The CT2 Troop of Constantia Management Overview

The CT2 Troop of Constantia Management Overview

Management Overview and Funding Appeal

Holly and her young daughter Cheeky. Holly has suffered an injury to her face that is consistent with a bullet entry.



The City of Cape Town has paid service providers to manage 11 troops of baboons for the past 14 years;  the CT2 troop of Constantia troops was always included as one of the managed troops.  In 2021 the CT2 troop started to expand their home range from the Vlakkenberg range into Cecelia Forest, a move that had been anticipated by the specialist researchers who advise the CoCT on the management of the baboons.  The service provider working at that time made provisions for rangers to continue managing the troop. However, in April 2022 the CoCT withdrew rangers from the troop stating that they did not manage baboons “in that area” and that the rangers were not successful in that terrain.

Map supplied by CoCT at a public meeting. The map indicates CT2 movements with CoCT rangers and illustrates that the troop was included in management plans and budgets – why the service was withdrawn is not clear.

With no rangers to mitigate conflicts and keep both baboons and residents safe, the troop was left to their own devices and started to obtain easily available foods from human-occupied space, including homes.  Residents were unprepared for the ongoing incursions of baboons into their homes and properties (most residents have 3 or 4 garbage bins that are often full of organic waste, as well as prolific fruit and vegetable gardens) and as a result of fear and frustration started “taking matters into their own hands”; people started using paintball guns, pellet guns and high calibre weapons against the baboons. (One baboon was shot and died, one was knocked over by a vehicle, one disappeared and several have what appear to be bullet or pellet injuries). Community intervention.Members of the Tokai Baboon Action Group and Baboon Watch WC started daily shifts whereby they stood guard to warn motorists of the nearby baboons, this was in an effort to prevent a serious traffic accident as the baboons were continually running back and forth across the very busy, winding roads of Rhodes Drive, Constantia Nek and Southern Cross Drive.In addition to their own efforts on the roads, Baboon Watch WC and Tokai Baboon Action Group also raised money for two previously unemployed men to assist with alerting traffic to the presence of the baboons and the men provided much-needed support. The volunteers were amazing and covered daylight hours, in all weather conditions, for over six months; however, the continual stress of baboons in danger on the roads, being shot at, injured and killed was overwhelming and so Baboon Matters offered help to see if we could fund monitors to keep the troop off the roads and out of houses whilst the authorities resolved long outstanding issues. Our first team of monitors came from the local community and were all employed as baboon rangers at a nearby vineyard; they were working with the CT2 troop on days off to supplement their income. Their knowledge of baboons and the area was invaluable but it proved impossible to work in two high-energy jobs at the same time. 

Baboon Matters then brought in our most experienced ranger, Mzukisi Nkewu, to work with Benson Chipasula (who had gained experience working with the TBAG) to set up two teams of monitors. Our monitors do not use paintball guns or aversion tools but rely on understanding the baboons and strategizing how best to redirect the troop to areas where they will have plenty of food and water and will be safe from traffic and shooters. Success of this interim project:There is no doubt that since these two teams started in December 2022, the number of incursions into homes has dropped significantly with only two known home entries in this time frame; this is a marked difference from the time prior to our teams when residents were reporting daily home incursions, high levels of frustration and damage to property, apart from the loss of life and injuries to the baboons. The baboons do continue to traverse properties to get from areas such as De Hel across Rhodes Drive and into Cecelia Forest, and they do utilize the copious fruits grown in this area, including the grapes on the Constantia Glen vineyards; however, they are under the constant supervision of the monitor teams and when they cross the busy roads the monitors provide clear warnings to the traffic.  We are aware that (at least) 5 residents continue to shoot at the baboons so all necessary affidavits, reports and chargers have been laid with SA Police and relevant authorities. The combined efforts of all groups (TBAGBaboon Watch WCBaboons of the South and Baboon Matters Trust) have created a high level of awareness for the project and we have funded radios, basic uniforms and awareness equipment (flags and reflective vests). Baboon Watch WC has started a WhatsApp Alert Group so that residents know where the baboons are and can be prepared in the event the baboons do come onto their property; more residents are now allowing the teams onto their private property so that the monitors can effectively redirect the baboons back into Cecelia Forest or the green belt areas. We have had meetings with numerous landowners and there is now a far better level of cooperation and understanding; some landowners have worked with the volunteers to cut back access points to prevent the baboons from entering specific areas and a local vineyard has worked with the teams to allow the monitors onto the vineyards to quickly and effectively get the baboons back into either De Hel or Cecelia Forest.

