Cape Town – A silent protest was held in Tokai on Sunday morning in support of Kataza, the relocated baboon, who protest organisers say now represents the mistreatment of all baboons in the Cape.
Groups of people and organisations gathered in Tokai after they received disappointing feedback from the City about the relocation of Kataza. Last month, the City removed Kataza from the “Slangkop” troop of baboons that lived in Kommetjie.
Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute director Francesca de Gasparis said: “The City is not being transparent about Kataza and is not ensuring public consultation. There is a separation of communities from wildlife.
“The HWS (Human Wildlife Solutions) management team at the City have admitted that the public is not informed about the decisions made for baboons because of the concern about protests taking place.
“Most citizen scientists are committed and engaged because they understand baboons’ needs and how their troops work.
“Activists have been supporting Kataza’s safety and he is really the tip of the iceberg, which shows very clearly how the management of baboons on the Cape Peninsula is not working.”
De Gasparis said the City’s management of baboons did not work because of a lack of consultation with residents
“It’s more a consolidation of power and citizens are being belittled.
“It’s also said by those looking out for Kataza that he is having minimal interaction and proximity with the baboons in the new troop.
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) regional director Neil Greenwood said: “Chacma baboons are highly intelligent and social creatures. This baboon will not thrive and will be suffering extreme distress and loneliness after officials literally dumped him to fend for himself in a new and unfamiliar environment. He needs to be returned to his troop.”
Greenwood said the City and its baboon management contractor, HWS, seemed to have given no thought to their actions and did what was expedient and quick. “Recognising that Cape Town is unique in that many of its urban areas border a protected landscape and live daily alongside wildlife, the City needs to employ best practices and the most modern thinking in its approach to managing the relationship between both its human and wildlife residences,” he said.
Baboon Matters founder Jenni Trethowan said they would not stop campaigning for Kataza “because Kataza represents all baboons.”