New baboon management elected

* Kataza the baboon is still not home.

The City of Cape Town has appointed a new baboon-management contractor. Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) will end its services on Wednesday September 30, and the new contractor, NCC Environmental Services, will take over from Thursday October 1. 

Kay Montgommery, the spokeswoman for the City of Cape Town’s Baboon Technical Team (BTT), said NCC, which has held the tender previously, was officially appointed on Tuesday. 
Ms Montgommery said NCC had won the 2020 – 2023 baboon management tender in March of this year, but HWS had appealed the decision. Its appeal had been unsuccessful. 
The BTT, with input from CapeNature, SANParks, UCT and the SPCA, advises the City on decisions impacting baboons living near people. 
Meanwhile, the “Bring Kataza home” saga has grown legs. 
The adult male baboon was relocated at the end of August because he had created a splinter group of seven females, all related to him, which he was leading on raids into Kommetjie. 
On Wednesday last week, baboon activist Jenni Trethowan was lauded on social media by some for “walking Kataza home”. 
A video posted across certain social media sites allegedly shows Ms Trethowan with Kataza in tow, walking from the Zwaanswyk troop in Tokai, across the mountain back to the Slangkop troop. 
Despite being approached for comment on three different occasions over the span of a week, Ms Trethowan only asked which paper the questions were for and then said her response was slow because she had contracted tick-bite fever. 
By the time of going to print, Ms Trethowan had neither confirmed nor denied that she had walked Kataza away from the new troop, nor had she addressed questions pertaining to by-laws she would have broken if in fact she had led the baboon away from where he had officially been placed or for allegedly feeding the animal. 
Ms Montgommery said SK11 (The baboon activists call Kataza) had since returned to the Zwaanswyk troop and was being accepted by it. 
She said the public was not to interfere with the animal’s chances of successful relocation. 
Residents who harassed, fed and tracked the baboon were breaking the law, she said. 
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA said in a statement on its website that it had not been notified about the relocation of the baboon, but it welcomed relocation as a humane alternative to euthanising a healthy animal, as long as it was legal and in the best interests of the animal. 
In a later statement, on Tuesday, the SPCA said it was disappointed that only Baboons of the South and Baboon Matters Trust had attended a meeting it had called to discuss SK11, although the City, Cape Nature and HWS had sent their apologies. 
The only alternative to letting SK11 integrate into the new troop was euthanasia, the SPCA said, adding that it was opposed to euthanising the baboon. Integration of wild animals took time and could fail if it was interrupted, it said. “We acknowledge and appreciate the fact that the members of the public mean well, but we need to do what is right in this instance and avoid any complications for the integration,” the SPCA said.