Help the CT2 monitor troop!
EVERY donation you make keeps the men on duty and look after the baboons.

On-going concerns:Our fundraising drives have provided less than a  third of the required running costs and over the past six months, Baboon Matters has been able to cover the remaining costs but is not in a position to continue funding what was intended to be an interim project while the authorities resolve their combined Strategic Management Plan. We note that when the CoCT recently extended the current baboon management project, management of the CT2 was not included in that budget.   Baboon Matters and Baboons of the South had a subsequent meeting with the Mayoral heads of staff about this (and other) issue(s), but at this stage, there is no commitment from the CoCT to provide funding for the CT2 teams.  We are concerned about the reasoning behind this decision and worried about the implications for the troop if they are not managed. Potential development:The project desperately needs a project manager and we would like to appoint Andile Nazo to this position where we believe he would excel. Establishing a new home range for CT2We would love to have additional resources and manpower so that we can work longer hours to try and establish security for the troop within a new home range and we believe that Orange Kloof could provide a potential new range for the troop. Efforts in this direction are often thwarted by the very high levels of activity on the mountain paths especially over the weekends and holidays when there are a lot of dog walkers enjoying the natural area; to establish awareness and cooperation we have reached out to hiking groups and the dog walkers association and have made educational pamphlets and signage, our intention being to find an agreeable way for dogs and walkers to enjoy the mountain but not impact negatively on the baboons. When they were in season, the attraction of the grapes in the vineyards also exacerbated efforts to keep the troops in the Orange Kloof or Cecelia Forest, but the monitors continued to effectively redirect the troop across the roads without incident.    We believe that with additional resources the troop would stay in the Orange Kloof area long enough for them to feel secure in the largely unknown terrain and that if they remain there for extended periods the vegetation and water availability should provide ample forage for this small troop.

Map of indicating safe areas for the CT2 troop

5th February 2023, Holly appeared weak and listless, we were concerned for her survival. But after monitoring her closely we realised there was no reason to intervene and left Holly to the careful ministrations of her daughter, Cheeky.

We currently have two teams, each team comprising three experienced men on duty daily.  The teams work from 07.00 – 18.00 (this changed in winter months) in a rolling shift so that they are not working overtime. Ideally, we would love an extra person on each team and at least one hour of overtime per team daily. Our daily costs are R1050 for the monitors (R350 per person) and R400 for transport, making a total of R1450 per day or R43 500pm on a 30-day month.

Overview of Successes

  • House incursions have been reduced from an almost daily occurrence to just two incidents in the six month period our monitors have been working.
  • In separate events the monitors found stolen property on the mountain and have also apprehended a known criminal, leading to his arrest.
  • There have been no fatalities from road incidents.
  • Habitual shooters have been reported and affidavits handed over to the police; the general public as well as baboons are at risk when residents use high powered weapons to randomly fire at baboons.
  • We hope for a prosecution in the incident whereby monitors were denied access to a property (to safely and efficiently redirect the troop) and instead a young baboon was shot and subsequently euthanised as a result of the shooting.
  • The troop is spending more and more time in Cecelia Forest and Orange Kloof and we are pleased to note that this week they roosted in Cecelia Forest on three consecutive nights, this is an important breakthrough in the management.
  • Community liaison is rapidly improving, although funding remains low.
Consequences of ending the project due to lack of funding.It would be tragic if this initiative comes to an end at the end of June due to lack of funding;
  • seven worthwhile, experienced and hard working men will lose their income
  • there will be a sharp increase in the numbers of baboons injured or killed by either intolerant residents who use high powered weapons to shoot at the baboons and in particular the three newly born baboons would be at high risk on the roads.
  • the risk of injury to a member of the public when residents randomly shoot high powered weapons at baboons.
  • the probability of a serious road accident if a speeding motorist swerves to miss a baboon cannot be overlooked
  • damage to property will increase
  • frustrated residents will once again take use all media platforms to call for the CoCT and partners of the Joint Task Team to provide management – or remove the troop
In addition to the obvious consequences listed above, it would be an irrevocably lost opportunity if the hard ground work established by the teams, in introducing the troop to a new home range, is not continued to fruition. The methods employed by our teams illustrate that it is possible to run successful management without relying on pain or aggression tactics and it really would be a great shame to lose this opportunity to relook at baboon management strategies through this pilot project.

