Kataza, the well-known baboon from the Kommetjie area has been missing since Tuesday, August 25 and residents were outraged that he might have been euthanised or taken by the City’s baboon management team. The feisty baboon has been known to cause the Human and Wildlife Solutions team trouble because of his ability to push passed the line of rangers while leading his troop, according to the City.
In actual fact, he was moved to Tokai to reduce dispersing of the troop from Slangkop to Kommetjie. Another reason behind the relocation is better breeding opportunities for Kataza in the Tokai area, says the City.
A campaign called #bringkatazaback has been started to ensure his safe return.
Kommetjie resident Odette Howell says the City and how they treat the baboons is to blame.
“The monitors tell us they act on orders from their managers. The baboons will peacefully be foraging on Slangkop when the monitors start shooting and moving them along… This is how they end up in the village, dispersed as a group. Whenever I’ve seen them come into the village by themselves they always came as one group, not dispersed. I’m sure you also know by now that the baboons have been in the village since they moved Kataza, and even slept here one night, so he was not the guy leading them here,” says Howell.
She added that Kataza is not part of the troublesome troop.
“I’ve never seen Kataza there, but for sure the rest of the troop, so why is he being singled out? Why is HWS and City of Cape Town not following up with the people who complain about the raiding to make sure they comply? I’m sure some people are even feeding them…. Why have I never had any issues with the baboons in my garden, they have never broken anything, they come and move through the property peacefully,” said Howell.
City spokesperson Kay Montgomery confirmed that Kataza was temporarily removed from the area and this aided in making the troop more manageable and keep them out of Kommetjie. Residents said the troop still made their way into Kommetjie despite Kataza’s absence.
“As the SPCA we would welcome humane alternatives, such as relocation, as opposed to the premature euthanasia of raiding baboon(s) provided that it complies with relevant legislation and that the management had the best interest of the baboon(s) in mind when this decision was made. We are not of the opinion that the baboon was abandoned or dumped, but rather that he was provided an opportunity to adapt to a new environment and troop in the hopes of eliminating dispersing/raiding behaviour,” says SPCA inspector Lizl Pienaar.
Residents want Kataza to return home, a campaign to #bringkatazaback has been started by the community. Non profit organisation Baboon Matters Trust confirmed that Kataza is in Tokai over the weekend.
“Today we caught up with this poor lad in the suburbs of Tokai, he was looking distressed and anxious – why was he even there? We are told he was a “raider” – but he was no worse than any other baboon in his troop. The troop have been in Kommetjie one night and two days since Kataza was taken – so what did removing him prove,”said the organisation on their Facebook page.
They have also challenged the claims of “inbreeding” saying that if it was such a big concern, the officials wouldn’t have killed 80 breading adults over the past eight years with little consideration for breeding.
“The way to solve the problem would be to bring new males into the population – not shuffle the existing males around,” concluded the organisation.