The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has appealed to the public for information on the tragic attack of Kommetjie baboon Tabitha, who was hit with a pellet gun and later euthanised on account of the painful injuries she sustained.
They were reportedly notified on Thursday that Tabitha was found sitting against a fence and foaming at the mouth. She was sedated and examined after the organisation brought her to the animal hospital.
“Our veterinarian found Tabitha to be ‘severely collapsed and non-responsive and her mucous membranes were slightly cyanotic’,” the SPCA said.
According to IOL, the veterinarian discovered a puncture wound on the right side of her abdomen which he suspected to have punctured her abdominal cavity. Fatty tissue could be seen on the outside while a finger could pass through the hole with ease, which confirmed the suspicion.
After x-rays were taken, the results showed that four pellets from a pellet gun had dispersed throughout her body, with evident signs of free air in her abdominal cavity, as reported by the SPCA. It was suspected that Tabitha had developed peritonitis, which refers to an infection of the abdominal cavity that was likely caused by the penetration of the pellet fired from the pellet gun.
A decision was made to humanely euthanise Tabitha to avoid prolonged suffering as a result of her poor prognosis.
According to the organisation, head Veterinarian Dr Esté Spies said:
“Unfortunately almost all the baboons that we x-ray have multiple pellets in different areas of the body, some of them have been there for a very long time and the entry wounds and associated damage has already healed.
“This is a sad finding on most baboons we radiograph because it just shows you the amount of persecution these animals face in their daily lives, due to increasing human-wildlife conflict. The shot itself is very painful and the wounds can become infected.
“The pellets can also cause major suffering, either in the short or long-term, depending on the amount of damage they cause and if they penetrate a vital organ eg. spine, artery, abdominal organ (intestine/stomach as in this case) or heart or lungs.”
The organisation appeals to anyone with information on Tabitha’s case or who wishes to report instances where baboons are mishandled by anonymously calling 0217004158/9 during office hours or 0833261604 after hours. Alternatively, you can report animal cruelty by emailing [email protected].