Conclusion.There can be no doubt that a troop of baboons left to wander the busy, winding roads and suburbs without any form of management will result in high levels of stress and conflict resulting from fear and from damage to properties residents experience; the elevated stresses inevitably results in injury or loss of life to the baboons.  It is essential that the CT2 troop is allocated project funding as one of the eleven managed troops, as they have been since the inception of baboon management.  I hope that immediate emergency funding will be made available from the CoCT and TMNP so that the troop is effectively and ethically managed whilst the transition period and new management plan is resolved. We hope that the Joint Task Team currently working on the SMP will take note of the necessity to provide effective, well-trained monitors who do not need to use aggressive methods or pain aversion to redirect baboons away from areas where there may be conflict. Baboon Matters cannot continue to fund this work but the project is too important to be allowed to end as it proves daily that non-aggressive management is not only possible but is successful.  The project is also illustrating the possibility of establishing habituated troops in new viable home ranges. This pilot project is a success story that the City of Cape Town should embrace and uphold, and the high levels of awareness for the troop and monitors will add positive value to the ongoing funder(s) of this project. We will continue to explore all avenues to raise funds for this vital project noting that we are providing employment for deserving men who have shown an exceptional willingness to work with the baboons. 

Funding SOS! 

Please consider making a donation to enable us to continue  our monitors work for baboons in crisis! Click the link below to head to our Global Giving donations page!

EFT: Bank Details: Baboon Matters TrustStandard Bank Blue RouteAccount: 2700 400 80

October Newsletter 2022

October Newsletter 2022

Help Baboon Matters help baboons!

It is amazing to think that we are almost three-quarters of the way through 2022 and with people already making end-of-year plans I thought it was high time to get our newsletter out. What an incredibly busy and bizarre year this has been, quite surreal in many respects as the City of Cape unilaterally, and unexpectedly, announced that as of June 2023 there will be no more rangers managing the 11 urban baboon troops.But let’s start at the beginning of the year:


Kleinmond fire and Arabella baboons2022 started with the horrific Kleinmond fires which started in an old pine plantation owned by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment. The fire swept across the mountains destroying 5400 hectares of vegetation and devastating the home range of the Arabella troop. Concerns were expressed about the safety of the troop who were initially reported to be coping, but when photographer Michael Green spotted badly burned female dragging herself across the road, we went back to find the troop and check for ourselves.What we found was heartbreaking as between 9–13 baboons had badly burnt hands and feet. Baboon Matters worked closely with the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Sunel Visser (of Kleinmond) Gerda Wilkins and Liz Potgieter (of Pringle Bay). The hard-working and energetic Greyton Baboon Monitors provided invaluable help and those fit young men covered many, many kilometres of tough terrain in extreme weather conditions trying to find the injured animals.The story of the Arabella troop does need to be told in more detail, but for this newsletter, I will summarize by saying that we managed to capture only one young female with badly burnt hands; Kelly was treated at the CGHSPCA and successfully released back to her troop. As to the other badly (critically) injured baboons, we never saw them again… There were no traces of their bodies, nor of recovering baboons; one afternoon they were in the area and the next morning, they were gone never to be seen again. We have searched the area minutely for any clues but to date, the disappearance of the burnt Arabella baboon remains an unsolved mystery.


