Various animal protection advocacy groups have opposed the approval of hunting permits granted to two prominent Constantia farmers after a total of seven baboons were killed.
Farmers in Constantia were granted these permits in an effort to deter baboons from causing further damage, as the raiding of resources has proven to be a major problem in the area.
Speaking to iOL, CapeNature – the Western Cape’s wildlife authority – said that the permits were granted on the basis that the motivation for obtaining the said permits are valid, and is a last resort in the effort to mitigate conflict between humans and animals.
“The applicants were able to prove that they have implemented multiple non-lethal mitigation measures over a number of years to try to prevent the continued damage to vineyards and infrastructure without success, and experienced extensive losses, CapeNature said.
The permits are valid for one year only, and are effective from October 2017 to October 2018.
Spokesperson for Baboon Matters, Jenni Trethowan, said that the organization is opposed to this lethal manner of baboon management. She also questioned as to why non-lethal methods were not sufficient for these two farms when they have worked for other parts of Cape Town.
“It would be interesting to understand why an electric fence, for example, failed in the vineyards, yet has proved hugely successful in Zwaanswyk,” she said. “We believe that there are a variety of options that could be explored, but it is also very important to understand what has caused the increase in raids to the vineyards to a point where they felt they had no other options.”
Trethowan also suggested that the mountain fire of 2015 may have had a hand to play in the increase in baboon raids to areas where food and water is more readily available.
Professor Justin O’Riain, director for the University of Cape Town’s Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa, said that because the vineyards in Cape Town fall outside the urban edge, they are not protected by the city’s field rangers.
“The farmers have thus had to employ their own field rangers, and they have also invested heavily in electric fencing along their borders with Table Mountain National Park,” O’Riain said. “They have tried unsuccessfully to thwart baboons from their crops for many years,” he said, adding that apart from killing the baboons, farmers might have to add a wildlife levy of their products to ensure they can increase their contribution to non-lethal costs.”