Sat, 31 Oct 2020

While the dispute over Kataza rages on between the City of Cape Town and animal rights activists, the City is now being accused of suppressing information about the baboon management operation to prevent criticism and protests against the operation.

But the metro says some of its critics are pushing their "own agenda".

Sources tell News24 that members of the Council Appointed Representative Baboons South (CARBS) committee, appointed by ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock, are being denied information about the City's baboon management operation, yet are expected to be a conduit of information between residents, the City and the service provider.

Two members confirmed that they had been instructed not to talk to the media.

One member, who insisted on anonymity for fear of recrimination said:

The whole thing is a big joke. It's as if they only want us on the committee to say they have community representatives, but the communication is one-sided. We're not allowed to communicate with rangers or HWS [Human Wildlife Solutions] and they treat us with contempt if we question anything. We get the monthly report two months later, which is too late for us to act on anything. They also want to blame us for 'not educating the community'.

They say they are condescendingly dismissed as "activists", as if their activism discredits their opinions and that their challenges to the science, methods and data are being suppressed to prevent public opposition and protest.

Blyth said Richardson admitted the baboons in Kommetjie consciously broke the line of rangers while being paintballed.

She said: "The baboons accept the aversive stimuli, because the attractants in the village are more compelling. This is an admission the aversive stimuli is not effective."

Richardson claimed that "bad baboons train new bad baboons. They need to be removed before they train other baboons to raid".

"Ultimately", Blyth said, "the only thing left is for HWS to motivate and submit applications to euthanise the 'problem' baboon, but in effect they are punishing the baboons for their own failures. The City would thus continue to cull and remove every 'problem' baboon... and the end result would be no baboons on the Cape Peninsula."

The City claimed the "tactics have remained constant since 2012" and that the baboon population has in fact grown in the past eight years of aversive management.

While the fight over Kataza rages on, a new contract has been awarded to Nature Conservation Consultants (NCC), which lost the contract to HWS eight years ago. Lyndon Rhoda confirmed that NCC would be meeting with City officials soon "to sign the contract and to discuss the protocols".

He added that they were also hoping to meet all the role players.

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