Cape Town – The City of Cape Town says it will review the terms and conditions of its Urban Baboon Programme contract with NCC Environmental Services following its decision to withdraw the use of paintball guns as a means of deterring the animals from entering urban areas.
The decision follows the National Council of SPCAs’ withdrawal of its approval of paintball markers as a scientifically proven and humane aversion tool.
The City warned residents and business owners adjacent to the baboon’s natural habitat that baboons would frequent their areas more often than before.
Mayco Member for Spatial Planning and Environment Marian Nieuwoudt said the withdrawal of paintball markers as an aversion tool would have an impact on the properties and lifestyle of residents living in areas close to baboons’ natural habitat.
She said the City also has to consider withdrawing the baboon rangers from these areas given that there are no alternative tools available to them to keep baboons out of the urban environment.
Baboon Matters said residents who shot baboons with pellet guns, paintball markers or catapults were never prosecuted for hurting or killing baboons. It said this did not solve the problem or stopped baboons coming for easy food rewards but increased stress and injuries among the troops and exacerbated management.
Baboons of the South said the City should have taken the high road and tried to broker a meeting with the NSPCA prior to taking the hasty decision to withdraw the use of paintball markers in the field.
“Dialogue is the best way to solve problems. Every effort could have been put into more training for the rangers or a mentor in the field with the rangers to assist and monitor the ethical use of the paintball markers as a temporary measure while alternative measures were being considered” it said.
Responding to the City’s decision, NSPCA said it did not state that the rangers must be removed, nor did it force or instruct the City to prohibit the use of paintball marking. The NSPCA said it will not take responsibility for any “shirked duties” on behalf of the City as a result of their decisions.
NSPCA recommended to the City that a panel be formed to come up with humane solutions that would protect both residents and baboons.
However, it said it was not aware of any initiatives taken by the City to start forming of a panel nor whether the City had contacted SANParks to assist with formulating the panel.