Scarface was “killed” on Saturday. Picture: Pete Oxford
Scarface was “killed” on Saturday. Picture: Pete Oxford

Reprieved baboon Scarface put down after relocation arrangements fall flat

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Sep 20, 2021

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Cape Town - Conservation groups and activists are up in arms over yet another “killing” of a baboon from the Betty’s Bay troop by Human Wildlife Solution (HWS) and the Overberg Municipality on Saturday.

“Scarface” was allegedly recommended for relocation to a rehabilitation centre in Limpopo and had been given a reprieve by municipal manager Dean O’Neill.

Zoologist and Betty’s Bays resident Pete Oxford said HWS filed an incident report on Scarface but after a baboon task team meeting on July 13 he was given a reprieve from execution. Oxford said Scarface’s death could have been avoided if logistics for his relocation before capture were in place.

“When Scarface was caught, no one came to pick him up, no paperwork to translocate was in order, there was no adequate holding facility, nobody had made arrangements with Prime Crew, so they killed him.

“If he was to be relocated, he should not have been caught until all the logistics were in place. The order was given to capture, not kill. Before he walked into that cage the capture should have been aborted for however long it would have taken to get everything in place for his relocation,” he said.

EMS Foundation executive director Michele Pickover expressed her frustration with what she said was the unsuccessful management of baboons in the Western Cape, reiterating that the provincial government at its peril had failed to engage with the organisations that were involved with the protection of baboons.

“Cape Nature is the regulatory authority in the province for the issuing of hunting permits to kill baboons. Scarface is yet another casualty of their unsuccessful management and protection strategy,” said Pickover.

Beauty Without Cruelty founder Toni Brockhoven said the future, for the benefit of baboons and human residents of the Overstrand area, must be focused on waste management and human behaviour.

Brockhoven said it was always the baboons that paid the price of residents’ apathy, laziness and disrespect for the environment and wildlife.

“We have to take responsibility and act accordingly, especially as we are encroaching ever more in their territory,” she said.

HWS project manager Philip Richardson referred questions to the municipality.

In a statement, O’Neill said Scarface was classified as a DCB Category 3, a baboon that entered the urban area and involved in raiding people directly to obtain human derived food.

O’Neill said the Overstrand baboon management joint task team meeting discussed the case history of recorded incidents of Scarface from April 19 until July 31 this year, also taking into consideration Dr Dave Gaynors report from his assessment during July .

He said during this period the baboon had 94 incidents. O’Neill said the interest, safety and welfare of the Betty’s Bay/Kleinmond troop, residents’ safety and the risk of Scarface being injured or killed through inhumane methods was also considered.

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