Members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum of South Africa have written to Minister Bredell and Dr Ernst Baard requesting the inclusion of such members in the decision making process of the drafting of the new policy for the management and protection of baboons in the Cape Peninsula.
Excerpts from the letter dated Tuesday 24th August 2021:
The members of WAPFSA would, once again, like to formally express their insistence with regard to being involved and consulted with, as a wildlife welfare and protection sector, during the planning process of the new proposed Baboon Management Policy for the Cape Peninsula.
We have been led to believe from media reports that such guidelines are being reviewed under the guidance of Cape Nature, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA and other stakeholders.
WAPFSA has, on multiple occasions, formally indicated that citizens in the Cape Peninsula need new legislation and by-laws rather than guidelines.
WAPFSA is hereby requesting to be kept informed on the exact processes and timeline of consultations. In addition, we believe that consultation with our sector should occur prior to any proposed amendments to the management policy are considered and not after.
WAPFSA members believe that the suggestion of attending workshops to review the new guidelines and protocols once these are formulated is not acceptable.
WAPFSA members have a historic interest in the management and protection of Chacma Baboons in the Cape Peninsula.
WAPFSA members, with their vast and varied experience in wildlife conservation, wildlife welfare and constitutional and environmental law have been included in decision making processes at national level, and therefore as a sector deserve to be consulted.
On the 28th July 2021 members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum of South Africa submitted their comments on the Draft Policy Position (published in Government Gazette no. 44776 of 28th June 2021) on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.
“WAPFSA members support a Draft Policy Position with a broad vision of “secured, restored and re-wilded natural landscapes with thriving populations of elephant, lion, rhino and leopard as indicators for a vibrant, responsible, inclusive, transformed and sustainable wildlife sectors and an equitable society living in harmony with natural resources” which we intend as Nature.”
WAPFSA members are also in support of and endorse the individual in-depth submissions made by:
On the 2nd of May 2021 Minister Creecy released and published the High-Level Panel report which reviewed the policies and regulations on hunting, trade, captive management and handling of elephant, lion, leopard, and rhinos.
The appointment of this panel was a direct result of the Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding which was held in August 2018. A number of organisations gave evidence to the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs who requested that the Department of Environmental Affairs initiate a policy and legislative review. The DEA decided to include a number of other burning issues related to other iconic species. Minister Creecy established the High-Level Panel on the 10th of October 2019.
Minister Creecy stated: There are key recommendations to reposition and organise protected areas, simplify and make more effective legislative and administrative processes as well as to improve cooperative governance. The Department will initiate processes to resolve these.
Transformation of the sector will be prioritised, in terms of improved inclusion of marginalised groups, especially communities living with or adjacent to these species, and the in the role and influence of traditional leaders and healers in the wildlife sector.
As indicated in the report, there have been a range of processes over the years that have not been properly implemented, and have resulted in the compromised position that the sector is in. This time I intend that we will act differently. I have instructed the Department to develop an implementation plan for the recommendations.
Work has already begun on a draft Policy Position that covers key policy implications of the recommendations, which will shortly be published for public participation. The Department is also initiating a process to develop a draft White Paper on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable use for consultation. The more administrative process required by the recommendations are all being taken up the Department, and I have emphasised to all the Department that the need for full consultation with both the public and as well as with colleagues in government.
Apart from releasing the report of the Panel today, we are also putting in place a programme of stakeholder feedback session to give feedback on the findings and recommendations to those stakeholders who made submissions and also those with an interest in the Panel’s work.
A number of Members of WAPFSA played an important role and gave evidence in Parliament at the aforementioned Colloquium held in 2018. A number of Members of WAPFSA made written submissions to the High-Level Panel, a number of Members of WAPFSA made oral submissions to the High-Level Panel and some Members were quoted in the Report.
Despite the Minister’s assurances for a transparent and inclusive participation process for the development of such policies, the Department has included only two members from WAPFSA who have been invited to attend a called: Workshop on Reimagining Protected Areas and Transformation on the Biodiversity Sector.
Not a single Member of WAPFSA was asked to make a presentation at this workshop, even though some were identified by the Department as being critical stakeholders in this important area of work.
