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Looking Back and Looking Forward
The year has gotten off to a hectic start with Covid regulations and concerns about Kataza dominating our media and thoughts, but now that Kataza is at Riverside it is time to refocus our attention.
Please note that I am reporting on Baboon Matters related work and not every aspect of work undertaken by role players in the past months.
Baboon Matters has raised concerns and objections to the management guidelines and protocols since they were implemented in 2010. As a result of these disagreements and objections to lack of veterinary care for injured baboons, we were cut out of all management decisions and meetings
In 2019 Baboon Matters and Baboons of the South wrote a memorandum detailing areas of concern relating to management protocols and guidelines which need to be addressed through a review and revision process. The memorandum was endorsed by the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum SA and submitted to all the role players on the Baboon Technical Team. Our memorandum was summarily dismissed, but I addressed points raised and resubmitted the memorandum to relevant heads of the various organizations. Cape Nature was the only organization to respond, although the response was disappointingly off track.
We did not give up.
Bettys Bay Baboon Action Group joined the WAPFSA and we redirected our memoranda to Minister Bredell.
Whilst this was happening, Kataza was moved and so we started specific liaison with the City of Cape Town.
Working with Global Giving, we will be doing another fund-matching campaign on March 6th to the 12th! All donations during that time will be matched by Global Giving. Please DONATE HERE
In August BM and BoTS, together with Bradley Thorsen, met with Alderman Felicity Purchase with clear reasons why Kataza should not have been moved, and why he should be returned. At this meeting Ald. Purchase stated that the by-laws for baboon affected areas were almost ready for the public participation process and answered our questions regarding the time-lines saying we would see the by-laws within a month.
Our meeting was followed up with numerous emails and data to all relevant decision makers.
In support of our efforts, SAFCEI wrote to the Mayor Plato and requested all relevant documentation whilst IWAF voiced their concerns about baboon management. International icons Dr. Jane Goodall and Sir David Attenborough condemned the use of aggressive and lethal methods of management of baboons.
In September BoTS, BM and Bradley Thorsen met with Mayor Plato and again offered clarity and solutions and suggested the formation of a neutral task team to resolve long outstanding issues relating to baboon management.
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Working with Global Giving, we will be doing another fund-matching campaign on March 6th to the 12th! All donations during that time will be matched by Global Giving.
Please DONATE HERE
In September 2020, Minister Bredell responded to the our request and instructed Cape Nature to host the workshop, on 13 November the initial meeting was held at Cape Nature offices, in preparation for a workshop in 2021.
In October CWAF’s Karen de Klerk arranged a meeting with the Mayor, Mayco, CAWF, CGHSPCA, BM and BoTS and at that meeting the Mayor directed Alderman Nieuwoudt to start a task team to resolve baboon management related issues.
In November the CoCT settled the court action initiated by Ryno Engelbrecht and Kataza was returned to his home range!
In December it was clear Kataza was not settling with a troop and BM raised funds for 4 additional rangers to be employed by service provider NCC, the intention being to try and keep Kataza out of the urban areas and easy food rewards so that he would have a greater chance of integrating with a troop.
In January the CGHSPCA made an application to Cape Nature for Kataza to be relocated to Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Limpopo, a permit was issued and Kataza was moved.
Although Kataza ensnared our attention and hearts, Baboon Matters has never stopped work, lobbying and advocating for the bigger picture issues but some of the projects we had planned for 2020 did not get off the ground, so I am starting 2021 with the goal of raising funds for these projects as these are specific issues that I believe need urgent attention.
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I am going to list a few of the smaller projects here, but will be detailing a longer term plan in coming weeks!
This is an issue very close to my heart. All too often injured baboons (and many other wildlife) do not get necessary veterinary care or attention simply because there is a lack of appropriate equipment. Few vets or welfare organisations have appropriate trap cages, let alone dart guns, blow dart or any method to contain an injured baboon ( or an otter, bokkie or caracal) until the injured animal can be assessed and treated accordingly by a vet. We would like to raise sufficient funds to ensure that various groups are properly equipped and trained to catch and contain injured wildlife for veterinary attention. We will be working closely with expert Brett Glasby and will shortly make available a full break down of costs and all project details.
Prevention of electrocution
Far too many baboons continue to be killed or badly burnt on power lines or transformer boxes. Baboon Matters will be working with a private supplier to install boxes that will prevent further injury or loss of life from horrifying electrocutions.
Signage and education
Although we all acknowledge the desperate need for on-going, updated education and appropriate signage, it is extremely difficult to get the relevant land owners to fulfill this role. If we have funds to create and produce material, we will be able to reach a wide audience and work to get signage up at hot spots. We would love to produce more of our very popular educational videos and will be looking for sponsorship for this work.
The Cape peninsula is a water scarce province, and with ever encroaching urbanization and land use, many historically available water sources are no longer available to baboons or are on land not easily accessible to the managed troops due to restrictions such as busy roads, social impacts etc…
We will be liaising closely with the relevant authorities and the service provider to see how this issue can best be addressed.
I have listed just a few of the immediate projects that we would love to complete this year, this will be in addition to our on-going work on advocacy and lobbying to change the management protocols and guidelines.
I hope that you will continue to support Baboon Matters and I look forward to telling you more about our projects in coming weeks!