Towards the end of 2017, in response to our on-going requests for information, we were told that the existing protocol was being reviewed and would be available for public comment in early 2018.
Based on communication between Baboon Matters and the City of Cape Town, we were cautiously optimistic -  the protocol was being reviewed and one of the most pressing, on-going issues (that of waste management) was finally going to be addressed as a critical step in resolving baboon-related conflicts. 
But the start of 2018 seemed eerily like a scene from a “Ground Hog Day” type movie – the scenario where the same situation plays out over and over again until eventually there is understanding and change. 
The year started with Dodger being killed in terms of the protocol, and the response from residents of both Tokai and Capri, where Dodger had been encountered most commonly, was that of fury – how had well intentioned calls to alert the service provider as to Dodger’s whereabouts been turned into “assertive raids” and “complaints” that resulted in the death of this gentle baboon?

Read the full article here 

While Cape Town's Baboon Management structure looks good on paper, it has no legal standing or accountability, and no actual management plan or vision beyond four draft "guidelines" or protocols.  Bad news for our baboons!

After 18 years dedicated solely to the conservation of baboons in South Africa, Baboon Matters is now facing the prospect of having to close its doors in the near future due to a lack of funding.
A bequest by our long-time supporter Joan Wrench in 2015, which has funded us for nearly 3 years, is almost finished, and our financial situation is now critical.  With so many baboons in crisis around the country, there couldn't be a worse time for their voice to be silenced!

This is an urgent appeal to help in any way you can – from nominating us as a beneficiary on the MySchool Program, to making small (or big!) monthly contributions, to putting us in touch with people who you feel may be able to help us continue fighting for the rights of baboons.  Thank you.

On 9th January we heard that 2018’s first victim of Cape Town’s flawed protocol for raiding male baboons had been “removed” – once again highlighting the crisis that our dispersing males face simply by following their genetic imperative to leave their natal troops.  They really are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Dodger was a young dispersing male from the Slangkop troop who first showed up in the Da Gama troop home range in October 2017. Dispersing to new troops is vital to keep troop gene pools strong - even more so on the Peninsula where traditional migration routes on or off the Peninsula have long been cut off by urban sprawl.
His attempts to join the Da Gama troop and oust the current alpha were marked by some typical  fights - in the wild he would have retreated away from the troop to recover  and re-strategise before his next attempt, but in Cape Town, with ever-shrinking natural habitat, the only place he could retreat to was the urban edge. Under normal circumstances this process of joining a new troop can take many months, but our males are simply not given enough time to settle down.
At the beginning of December, he was trapped and we were told he would be tagged and collared and released again, but we subsequently learnt that the authorities had planned euthanise him - it was only because of the concern expressed publicly by many people that he was instead relocated to Tokai.
He never stood a chance there, and it was only a matter of time before his luck ran out. Plucked from familiar territory and placed somewhere completely unknown, he was given less than a month to settle with a new troop. We have heard of males moved from pillar to post and given even less time to settle before being killed.
The Baboon Technical Team, made up of City of Cape Town, SANParks and Cape Nature (our conservation authorities!), has mandated that baboons must be kept away from residents at all costs, even if that cost is the lives of baboons.  We believe that residents are far more tolerant of their baboon neighbors than the authorities give them credit for, and that, like us, they want to see our baboons treated in an ethical way.
The protocol for dealing with these males urgently needs to change.  This systematic removal of dispersing males will have disastrous consequences for the genetic health of our troops. Our repeated requests to see census figures, particularly male vs female and female vs immature ratios, are routinely ignored - these figures are vital to establish whether our troops are indeed as healthy as the authorities would like us to believe.  The City pays for this annual census with ratepayers money, and as such this information must be freely available to the public!

If, like us, you feel that baboon management in Cape Town needs to incorporate ethical treatment of these primates, to focus on managing waste which results in raiding, and not just on keeping baboons away from humans no matter the cost to baboons, please email: 
A 2nd chance for Bibi Baboon
In November 2017 we were contacted by a person outside Cape Town who had removed a juvenile male baboon from someone who was trying to sell him on the side of the road.  The baboon rescue network immediately sprang into action – because there are no rehabs or sanctuaries in the Western Cape, the lovely people at Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E) in Phalaborwa offered him a home, and Cape Nature provided permits for us to transport him out of the Province.
The Baboon Matters team, and little Bibi, set off from Cape Town on a 15 hour car trip to meet C.A.R.E volunteers in Bloemfontein, more than 1000kms away, who would then take this boy to his new home.  In all the many rescues we have carried out, Bibi was by far our best travelling companion – calmly sitting on our laps or our shoulders, fascinated by the passing scenery. 
Once safely at C.A.R.E, Bibi, who was severely malnourished, quickly

began making up for lost time, and his carers couldn’t feed him fast enough!  After an initial settling in period, Bibi was paired with a surrogate mom, an adult female baboon, with whom he immediately bonded, and he is doing beautifully.
We are so grateful to C.A.R.E, and the other primate rehabs and sanctuaries, who give baboons like Bibi a second chance, and who really work at the coal face - daily seeing the devastating results of adult baboons being killed, and leaving traumatized babies behind, orphaned by conflict.

Disastrous consequences of ongoing drought for baboons in N.Cape

After receiving calls in 2017 from subsistence farmers in the Namaqualand area of the Northern Cape, who are reportedly experiencing unprecedented loss of livestock to baboons as a result of the devastating drought in the region, we applied for, and received, a small grant from the IPL Jacobsen Trust to visit the area.
Since large-scale predation by baboons has been virtually unheard of before now, we engaged with organisations involved in predator management such as the Predator Management Forum, the Green Dogs Anatolian Breeding Program,  the Cape leopard Trust and Conservation South Africa, to get a better understanding of what solutions might assist these farmers. 
In September 2017 we held three workshops with both subsistence and commercial farmers to better understand their problems and offer potential solutions, which included the use of Anatolian dogs to guard herds, more effective use of human

herders, the potential use of drone technology to monitor vast grazing lands, as well as simple deterrents such as lids for water tanks to prevent baboons falling in, drowning, and contaminating water supplies.

With no end in sight to the drought, we are currently applying for funding that will allow us to return to the area for an intensive, 3 month outreach project, to provide further assistance for these farmers and assist with implementing some of the proposed solutions.

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Baboon Matters · PO Box 48189 · Kommetjie · Cape Town, Wc 7976 · South Africa

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