City calls on Cape residents not to interfere with the baboon SK11, aka Kataza, Newsline

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has called on its residents not to disturb beloved baboon Kataza, who has been relocated from Kommetjie to Tokai.

The call comes after a peaceful protest was held in Tokai on Sunday morning in support of Kataza, who protest organisers said 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 Kataza’s relocation.

Last month, the City removed Kataza from the “Slangkop” troop of baboons that lived in Kommetjie.

“SK11, sometimes referred to as Kataza, the adult male baboon relocated from Kommetjie, spent most of his time with the Tokai troop over the weekend and even slept near the Tokai SANParks offices. The baboon is collared and is being monitored from afar, in accordance with accepted protocols,” the City said.

“According to the latest update, SK11 is in Tokai, behaving like a dispersing adult male baboon and it appears that he is slowly integrating into the Tokai troop.”

The City said that on Tuesday, September 22, SK11 was examined by a veterinarian and behavioural ecologist specialising in primates, who reported that he was in good condition.

“In the mornings, he usually follows the Tokai troop to where they are foraging, keeping on the edge, while observing the troop and making friendly signs like lip smacking and pulling his ears back.

“After a while, curious young baboons approach him with similar friendly lip smacking and greetings. This is normal behaviour for a male baboon joining a troop,” the City said.

“Being accepted can take weeks to months and it is best for SK11 to be left alone and not followed by humans. SK11 needs to interact with other baboons in his own time. This is very important as the current service provider, HWS, is trying to keep him out of the urban area so that he is safe and does not raid.”

The City said SK11 was being harassed by residents who were interfering. Over the weekend, video footage showed people feeding him.

Mayco member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, explained that feeding a wild animal is not only illegal, but detrimental.

“Human-derived food is unhealthy for baboons and will result in an increase in raiding behaviour. As such, we have asked CapeNature to examine the video footage for possible legal action.”

The City of Cape Town has urged the public to leave Kataza alone and not to feed him.

Residents near Tokai Park are advised to follow the guidelines below, should Kataza enter their property:

  • Lock all doors and secure all windows
  • Put away all food sources
  • Identify the baboon’s escape route and make sure that its path is clear
  • Back away slowly if the baboon is near you
  • Keep pets out of the way
  • Contact the Baboon Hotline on 071 588 6540

The City said the Urban Baboon Programme aims:

  • to keep baboons out of urban areas to reduce conflict between humans and baboons;
  • to stop all activities that previously brought people into close contact with baboons;
  • to support the policing and law enforcement of all national, provincial and local laws relating to the protection of wild animals; and
  • to consult regularly with baboon experts.

The City of Cape Town’s Baboon Programme has, since 2006, recorded an increase of 80% in the Cape Peninsula’s baboon population, excluding the troops inside Cape Point National Park.

“This affirms the success of a programme that is being replicated by countries around the world,” the City said.

“The increase in the baboon population affirms the City’s approach in allocating resources to prevent baboons from entering urban areas as far as possible.”

Cape Argus