November 19, 2009

Baboons Still Being Killed in Nature's Valley.

Baboons are allegedly being killed in Nature’s Valley if I am to believe the annual reports that come my way. For the last three years, a resident who prefers to remain anonymous – due to the implications of living in a small seaside village where social and business relationships are integral to one’s daily life – has notified me of these illegal shootings.

When I first tried to expose the shooting of two baboons in Nature’s Valley a couple of years back it was quickly covered up, fobbed off as rumour and forgotten by most. Cape Nature has informed me that to bring these crimes to book I would need evidence; the investigative work is therefore up to the public rather than the authorities. Because the perpetrators get away with it, the shootings have continued; allegedly the alpha male of the Nature’s Valley troop was shot a couple of weeks ago.

Having observed the baboon troops in this area for some years, I am well acquainted with their behaviour. Unlike the Cape Peninsula where baboons and humans have been forced to work out a relationship due to the baboons being cut off by development, our baboons act quite differently and a respect for human boundaries is generally displayed. It is highly unlikely your bag or sandwich would be snatched out of your hand. However on properties where they are used to being fed by hand, they may threaten with the sole purpose being to intimidate you to hand your food over. This is merely a threat, not an “attack”.

I urge Cape Nature to investigate these allegations and ask for proof of these so- called attacks before accepting these invented stories. After all our simian cousins cannot speak up for themselves and are constantly placed on trial with a barrage of mythical crimes leveled against them, their fate almost always resulting in an unfair death penalty.

Rumour has it that baboons have had to be shot in Nature’s Valley as humans were in danger. This amounts to ludicrous fiction – created by those who need to justify their crimes.

As far as dogs are concerned, baboons do not attack dogs unless a troop member is seriously threatened. They know each dog as an individual and are aware of their potential danger to their own species. But mostly our troops are extremely tolerant of dogs, allowing them to chase and provoke provided that is what the dog intends.

Sadly these deaths could have been avoided if Nature’s Valley had dealt with their garbage in a manner that does not attract wildlife for it is known that bad refuse management is the main reason why wildlife is attracted into human areas.

I urge the environmentally caring residents and visitors to Nature’s Valley to expose the perpetrators of these killings, and for Sanparks to erect baboon proof bins at their campsite. Those who are aware of wildlife being harmed in Nature’s Valley should contact the N.S.P.C.A or Cape Nature.

Shooting a raiding baboon has proved again and again to be ineffective against raiding yet it continues. This ensures that troop structures will be severely damaged with long term effects that impact on all related systems.