an application from HWS to euthanise one of the baboons.

Kommetjie residents have expressed their relief to hear that a local baboon, SK11 or Kataza as he is affectionately known, has had his life spared after an application to euthanise the baboon was rejected by the operations manager of the City of Cape Town's baboon management programme, Owen Wittridge.

Wittridge confirmed that an application had been made by Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) to euthanise SK11, as he is known to HWS.

HWS is the company contracted by the City of Cape Town to manage the baboon troop in the Slangkop area, near Kommetjie.

Many in the Kommetjie community have raised concerns about the methods HWS uses to manage the troop, including shooting paint balls at them and euthanising those animals who enter human homes.

HWS was recently awarded a contract by the Overstrand Municipality to manage the baboon troop in its jurisdiction, including the Betty's Bay baboon troop.

The Betty's Bay Baboon Action Group are opposed to the methods used by HWS and recently received the personal support of world-renowned primatologist Dame Jane Goodall.

READ | Jane Goodall backs Betty's Bay group's fight against council 'paint balling, euthanising' baboons

Kommetjie residents claim the application to euthanise Kataza was unjustified, even by baboon management guidelines, and was motivated by HWS's failure to manage the troop by non-lethal means.

Bradley Thorsen, representing concerned Kommetjie residents, said his own data on the baboon troop movements contradicted that of HWS.

In a letter of complaint about HWS, Thorsen says: "HWS reporting is not accurate and the fact that the reports are consistently not less than 2 months late makes verifying their data even more demanding. I would suggest that May's report has been purposefully manipulated in order to convict SK11 for euthanasia."

Speaking to News24 last week, Thorsen said the baboons were treated like criminals who acquired a "rap sheet" according to which they were evaluated and sentenced, sometimes to death.

He said HWS was simply frustrated by Kataza after the baboon managed to break "through the line" of HWS rangers, but that that was not "an offence" in terms of the baboon management guidelines.

Cape Nature previously told News24 the "non-lethal approach... is working" and that the "selective removal of individual recalcitrant problem baboons promotes sustainable troop management and mitigates human-wildlife conflict".

*Note: The story has been updated to correctly attribute information to the Kommetjie community. HWS is yet to begin its management of the baboon troop in Betty's Bay as the award was only recently awarded. 

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