City of Cape Town terminates the Urban Baboon Project

On the 8th of April 2022, video footage taken at a CoCT biodiversity meeting went viral as media liaison spokesperson Kay Montgomery announced that the “activists had won” and that the City of Cape Town was terminating the baboon ranger project. The bombshell created immediate concern and chaos as the service provider was informed that their contract would not be renewed at the end of June 2023 and residents were made aware of the proposed changes through media press releases by Alderman Eddie Andrews. For the first time in many years, a national minister of the environment decided to step in to resolve the years-old baboon debate; Minister Barbra Creecy hosted a public meeting and instructed SANParks to sort the problem out.The three decision-makers (City of Cape TownSANParks and Cape Nature) have been unable to resolve their legal mandates and responsibilities since the park was proclaimed in 1998. However, on instruction from Minister Creecy, they duly reformed a new task team and are apparently working on terms of reference, strategic management plans etc.While the authorities are working behind closed doors on resolving their issues (which should have been sorted out after a high court judgement handed down in 2015) the CoCT engaged with residents through a series of area-specific zoom meetings.As the meetings progressed over July through to September, it became increasingly clear that the CoCT is expecting residents themselves to take “ownership” of the baboon-related issues – if residents want effective baboon-proof fences, it seems that residents will have to pay for installation and maintenance of those fences. Likewise with rangers, if residents want rangers, at this stage it seems as if they will have to pay for them.From discussions at the meetings, it may be that the only thing the CoCT will provide is baboon-proof bins (sometime in 2023/24) as well as advice as to how residents should baboon-proof homes and businesses.

As the CoCT engaged with its rate base, the real crux of the issues appeared to centre on who is actually responsible for the baboons, and who should pay for baboon-proof fences to keep the baboons in the Table Mountain National Park? Who will maintain the fences? There are many questions that need answers but only the CoCT and Cape Nature were present in the meetings; SANParks and TMNP are maintaining a very low profile.On the issue of their responsibilities, Cape Nature is clear they are responsible only for permits to relocate, move or kill baboons, but recently stated that those decisions will now be made jointly with the CoCT… 

As there is no clarity at all in regards to future management of the baboon human interface, we will have to wait for the draft Strategic Management Plan, which may be available for public input towards the end of November, just in time for the year-end break. This means that any potential discussion and workshops would only start again in the new year and with the end of June as the proposed cut-off date to stop the ranger’s services, you can understand why we are so concerned.

While the authorities attempt to sort out their differences of opinion, I sincerely hope that they are ALL paying careful heed to the plight of the CT2 troop of Constantia. The troop were effectively abandoned by the CoCT when they removed rangers from the troop, effectively leaving them to wander the streets of Constantia on their own (the CoCT quoted very dubious reasons for the terrible decision-making).

The CT2 troop is providing an insightful illustration as to what will happen if the CoCT does proceed with plans to abandon the ranger project without strategic baboon-proof fences, waste management etc. in place. Without appropriate management and management structures in place baboons suffer injury and awful deaths and residents suffer damage to property; simply put there are no winners in that scenario only chaos.

Collectively, all resident groups and stakeholders are unanimous on the fact that the CoCT cannot simply terminate the ranger project at the end of June 2023, at the very least there must be a practical transition period of 3–5 years so that adequate baboon proofing (including strategic baboon proof electric fences) is in place and if residents have decided to form SpecialRating Areas to pay for future services those can be in place too.


An important part of future baboon management will be the inclusion of an ethics committee to help evaluate management decisions and we thank Dr Elisa Galgut for putting forward this long overdue addition to the management discussions.Baboon Matters has participated intensively in not only the CoCT zoom meetings, but also the preparatory meetings with our colleagues and stakeholders as well as in panel discussions hosted by Simons Town Civic Association. It is astonishing to note, however, that despite numerous requests to meet with the Mayor and Alderman Andrews to help resolve the contentious management of the baboon human interface, Mayor Hill-Lewis and Ald Andrews have, so far, ignored all requests to meet with BM.It is very clear, that unless the authorities resolve the long outstanding issues of accountability and legal responsibility for baboons, we (the residents and stakeholders) will be going around and around the same old problems that have confounded baboon management for the past 20 years for another 20 years – providing angry residents have not killed the closed population of baboons.


In 2021 Baboon Matters launched our Emergency Rescue Pack initiative to supply essential equipment to assist in circumstances where wildlife has been injured and in need of veterinary care. Innovative engineer Marco Pasanisi designed and produced our first trap cage, which we then gifted to the Wildlife Unit of the CGHSPCA. The trap cage has proved invaluable to the CGHSPCA and they have been able to assist many injured baboons by getting them appropriate veterinary help urgently needed.THANKS to your support, we have just ordered our next 5 trap cages and will be also purchasing equipment such as plunge syringes, control poles etc. so that injured wildlife can be quickly and safely contained until they can get veterinary care. The trap cages will be deployed to areas in the Western Cape after organisations and individuals have undergone training course on how to assess injuries and how to use the equipment we will provide.



