Cape Town – Calls are mounting for a serious review of the City’s baboon management protocols following its about-turn to return beloved Kommetjie baboon Kataza back to his original Slangkop troop as soon as practically possible.
Kataza was controversially relocated to join the Zwaanswyk troop in Tokai on August 26 after he was said to have begun to inbreed, causing the troop to splinter and so compromising the welfare of all members.
But animal rights organisations decried the move as Kataza was pictured wandering the suburbs of Tokai and fighting with members of the new troop as he tried to integrate.
In October, insolvency practitioner Ryno Engelbrecht filed an application with the Western Cape High Court to have the relocation reviewed.
At the weekend, the City said the return of Kataza to his natal Slangkop troop followed detailed monitoring of the situation by the City and many others over the past 10 weeks.
The City said his return would be done in accordance with the approved guidelines for baboon management, CapeNature. It said an independent animal welfare organisation will be requested to monitor his capture and release. Once he has been captured, all forms of artificial identification will be removed.
“Upon his release, Kataza’s previous raiding record will not be considered in future decisions. This is in an effort to give him a fair chance to adjust to his natal home range, namely the surrounding mountains in the Kommetjie area,” the City said.
Engelbrecht said his application would be withdrawn once Kataza was back home. He called for baboon management protocols to be revisited and reviewed.
“The biggest problem that we have is waste management. We have baboons going into towns for an easy meal, and that’s specifically to raid places and factories. Until such time as there is a decent baboon by-law written and dealing with baboon management, and penalties in terms of people not looking after their waste. And if people are not looking after their waste, we are going to have these problems,” Engelbrecht said.
Ward 71 activist and deputy branch chairperson Carolynne Franklin said the current baboon management protocols were outdated and barbaric.
“Mothers and babies are paintballed awake from their sleeping sites in the morning.
“In Scarborough, troops are pushed on to rocky cliffs, away from water,
“It certainly appears that there is an urgent need for a relook at the current protocols and accountability with regards to the service providers who are tasked by the City to carry out these protocols,” Franklin said.
Baboon matters founder, Jenni Trethowan said: “We are all absolutely delighted that the City has decided to return Kataza to Slangkop.
“It has been a mammoth team effort and we just never gave up. We hope that the Baboon Technical Team (BTT) now put all focus on making needed changes to baboon management.”
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is meanwhile proposing Kataza be relocated to a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Limpopo.