New heads to manage baboons

Kataza the baboon is still not home.

The City of Cape Town
has appointed a new
baboon-management contractor.
Human Wildlife Solutions
(HWS) will end its services on Wednesday September 30, and the new
contractor, NCC Environmental
Services, will take over from Thursday October 1. 

Kay Montgommery, the spokeswoman for the City of Cape Town’s
Baboon Technical Team (BTT),
said NCC, which has held the
tender previously, was officially
appointed on Tuesday. 
Ms Montgommery said NCC
had won the 2020 – 2023 baboon
management tender in March of
this year, but HWS had appealed
the decision. Its appeal had been
unsuccessful. 
The BTT, with input from CapeNature, SANParks, UCT and the
SPCA, advises the City on decisions impacting baboons living
near people. 
Meanwhile, the “Bring Kataza
home
” saga has grown legs. 
The adult male baboon was
relocated at the end of August
because he had created a splinter
group of seven females, all related
to him, which he was leading on
raids into Kommetjie. 
On Wednesday last week,
baboon activist Jenni Trethowan
was lauded on social media by
some for “walking Kataza home”. 
A video posted across certain social
media sites allegedly shows Ms Trethowan with Kataza in tow, walking from the Zwaanswyk troop in
Tokai, across the mountain back to
the Slangkop troop. 
Despite being approached for
comment on three different occasions over the span of a week, Ms
Trethowan only asked which paper
the questions were for and then
said her response was slow because
she had contracted tick-bite fever. 
By the time of going to print, Ms
Trethowan had neither confirmed
nor denied that she had walked
Kataza away from the new troop,
nor had she addressed questions
pertaining to by-laws she would
have broken if in fact she had led
the baboon away from where he
had officially been placed or for
allegedly feeding the animal. 
Ms Montgommery said
SK11 (The baboon activists call
Kataza) had since returned to the
Zwaanswyk troop and was being
accepted by it. 
She said the public
was not to interfere with the animal’s chances of successful relocation. 
Residents who harassed, fed and
tracked the baboon were breaking
the law, she said. 
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA
said in a statement on its website
that it had not been notified about
the relocation of the baboon, but it
welcomed relocation as a humane
alternative to euthanising a healthy
animal, as long as it was legal and
in the best interests of the animal. 
In a later statement, on
Tuesday, the SPCA said it was
disappointed that only Baboons
of the South and Baboon Matters Trust had attended a meeting it had called to discuss SK11,
although the City, Cape Nature
and HWS had sent their apologies. 
The only alternative to letting
SK11 integrate into the new troop
was euthanasia, the SPCA said,
adding that it was opposed to
euthanising the baboon.
Integration of wild animals took
time and could fail if it was interrupted, it said.
“We acknowledge and appreciate the fact that the members of
the public mean well, but we need
to do what is right in this instance
and avoid any complications for
the integration,” the SPCA said.