Baboon Matters has continued to support the incredible work undertaken by the hardworking groups who rescue our many orphaned and injured baboons across SA. This year we have assisted Prime Crew with food and running costs as they worked exceptionally hard (and under huge pressure) to successfully release two troops into a wonderful natural area where they will be wild baboons for the rest of their days. Well done to Luzanne, Kimmy and the entire Prime Crew team, you have achieved your goals for these baboons and you must be super proud of this result!We have recently also helped out at Stormberg as we covered the transport costs and veterinary bills for two young baboons both of whom lost their mothers here in Cape Town (one baboon mom was killed by dogs and the other mom thought to have been electrocuted). Both youngsters are doing very well at Stormberg and we thank Lana, Dup and Karen for all their care.In 2020 we were able to direct essential funds to cover some of the food costs to CARE, as BM tries to assist the rehab centers where we can. I would like to pay a special thanks to Stephen Munroe of CARE who is such a help to me – providing essential insight and advice when baboons have been injured.


Education and Outreach

Baboon Matters has always put a great deal of time and effort into education and outreach, our social media has been extremely successful with over 66000 followers on Facebook and in some months, our content has been exposed and reached nearly a million people–quite astonishing! We have a rapidly growing support base on Instagram, where we have more than doubled our followers in the past few months and now have 3600 people following BM. In the coming months, we plan to launch a series of podcasts and we believe these will be entertaining as well as educational, so I hope you sign up for the podcasts when we go on air! Baboon Matters has often collaborated with well-known artist Chip Snaddon and we were absolutely thrilled with Chip’s wonderful designs for posters we had made for the busy holiday season in Simons Town over December and January 2021. The posters will be used again and we hope to grow the campaign in other areas.


This year I was delighted when a concerned Tokai resident had beautiful boards and flyers designed and printed. We thank our anonymous friend for all her hard work, this collaborative effort meant that BM simply covered some of the printing costs in order to get the effective signage and flyers to key points.

In our efforts, to encourage the Greyton Baboon Monitor project we helped the team get their first newsletter together and I thank the Cape Creative Collective for their help and creative inputs with both the newsletter and “postcard”.The Greyton team are such hardworking men and they were delighted to see their first newsletter printed. Thanks so much to Lance of Greytprint for his help with the artwork and the great print.


I am always so very sorry our baboons are tragically killed, this year was especially hard to lose such wonderful characters such Crookie-Mary (of Da Gama) troop who was torn apart by dogs, the loss of Julius (of Plateau Road troop) who was killed by a professional hunter on orders of the landowner and the awful, unresolved, circumstances of Brutus (of Bettys Bay troop) who was shot at close range. In addition to being killed by dogs or run over by cars, too many baboons are killed by intolerant residents and we ask all readers to please report shootings to the relevant authorities (all details on the flyer above.)The entire community of baboon colleagues was deeply saddened by the death of staunch baboon warrior Lorna Thomas (of Welcome Glen) and of primate academics Judith Masters and Fabien Genin. May they Rest in Peace.


Baboon Matters is entirely dependent upon the financial support of the public and I thank you all for signing up for MySchool Card (please remember to swipe your card when you shop!) and to all of you who make contributions to the very hard work put into support other groups and always working towards the goals of better management of the baboon/human interface–and saving our baboons.Thank you for your ongoing support.

Bank Details: Baboon Matters TrustStandard Bank Blue RouteAccount: 2700 400 80

BaboonMatters Trust – Newsletter February 2021

BaboonMatters Trust – Newsletter February 2021

Help Baboon Matters help baboons!

Did you know that your donation to Baboon Matters is Tax Deductable?
Donate now before the financial year end and we will send you a Section 18a Receipt for your tax deductions!

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.

Help our baboons by helping us. For EVERY donation you make, we can keep our doors open and effect the changes the baboons need.

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.


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.

T-Shirts and Funding Appeal

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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.

Water Points

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!



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BaboonMatters Trust – Newsletter November 2020

BaboonMatters Trust – Newsletter November 2020



We did it! 

Each and every one of you who emailed, telephoned, signed petitions, posted on social media,
protested, lobbied and litigated –
WE ALL WORKED TOGETHER and  #BroughtKatazaBack

“You don’t need to watch television, you have the
baboon channel to watch. ”

Pete Oxford, November 2020

How right Pete is! The drama of baboon management has played out in all media over this year but escalated incredibly with the ‘Katazagate’ scenario! Who would have thought that Kataza would become the most famous baboon in the world? He has been become a social-media star, a twitter trend, been seen on news features and press internationally and nationally and is known by everyone no matter where he goes.

