For 25 years Jenni has championed the rights of baboons in Cape Town. In 1990, following the euthanasia of a troop of baboons in Kommetjie, she, together with Wally Petersen, formed the Kommetjie Environmental Awareness Group (KEAG) which successfully lobbied for the protected status of baboons on the Cape Peninsula.
KEAG was ahead of the times in many respects – they implemented one of the first alien clearing projects in Cape Town, and offered permaculture training when the method was still in its infancy.
In 2001 she left KEAG to start Baboon Matters, focussing on creating awareness for the plight of baboons living on the urban edge. Since then she has been featured in over 40 documentaries, received numerous awards, published a book, and been personally commended on her work by Dr Jane Goodall.
She has addressed many thousands of learners, university students, academics, and residents of affected areas – changing perceptions and giving people a better understanding of our primate relatives and how to live in harmony with them.
Prof. John Cruise
John’s successful career in mining spans more than 50 years – both as a commercial mining engineer and as an academic at the Mining Department at Wits University, where he was a Senior Lecturer for Exploitation Systems and Explosives Engineering.
After working with Wits to assess the safety of fossil excavations at the Sterkfontein Caves in 1992, he spent a further two decades providing blasting services for Sterkfontein and Swartkrans caves. In 1994 he became a founding trustee of the Palaeo-Anthropological Scientific Trust, which was instrumental in the declaration of the Cradle of Humankind as a World Heritage Site. More recently, he was invited to sit on a Wits committee that oversaw the removal of the 3-million year old Little Foot fossil, – the most complete skeleton of a hominid found to date. John was present when it was finally brought to the surface after 14 years of excavation.
Since his retirement, he has remained actively involved in the industry through numerous committees, and he is currently the Chairman of the Centennial Trust Fund Trustees Committee, and Chairman of the Industry Advisory Council for the Wits School of Mining Engineering. He also has a keen interest in wildlife conservation.
An internationally acclaimed inter-species communicator, Wynter has a long association with Baboon Matters, and has had much practical experience working with these fascinating animals who live so closely alongside humans – often in situations fraught with conflict, because of the misunderstanding between the species.
Based in South Africa where she works extensively with both wild and domestic animals, she also provides training, both locally and in the UK and Europe, that allows people to unlock their own inate ability to communicate with animals.
She is a core facilitator for the White Lion Leadership Academy, founded by the Global White Lion Protection trust. www.animaltalkafrica.co.za
Dr Mark Middleton
Mark graduated as a vet in 1995, and worked initially in a private practise before moving to the PDSA Welfare Animal Hospital. He has a strong conservation ethic and believes that wildlife, particularly on urban fringes, must be sustained and managed practically, humanely, and in a way that allow harmony in both communities.
In 2002 his love of the great outdoors prompted him to move into tourism, where he ran an outdoor touring company. He now owns retail Vetshops which allow him to earn a living and spend time with his three children while pursuing his passions – surfing, trail running and hiking.
Dr Elisa Galgut
Elisa’s association with Baboon Matters began when she was instrumental in ending the University of Cape Town’s use of wild-caught baboons in research. She assisted with the relocation of a group of 11 research baboons to a sanctuary, and was involved in developing UCT’s current non-human primate research policy.
She teaches in the Department of Philosophy at the UCT, and served as chair, and is currently a member, of UCT’s Senate Animal Ethics Committee. As a result of her work on animal ethics, she has developed an interest in the philosophical arguments for animal rights.
She has written research papers on the ethics of using animals for research and gives regular talks on the topic to new researchers at UCT, as well as participating in local and international conferences.
Dr Paula A. Pebsworth
Paula is a research associate at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She earned her PhD from Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute in Primatology. Her research interests are self-medicative behavior, spatial ecology, and human-primate conflict resolution.
She conducted her dissertation research in South Africa where continued human encroach upon wildlife habitat has escalated conflict between humans and baboons. Some of Paula’s long-term research goals include: conservation, community education, and helping farmers coexist peacefully with non-human primates through creative solutions.