City hearing proposals on baboon management

The City is seeking proposals from the public on how to manage the Cape Peninsula’s growing baboon population.

The City has been listening to the public’s ideas on how to manage the Cape Peninsula’s growing baboon population.

The discussions follow a meeting in early June where national, provincial and local environmental authorities – SANParks, Cape Nature and the City – looked at the future of baboon management following the City’s decision to abandon its controversial urban baboon management programme when the contract with NCC Environmental Services comes to an end in June next year (“Talks explore future of baboon management”, Bulletin, June 6).

About 70 residents, scientists, animal-rights activists and civic groups attended an online meeting with City officials on Tuesday June 21.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews said the meeting was held to find ideas for a sustainable baboon-management protocol.

Robert de Vos, of Simon’s Town, suggested relocating baboons to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve with some also possibly being moved to the Karoo.

Gordon Chunnett, of the Constantia Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, said the City should not allow baboons to live in areas where they did not belong.

“We are under threat by these baboons,” he said. “Residents don’t have until June next year. Moving baboons to safer ground is safer for them and would release much tension in residents.”

Jenni Trethowan, of Kommetjie, asked for a moratorium, on euthanising and culling baboons until the various spheres of government had decided on a management strategy in which they shared responsibility for the baboons.

Gerry Higgs, of Tokai, proposed creating wildlife corridors using arterial roads, bridges and water pipes from the mountains to the sea.

According to Julia Wood, the City’s manager of biodiversity, the Cape Peninsula has 605 baboons in about 16 troops, which is in excess of the region’s carrying capacity of 450 to 555 baboons. The population has been rising steadily from 248 baboons in 2006 and 457 in 2021.

Ms Wood said the three tiers of government needed to work with the SA Navy, as a large landowner; the SPCA; and different NGOs and civic groups to find solutions.

Some steps had already been taken, she said, including lowering speed limits in Simon’s Town and posting wildlife signage in Noordhoek and Constantia.

“But more can be done, including greasing poles so that baboons do not get electrocuted and enforcing law enforcement and City by-laws regarding animal feeding or leaving food outside. Also applying for grant-in-aid for injured and distressed animals,” she said.

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The carrying capacity for baboons on the Cape Peninsula is between 450 and 555, according to Julia Wood, the City’s manager of biodiversity. At present there are 605 baboons in about 16 troops.