We have watched with degrees of concern, sadness and despair as this male baboon struggled to come to terms with having been uprooted from Kommetjie and set down in Tokai to find a new troop. Our frustration and anger at the lack of transparency and lack of action from decision makers was rife and inspired animal rights activist Ryno Engelbrecht to start legal action.  We protested and petitioned and far from public attention dying down, as the CoCT had hoped, interest in Kataza has always escalated and never waned.


Katazagate in a nutshell.

Kataza is one of two adult male baboons of the Slangkop troop who were moved back into the Kommetjie home-range in January 2020 after rangers had been held up and robbed whilst on duty in the Ocean View range.
Moving the troop back to Kommetjie illustrated on-going and underlying management problems such as poor communication, minimal education, little community involvement and no baboon proof bins – which should be provided by CoCT Solid Waste Dept.

There is no water on the Slangkop range in the hot, dry summer months and TMNP had not allowed any water provisioning sites so the troop started coming in to Kommetjie, essentially for water, but  they quickly rediscovered “hot-spot” areas where they could access rich rewards of food found in bins or inappropriately thrown away – such as household waste being dumped into green bins designated for pedestrian use.

The entire troop utilized the easy food rewards obtained in Kommetjie, no single baboon was seen to be a more excessive opportunist than any other baboon.  The troop all arrived together and were normally herded out of the village together, there are always a few stragglers but residents did not notice any factions or splitting within the troop.

In the ensuing months, residents complained about the excessive use of paintballs on the baboons and noted how the troop scattered all over the village as a result of the aggressive management.

The Slangkop troop arriving back in Kommetjie was almost immediately followed by the global Covid pandemic and national lockdown and it seems that the timing of baboons in the village, along with national stress and concerns about income, health and safety all combined into one simmering mess of tension. Baboons were injured by dogs, shot at by pellets and high velocity paintball guns – but continued to come into the village and even started sleeping in Kommetjie overnight.The Slangkop troop arriving back in Kommetjie was almost immediately followed by the global Covid pandemic and national lockdown and it seems that the timing of baboons in the village, along with national stress and concerns about income, health and safety all combined into one simmering mess of tension. Baboons were injured by dogs, shot at by pellets and high velocity paintball guns – but continued to come into the village and even started sleeping in Kommetjie overnight. 

Setting the records straight

Local resident Bradley Thorsen collated data from the daily WhatsApp groups where sightings of baboons in the village are reported and noted discrepancies in the management reports, specifically with the times recorded for baboons being in the village.  His expressed concerns were dismissed by the service provider as being “irrelevant” nonetheless his accurate data was able to prove when baboons had been in the village and if any baboon had accrued more misdemeanors than any other baboon. Thank you Bradley for keeping the records!

Towards the end of August I noticed that Kataza was not with his troop, at first I thought that perhaps I had just missed seeing the big lad, but I asked Bradley and Susan Litten (our Kommetjie Councilor Appointed Rep – Baboons South) to help me check. Over the next few days none of us could find Kataza.  Susan queried his disappearance and we were told that Kataza had been “relocated” to Tokai – the reasons being that he was “splitting the troop”, that he was inbreeding as he should have dispersed and that he was the deemed to have the worst “raiding record”.

As this poor decision came to light baboon experts of UCT were quick to defend the Baboon Technical Team – Esme Beamish (independent researcher – ICWild) was reported as noting that Kataza was not seen consorting with the females when she completed her annual counts of the troop over a few months in 2020.  Justin O’Riain (ICWild) noted that Kataza could not possibly have offspring, or that off spring would have been in utero.  It was confusing to hear reports that:

  1. Kataza was not consorting with females of his troop, yet it was claimed that Kataza was leading a splinter group of low ranking females; perhaps this was the first platonic splinter troop in baboon history?
  2. Kataza was inbreeding yet is was also claimed that
    • Kataza had no offspring
    • George (remaining adult male of the troop) killed 5 infants (as males sometimes do commit infanticide when there is a change in dominance). So George thought Kataza had babies? A bad mistake George?
  3. Kataza was a “problem raiding baboon” 
    • He was not proven to be any worse than any other baboon of this habitually opportunistic raiding troop.

