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URGENT LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE OVERSTRAND MUNICIPALITY THREAT OF THE FORCED REMOVAL OF BLUE TAG BABOON FROM PRINGLE BAY

On Saturday 26th of August 2023 the EMS Foundation was forced to instruct Cullinan and Associates to issue an urgent letter to Mr Dean o’ Neill, the Municipal Manager of the Overstrand Municipality in response to his social media statement which he published at the end of the business day on Friday afternoon.

“25 August 2023: Update on the Pringle Bay baboons

Overstrand Municipality received numerous complaints about rogue baboons in Pringle Bay.  

According to residents, there is one male baboon in particular, called Blue Tag, that has been habituated to such an extent that he no longer displays any fear of humans. Residents are “robbed” of their shopping as they exit shops, and some have experienced minor injuries after tussles with Blue Tag.

It has been established earlier in the year that Blue Tag is not a native of the Pringle Bay troop and migrated from its natal troop in Gordon’s Bay earlier in this year.  

The Municipality is currently liaising with the relevant officials at the City of Cape Town to capture Blue Tag and to return him to his natal troop, in accordance with the G04 – Guidelines for Dispersing/Displaced male baboon(s) in Urban Areas.  

At this time, we would also like to report that HKM1 has moved to Silversands troop on 9 August, and we have had no interaction with this male since it has moved.  It was originally from the larger Hangklip troop, but we have no evidence of current raiding behaviour from it in the towns of Bettys Bay or Pringle Bay.  

REM1 has become the Alpha male of the PB troop and although it is raiding in the CBD and residential areas and is teaching the juveniles these raiding traits, it will be very unwise to remove the Alpha male from the troop.  This will disrupt the social structure of the troop and there is no known male at this point that can take over from REM1 in the position of Alpha male.  The Municipality will keep a watchful eye on it, but not remove the baboon at this stage.

Residents in towns where baboons are known to be present are once again reminded that it is an offence to feed baboons.  Also do not interfere with our staff working with the baboons and refrain from treating these wild animals as pets or family members.

Issued by: 
Overstrand Municipal Manager, Dean O’Neill”

Cullinan’s states in their communication that: “the aforementioned decision making process is procedurally unfair, as is evident the social media post was published at or just before 5pm on a Friday afternoon, forcing our client to instruct us to direct this letter to you on a Saturday for fear that the proposed action will take place on the weekend.

It would not have been necessary to address lawyer’s letters to you over the weekend if you had consulted stakeholders properly before taking this decision and had not published the unilateral decision to do so late on a Friday evening, presumably in the hope that it would not be noticed until action was taken.”

Image Credit: Jenny Parsons

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