The relocation of a baboon
from Kommetjie to Tokai
has drawn a public backlash,
but scientists say it’s standard practice and that it’s people’s desire to
treat baboons like pets that poses
the real danger to the primates.
Human Wildlife Solutions, the City of Cape Town’s
relocated the baboon, called
Kataza or SK11, from the Slangkop troop in Kommetjie to the
Zwaanswyk troop in Tokai on Wednesday August 26.
to be returned to Slangkop troop
has since drawn 5 500 signatures.
department, said the baboon had
been moved because it had tried
to form a splinter group with seven
females that would have led to
But the move prompted Kommetjie resident Odette Peiser to
start the petition.
the move broke up a family unit
and could cause conflict between
the baboon and humans that
could lead to the creature being
mayoral committee member for spatial
planning and environment, to stop the
“continued persecution of baboons at
the behest of a contractor that is failing
in having the interests of the people and
the animals at heart”.
conflict was dangerous and needed to
be prevented and that the City’s baboon
management was based on scientific
but they are very dangerous animals, and
once they have learned and prefer to
locate to urban areas and we cannot get
them back to stay in their natural habitat, we have no choice but to take them
away. It is really a management decision
for the greater good for animals and
While people had deep appreciation
for the “majestic” animals, anthropomorphising them, that is attributing
human characteristics to them, caused
them harm in the long run, she said.
entice them to promote human-baboon
interaction, this interference leads to a
change in their behaviour, and, at the
end, a problem animal.”
and we must not treat them as pets”.
Ms Wood said an animal-rights activist
had tried to stop rangers capturing an
injured baboon on Monday. The baboon
had subsequently been captured and
euthanised because it had had a broken
Professor Justin O’Riain, from UCT, is
the director of the Institute for Communities and Wildlife (iCWild).
was nothing unusual about moving wild
animals to a new area.
“It is called metapopulation management, and it is done primarily to ensure
the genetic health of geographically isolated sub-populations. Imagine if every
time a cheetah was relocated there was an
uproar like this,” he said.
captured and moved to a new reserve, if
that move brings fresh genes to a population, then the bigger goal is realised.”
“illegally tracking and pursuing” SK11
since Saturday to photograph his movements, he said.
“SK11 was sighted by baboon rangers
– who do have a permit – with several
female baboons in the Tokai troop on
Sunday, August 31,” he said.
Most animal-rights activists, he said, held animal rights to be equal to human
rights with a focus on individual animals
and not the species or the environment.
euthanasia as a scientific wildlife management tool, even when large raiding
male baboons are terrorising families in
said, that the philosophy of animal rights
was “incompatible with science-based conservation and management of wildlife”.
Times, following her visit to Cape Town
the year before, Dr Shirley C. Strum,
professor of biological anthropology at
the University of California, San Diego,
said she was “scandalised” by the publicity
campaign mounted by activists whom she
accused of thwarting appropriate methods of deterrence.
“The epitaph of these baboons will
read: ‘Met an untimely end because activists could not face reality’…
the Cape baboons is being endangered
by the very people shouting the loudest
against the only appropriate methods we
successfully earlier, there would be no
need to kill any baboons today.”
the activists did but would sacrifice some
to save the whole if that is what it took,she wrote.
installed eight years ago by Zwaanswyk residents,
can end much of the conflict between baboons and
humans in Kommetjie.
cycle by choosing to fence the Slangkop troop into
the status of good neighbours,” he said.