But despite what we, collectively, thought about the decision making or the outcome, the CoCT proved to be intractable and simply refused to answer emails, or engage to resolve the issue…. Kataza gained celebrity status as he went in and out of Pollsmoor Prison and the American Embassy while the CoCT gained notoriety status for doing nothing.


#Bring Kataza Back – #We brought Kataza back!

Here is an overview of all the actions that took place to save Kataza:

  • Baboon Matters,Baboons of the South and Bradley Thorsen immediately engaged with our councillor to find an immediate solution to the situation.
    • We then had out first meeting with Mayor Plato who was urged to set up a task team and resolve the matter expediently.
  • BoTS and BM met with the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.
  • A group of quietly determined women formed themselves into a cohesive group taking shifts to ensure Kataza’s safety as he traversed the busy roads of suburbia.
    • The women became known as the Angels as they undertook to keep Kataza alive whilst his future was negotiated.
      • In understanding why the Angels took this action, it must be noted that the last baboon male to be relocated to Tokai was Dodger, and he lasted only 10 days before he was killed for BTTG3 offences.
    • The Angels worked for over 85 days from dawn to dusk and not only kept Kataza alive but they also informed residents, dog walkers and pedestrians about “the baboon in the hood”. They took the opportunity to engage with local children and taught them about baboons.  
    • The Angels continued with this task despite some very aggressive attacks from the previous service management who did not want Kataza watched.  The ladies were filmed and accused of feeding, herding and chasing Kataza – preventing him from integrating was a common slight.
    • I did my shifts in the field alongside the Angels, had many meetings with them to hear their views, give advice and help plan the best outcome for Kataza. 

There is no doubt that in the beginning there were “rookie” mistakes, after all these volunteers had never worked with baboons before, let alone a male baboon walking through the burbs; but where were the professionals? Where were TMNP rangers? CoCT traffic control? Cape Nature staff? Why didn’t baboon researchers  and their students come and help?  

It was easy to criticize but the Angels kept at it, learnt how better to assist and, my goodness, hearing some of the daily voice notes was the equivalent to listening to high speed drama scenes in any movie.

#Bring Kataza Back – #We brought Kataza back!

The overview of the actions that took place to save Kataza continued:

  • After hearing about the plight of QKataza, concerned animal rights campaigner and activist Ryno Engelbrecht started legal proceedings to get Kataza returned to his troop.
  • Toni V Brockhoven started a twitter campaign – and #Bring Kataza Back became the trending topic.
  • Daina de Agrela started a petition which gained over 30 000 signatures!
  • Toni V Brockhoven (United Front 4 Animals) and Kylie Wilford for arranged a hugely successful protest.
  •  Barbara Friedman gave all sides of the Kataza story exceptional coverage on Cape Talk.
  • The CGHSPCA provided veterinary attention and assessments when Kataza was looking exhausted and stressed and again after he sustained injuries in dominance fights.
  • The CGHSPCA attempted to resolve the situation by inviting all role players to a meeting however only BoTS and BM attended.
  • CGHSPCA provided daily monitoring of Kataza to form their own, unbiased assessment of his integration process and sought permits from Cape Nature to relocate Kataza to Riverside in the event that this was his only option.
  • Experts from all over the world gave inputs and guidance.
  • Prime Crew’s Luzanne Kratz and the Riverside team of Bob, Lynne and Mias Venter travelled to Cape Town to provide support in areas they felt best able to make change.
  • Thanks to proactive support from Karen De Klerk (Cape Animal Welfare Forum), Mayor Plato and members of Mayco met with CAWF, BoTS, BM and CGHSPCA. At this meeting Mayor Plato directed Aldermen Nieuwoudt to form a task team to resolve on-going baboon management issues.
  • Media coverage was immense and Kataza featured on SABC2, ENCA, radio and newspapers both locally and around the world.

In essence, Kataza created the perfect storm and the combination of Ryno’s court case, the high level meetings and incredible, never waning public attention eventually resulted in the CoCT settling the court case with Ryno and resolving that Kataza should be returned to his Slangkop troop.
At no time did anyone ever forget the very real and unresolved issues of baboon management that urgently need to be reviewed and revised and this has remained our collective goal.

Kataza comes back!

