Police investigating after pregnant baboon shot

A criminal case has been opened following the shooting and subsequent death of a pregnant chacma baboon in Bel Ombre, Constantia, at the end of September. File picture.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has opened a criminal case at the Wynberg police station following the shooting and the subsequent death of a pregnant chacma baboon in Constantia.

The organisation has laid charges under the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962, for the suffering experienced by the animal; the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000, for the use of a firearm in a residential area; and the Nature Conservation Ordinance 19 of 1974, for the unlawful hunting of a protected species.

According to volunteers from the Tokai Baboon Action Group, Bonita Franklin and Gerry Higgs, a troop of baboons entered a property in Monterey Drive, in late September, and the sounds of glass breaking and what the volunteers believed to be a gunshot were then heard.

The volunteers were allowed access to an adjacent property in Ombre Drive, where they saw the wounded female.

The SPCA says it called in a wildlife veterinarian to dart the baboon with a tranquiliser so it could be examined.

“To cause any animal such horrific suffering is inexcusable. The bullet penetrated her lung and she was lying on the road gasping for air when we found her. The severity of the trauma she experienced and the area of injury made euthanasia the most humane option,” said SPCA chief inspector Jaco Pieterse.

According to the SPCA, a full post-mortem found a penetrating wound to the baboon’s chest and a small calibre bullet was removed from the muscle adjacent to the spine. The bullet had penetrated the lobe of the baboon’s right lower lung. The examination also found several pellets – believed to have been fired from an airgun rifle – in various parts of the animal’s body.

“The Cape of Good SPCA condemns in the strongest terms the unnecessary and cruel use of force against sentient wildlife on the urban edges of Cape Town and is confident that justice will be delivered against the perpetrator,” said Mr Pieterse.

Wynberg police spokesperson Captain Silvino Davids confirmed they were investigating the case but no arrests had been made yet.