Overstrand Baboon Management Programme: Current reality

Overstrand Baboon Management Programme: Current reality

The Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie, supported by Cllr Clinton Lerm as chairperson of the Investment and Infrastructure Portfolio Committee and the ward councillors of Ward 9 and 10 met with the Municipal Manager Dean O’Neill, Director of Infrastructure and Planning Stephen Muller and Senior Manager of Environmental Management Services, Liezl de Villiers, to discuss the current realities of the Baboon Management Program (BMP).

This meeting was called for after the consistent and relentless negative sentiments of a number of individuals and organisations towards the Municipality in this regard since the Mayor took office in November 2021.

It was also noted that the agreement with the current service provider to manage the Baboon Programme in towns in the Overstrand, Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS), will lapse at end of June 2023 and the assignment of the function for baboon management from the Provincial Government will expire in 2024. Thus Council need to consider the future of the program sooner rather than later to ensure continued services after the expiry of the above dates.

There was agreement that consultations be held with the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, Cape Nature and the Overstrand Municipality to discuss and agree on the future of the program.

Another issue that was deliberated on and must receive immediate attention is the update and revision of the BMP taking into account the most current research on baboons.

It must also clarify the roles of the Baboon Liaison Groups (BLG) and the restructuring thereof to find space within the ward committees. By doing the latter, any issues discussed relating to baboons within a ward committee will be forwarded to the relevant Portfolio Committee and from there to the Mayoral Committee, and eventually being included into a Council agenda. This is currently not the case as the BLG’S are not a formal legislated committee.

The Municipality – it’s Council and officials – have been and are confronted on a daily basis with slanderous and unfounded comments from various individuals about the management of baboons in the Overstrand. This is unacceptable and simply demoralising as Overstrand Municipality is aware that there are a number of individuals who, in some areas, actively feed baboons and interfere with their management, including coaxing and keeping them inside of the urban areas.

The latter behaviour leads to the habituation of individual baboons and eventually troops, increasing the animal/human interface leading to the maiming and even killing of baboons. Our request is then that residents refrain from feeding baboons, manage their gardens in such a way that potential food is not available, practice baboon safe waste management, baboon-proof their homes and not unnecessarily interfere with the work of the baboon monitors.

Baboons are clever and opportunistic animals always looking for an easy meal, but feeding them limits their ability to survive in the wild and is also a criminal offence, thus the plea for not feeding them.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank those residents who manage their waste properly and those supporting the management program.

Further updates will be provided as new information becomes available.

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