Kataza was returned to his home range on 13 November and made his way across to the troop where he was seen for a short while.

We had so hoped that Kataza would simply re-join the troop however we knew that he would need a settling in period to readjust.  Although Kataza’s offspring had all been killed, he still has family members and bonds within the troop but after Kataza had been away for almost 3 months and he needs time to find peace and settle down. He has been seen in close proximity to the troop on a number of occasions, but has also been spending a lot of time on his own, but at least he is in his home turf and does appear more relaxed.

We have noticed that the service providers (both past and current) made no effort to deter Kataza from entering the urban areas.  When NCC started their contract they were actively making every attempt to keep Kataza out of suburbia, but now that he has been returned it seems that their efforts to deter Kataza  have stopped.  As the service providers follow instruction from the CoCT we can only wonder why they are not providing rangers to encourage Kataza away from human occupied space and back to his troop?   It cannot be about resources and budget as Baboon Matters offered to pay for the services of two off-duty rangers to assist in this re-integration process.  Needless to say, we are all watching closely and hoping for a smooth transition back to the troop.

It is Global Giving Tuesday on 1 December – that means every financial contribution you make to Baboon Matters on 01.12.20 will be matched by Global Giving.

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Changing baboon management

In communities there is more pro-active baboon action than I have ever seen!

In Kommetjie, local resident Mel Gouws quietly got on with the task of baboon proofing bins for her neighbours.  She has been helped by Sally Sivewright and Sam Hodgson and the Chacma Challenge is now underway; a project to get all communities to start active baboon proofing. Each village is encouraged to start baboon proofing and a leaderboard will soon be set up to see which village is being most proactive. Contact Sally Sivewright for all details.

In Simonstown resident Luana Pasanisi of the Green Group had educational signage designed and erected to warn visitors to the area that baboons live near to an increasingly popular hiking trail. Sadly, Luana was made to remove the signage by TMNP who, although they had been liaising with her for 3 years, had given no guidelines or parameters for the signage but objected that it did not comply to their regulations once it was erected.

In Bettys Bay,  it was fantastic to see Bettys Bay Baboon Action Group secure the support of international icons Dr Jane Goodall (who sent two letters) and Sir David Attenborough who are advocating for better baboon management specific to Bettys Bay, but their support is  equally important for all baboons.   

In addition, Dr Anthony Collins(Jane Goodall Institute) supported changing human behaviour as a better management action in his radio interview on Cape Talk. BBBAG are working hard with their municipality to adopt the “Shepherd don’t shoot” approach to baboon management in their area.

During the forthcoming school holidays, Guardians of the Deep (run by Sally Sivewright) is running fun eco-education holiday program for children of areas affected by baboons. Contact Sally for further information about the Chacma Champions via:

Funding SOS! 

After nearly 20 years we are facing closure due to lack of funding!  Please consider making a donation to enable us to continue working for baboons in crisis!

Lobbying and advocacy


In 2019 Baboon Matters and BoTS wrote to all the authorities calling for a workshop to review and revise the current management guidelines and protocols. Our appeal was taken up by Wildlife and Animal Protection Forum SA (WAPFSA) who wrote to Minister Bredel requesting a workshop to address the long standing baboon issues.  

Minister Bredel instructed Cape Nature to host the workshop we attended an initial meeting hosted by Cape Nature on 13 November.  It was disappointing that although the court case had been resolved, the CoCT delegate attending the meeting had been instructed not to participate in the meeting.  It was equally telling that UCT delegates had, apparently,  been advised by UCT not to attend this meeting. 

There appears to have been a pattern over the past few meetings whereby CGHSPCA, BoTS and BM consistently pitch up with willing to resolve matters, whilst key role players opt to not attend or not participate in meetings.

End of year thoughts…

As 2020 draws to a close, we will continue to keep a close eye on Kataza and all of our baboons and continue working with all interested stakeholders to find long term solutions for these persecuted primates.  

Baboon Matters thanks each and every one who has actively supported our hard work over many years and we are grateful that our role as lobbyists and advocates for baboons is providing such high levels of interest in baboons and change in both attitudes and management.

As a tiny NPO Baboon Matters is heavily reliant on public support to help us to help baboons and we are so grateful for the contributions we have received this year and we hope you will continue to support our efforts in 2021!


Have a beautiful Festive season and rest – and continue watching the baboon channels!

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