AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CAPE OF GOODHOPE SPCA REGARDING IT’S ROLE IN BABOON MANGEMENT ON THE PENINSULA
Mr. Mqabuko Moyo Ndukwana
Chief Executive Officer
Cape of Good Hope SPCA
MONDAY 18TH JANUARY 2021
In the absence of an official enquiry the EMS Foundation would like to continue to raise important questions about how humans are failing to successfully manage the baboon population in Cape Town.
The steady growth of human settlements and development has led to escalating interaction between humans and baboons on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula. Baboons, whose natural habitat is under endless threat and is increasingly diminishing, are being forced into residential areas where there is a ready availability of food discarded inappropriately by humans.
For the record, the EMS Foundation is not in agreement with the baboon management protocols which include paintballing, firing bare bangers, the inappropriate relocation, permanent captivity of male baboons or the killing of baboons. “On average for management purposes, we kill about seven baboons a year – habitual raiders – it is a danger to the public to have them in urban areas” -Julia Wood, Biodiversity manager for the City of Cape Town. Cape Town ratepayers have been paying fourteen million rand a year for the services of a baboon management company.
Human Wildlife Solutions, employed for many years to manage baboons in Cape Town, state on their website that they have worked very closely with the SPCA as part of the baboon management project, to quote their exact words “preventing and mitigating cruelty to baboons on the Cape Peninsula.”
According to the Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website, the CoGH SPCA is committed to the credo that wild animals belong in the wild.
In 2017 the City of Cape Town extended it’s agreement with the CoGH SPCA to the value of nine million rand. The agreement means that the SPCA supports Law Enforcement with the impoundment of stray animals or animals involved in attacks and homes them for the prescribed impoundment periods. It is interesting to note that despite the contractual agreement, during the height of the so-called Kataza debacle, Kataza was captured and taken to the Westlake Conservation Centre, which is owned by the City of Cape Town. The CoGH SPCA and their appointed wildlife vet Gina Du Toit were denied access to the property, obstructing them from the execution of their duties. On the 10th September 2020 the CoGH SPCA issued a statement to say that: “Our only alternative is to obtain a court order in terms of the Animal Protection Act to gain access to the property so that a veterinary assessment can take place tomorrow.” There was no follow-up statement in this regard.
On the 23rd October 2020 the CoGH SPCA released the following statement regarding Kataza: “The CoGH SPCA has spent an extensive period of time monitoring the integration, movements and behaviour of SK11/Kataza since we were notified of his relocation to Tokai. We hoped he would integrate and be able to live out his natural life on the Peninsula but we are now concerned about his wellbeing and welfare, and that of other animals and the public in general. For this reason, we approached the City of Cape Town on the 21st October 2020 with a proposal to capture SK11/Kataza and relocate him to the Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Limpopo. All costs associated with the relocation process will be borne by the CoGH SPCA on receipt of approval from CapeNature.”
On the 12th January 2021 the SPCA once again submitted an application to CapeNature for a permit to capture and translocate Kataza to a centre in Limpopo. Is the SPCA aware that it is unlikely that Kataza will be released back into the wild?
On what basis has the CoGH SPCA made the decision to relocate Kataza to Riverside in Limpopo? Have other rehabilitation centres or sanctuaries – particularly those in the Eastern Cape – been considered? What assurance has the CoGH SPCA been given by Riverside that Kataza will be released back into the wild? The EMS Foundation is particularly concerned because CapeNature’s Dr Baard has indicated to us in writing that CapeNature will only provide a permit for permanent captivity and/or euthanasia and definitely NOT for rehabilitation and release.
We would very much like an answer to these questions as a matter of urgency.
The SPCA has apparently threatened legal action against the City of Cape Town if “the Kataza debacle” is repeated. “We will not relocate a baboon like this again, we have it made it clear to the City that this is the last time”. Is it fair to say that despite a fourteen million rand a year cost to the ratepayers of Cape Town the baboon management company has failed at their task of mitigating human interaction with wild baboons?
The City of Cape Town has not made any visible attempt to control the poor waste control in the urban areas closet to the baboons shrinking natural habitat. The EMS Foundation has filmed the areas in Kommetjie most often visited by the baboons and have failed to find any effective waste control.
We continue to question the methods of deterrence as well as poor enforcement of regulations to make urban areas less attractive to baboons. HWS failed to stop the baboon from “breaking the line” and raiding in the Kommetjie village. It seems that the new service provider has not been successful either.
Surely, after more than a decade of repeating the same mistakes we cannot possibly expect a different result.
We look forward to your urgent response.
The EMS Foundation
IMAGE CREDIT Rob Tarr Photography
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