Maverick Citizen

Letter to the Editor

Monkey business at play in quarrel over death of Philemon and baboon culling

Philemon (Photo: Anya Adendorff)

Stakeholder infighting and gatekeeping by City of Cape Town appear to be the unspoken barriers to adequate baboon conservation and wildlife management.

Regarding the CARBS meeting referred to by Alderman Felicity Purchase in her response to Taryn Blyth’s letter to the Daily Maverick:

The death of Philemon: My response as a Councillor Appointed Representative for Baboons

I attended the meeting in person as a Councillor Appointed Representative for Baboons – at the time I believed I was the only rep for the Smitswinkel Troop of Baboons, which covers the area from Murdoch Valley through to Smitswinkel Bay, and did not know that Mike Gibson had been invited to take on this role in Murdoch Valley as well. Mr Gibson only came into the meeting via Zoom, once the meeting was already wrapping up due to his own technical issues, but he was still permitted to speak. After Mr Gibson’s call for more serious action to be taken against the Smits Troop, even if this resulted in baboons having to be killed, I was extremely distressed and attempted to respond to what Mr Gibson had said because I did not support his views and felt they were not accurate. 

I was told, in a message sent directly to me, by Purchase to rather keep quiet so as not to spur Mr Gibson on. Due to this and the response Purchase herself gave at that point in the meeting, highlighting the fact that if the baboons were entering the urban area, there was likely a reason for this behaviour (fruit trees, unprotected veggie gardens or unsecured waste) and that this would need to be addressed rather than any thought of even considering the removal of any baboons, I was persuaded not to speak.  

NCC Environmental Services, who are employed to manage the baboons, were also not given an opportunity to present their report to the meeting. At this point, the meeting moved on and shortly thereafter, was brought to a close. I feel that we were actively discouraged from responding to Mr Gibson and every effort was made to close the meeting quickly and not return to that subject again. It is therefore not accurate for Purchase to say in her response that we had every opportunity to engage and respond on this matter. DM/MC 

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