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Juvenile baboon killed with pellet gun <p>Keeping baboons out of urban areas reduces their risk of death and injury by other human induced means, such as car accidents, or unlawful killings, and attacks by dogs. </p><p>The latest killing of a juvenile male baboon from the Waterfall Troop is a case in point.</p><p>‘The City asserts that baboons must remain in their natural habitat as far as possible. Seeing that the NSPCA does not recommend alternative aversion tools that are proven to be effective, it is unclear how baboons can be encouraged not to enter urban areas in future,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.</p><p>Killing of the juvenile baboon:<br>The juvenile male baboon was found dead in a garden of a resident in Simon’s Town on Thursday, 6 May 2021. </p><p>The body was sent away for an autopsy by a veterinarian who confirmed the cause of death was a pellet wound to the chest.</p><p>The pellet retrieved from the body suggests that the wound was inflicted by a low-velocity air-powered gun (pellet gun).</p><p>According to the Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 19 of 1794, the hunting of baboons without a permit is illegal and can result in imprisonment. However, in order for prosecution to occur, a witness statement and or evidence of the event is required. </p><p>‘We are very concerned and appalled about this incident. I encourage eye witnesses or anyone with knowledge about this incident to please contact CapeNature’s Conservation Services on 082 773 4278,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.</p><p>The NSPCA’s decision:<br>The NSPCA’s announcement of the withdrawal of their support for the use of paintball markers as a scientifically proven and humane aversion tool in keeping baboons out of the urban areas in a media release this morning, 12 May 2021, came as a surprise to the City.</p><p>On 29 April 2021, the City requested clarity about the NSPCA’s decision on the use of paintball markers and the reasons for this decision, but neither has been provided to date.</p><p>The NSPCA’s decision places the City and other stakeholders in a difficult position. </p><p>The City’s Urban Baboon Programme is undertaken in terms of a three-year contract aligned to the various permits and approvals, which were issued by relevant authorities, and with the support from the NSPCA, for the humane use of paintball markers.</p><p>To date, the Programme included the using of paintball markers as an aversion tool, in combination with other efforts among which: education around waste management and limiting food attractants, the enclosure of vegetable gardens and composting areas, and the baboon proofing of residences. These efforts have contributed to the success of the Urban Baboon Programme for nearly 10 years.</p><p>Paintball markers are also known to be used illegally by private landowners and residents as an aversion tool. </p><p>The NSPCA has not engaged the City or other stakeholders to review whether the use of paintball markers is humane, or to evaluate the effectiveness of alternatives. </p><p>The use of paintball markers by the City’s service provider is strictly controlled in terms of the training and the operating procedures of baboon rangers, and in terms of a permit to do so issued by CapeNature. </p><p>The NSPCA’s decision will have an impact on the terms and conditions of the City’s contract with the service provider. The contract will have to be reviewed in order for the City to comply. </p><p>‘The City will also have to inform residents living in areas close to baboons’ natural habitat of the impact this decision will have on their properties and lifestyle. Furthermore, we now have to consider withdrawing the baboon rangers from the areas adjacent to the baboon troops’ natural habitat as there are no alternative tools available to them to keep baboons out of the urban environment. This would unfortunately result in more baboon deaths due to unlawful killing. </p><p>‘We will, however, continue with the education and waste management aspects of the Urban Baboon Programme,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.</p><p>The way forward:<br>The City wants to reiterate that the urban area is not safe for baboons. The killing of the juvenile by a pellet gun last week is a clear example of the dangers baboons are exposed to in residential areas.</p><p>Prior to the introduction of aversion techniques, the unlawful killing of baboons by residents was a common cause of baboon deaths and a declining baboon population. </p><p>The NSPCA admits there are no comparable alternatives to the use of paintball markers.</p><p>The City has never threatened the NSPCA with legal action, but in fact advised the NSPCA that the organisation is at risk of litigation as a consequence of not consulting stakeholders prior to their decision. Stakeholders include not only the City of Cape Town, but business owners and residents as well.</p><p>As for the NSPCA’s call for the City to set up a panel to discuss the ‘management of baboons in the Cape Peninsula’, the City wants to reiterate that this would be for the Provincial Government and SANParks to undertake as conservation falls within their mandate and functions, and not local government.</p><p>The NSPCA as an organisation concerned with animal welfare also has the statutory duty to assist, or lead such a consultative process on the management of baboons.</p><p>‘The City’s Urban Baboon Programme is focusing on keeping baboons out of urban areas for the benefit and safety of both baboons and residents. We have contributed more staff, resources and funding to the Peninsula baboons than any other organ of state or agency such as the NSPCA, since the programme has been implemented in 2009.</p><p>‘Since the implementation of the Programme the number of baboons living on the Cape Peninsula has increased year-on-year, from about 350 in 2009 to over 430 today. The increased baboon population on the Cape Peninsula indicates a healthy population growth, also because the troops have no natural enemies. However, it also places pressure on urban areas that are in close proximity to baboons’ natural habitat and on baboon troops alike,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.</p>2021-05-11T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#cb9c09b9-5d09-499e-9b8d-44931f15c0c8;L0|#0cb9c09b9-5d09-499e-9b8d-44931f15c0c8|baboon management programme;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb10

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