Members of WAPFSA have written to the office of the Director General of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to ask for clarity on this subject matter but have to date have received no response.
As a result Members of WAPFSA have written to Minister Creecy today asking for an urgent explanation.
His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Honourable Minister Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environmet, Honourable Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize, Minister of Health, Honourable Minster Minister of Employment and Labour, Honourable Minister Thokozile Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Developement (DALRRD), Honourable Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi- NgubaneMinister of Tourism, CEO, South African Human Rights Commission, Adv. Tseliso Thipanyane, Secretary General, Congress of South African Trade Unions, Bheki Ntshalintshali, Director, Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga, CITES Secretariat
21ST APRIL 2021
HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS IN THE CAPTIVE BIG CAT INDUSTRY IN SOUTH AFRICA
The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) is an alliance of diverse South African based organisations that share certain values, knowledge and objectives and that collectively comprise a body of expertise from scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, rights, social and climate justice, indigenous paradigm and public advocacy sectors.
WAPFSA would like to bring to your attention a Report entitled The Vicious Cycle and published by one of our members, Four Paws.
The Vicious Cycle reveals human rights concerns within South Africa’s captive big cat sector. This industry utilises captive big cats for interactions with humans, trophy hunting and the export lion bone trade to Asia.
The Four Paws report highlights the immense suffering of these big cats, showcasing the poor hygiene protocols that are in place at these breeding facilities. Whilst there have been other reports published about this controversial and exploitative industry, Four Paws has specifically highlighted the conditions that the workers in this largely unregulated industry are subjected too.
In light of this report, the undersigned members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum are calling for a Presidential investigation into all aspects of South Africa’s captive big cat industry.
WAPFSA OFFICIAL OPEN LETTER TO NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SPCAs
Mr Douglas Wolhuter, Manager, Wildlife Protection Unit
Meg Wilson, Public Relations
Tuesday 6th April 2021
On the 30th of March 2021 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife published the following statement on social media:
On Monday, 29th March 2021 various divisions of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo), working together with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) successfully seized close to 100 Vervet Monkeys that were illegally kept in Umsizi Umkomaas Vervet Monkey Rescue Centre. The Owner was charged with breaking two sections of Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974. The two sections that she failed to adhere to are: • Section 80 (1) of the Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974 which states that “No person shall keep in captivity any indigenous mammal or exotic mammal, except in terms of a permit granted under subsection 2 of section 84 and in accordance with the conditions, if any, imposed under subsection (3) of that section.” • Section 213 (4B) which states that “ Any person who fails to comply with any lawful demand made by any Officer or honorary Officer under this Ordinance, or wilfully gives any false or misleading information in pursuance of such demand shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred rand, or in default payment, to imprisonment for any term exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment. The owner of Umsizi Vervet Monkeys Rescue Centre had been given 21 days’ notice on 4th February 2021 to remove the monkeys. She was charged yesterday and was given a R1500 fine. All vervet monkeys removed by Ezemvelo Game Capture Unit will be disposed of in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Guidelines for the Placement of Confiscated Animals. These guidelines include • returning confiscated animals to the wild; • returning confiscated animals in captivity and • Euthanasia. The Consulting team that assisted in confiscating all monkeys, first walked around the property viewing all occupied outdoor enclosures which each housed between 5 to approximately 30 individual Vervet Monkeys. The monkeys were kept in five different enclosures. In one enclosure next to the kitchen, there were multiple monkeys housed in an extremely small (3.5m x 2m) and dark outdoor area with no sun availability and no perches (except for one beam which was attached to broken and rusting steel mesh). The walls and floors were covered in old faecal matter and had to be swept out by the consulting team before catching could begin. The SPCA began catching in the second enclosure, netting a few individuals, but the consulting team took over. The floor was covered in sludge and faecal matter with the team having to clean their boots multiple times in order to prevent slipping while catching. The team noticed a male which was looking lethargic and caught him up immediately and boxed him as an individual. Whilst the rest of the catching was done, this male was monitored throughout. Catching was particularly difficult in this enclosure as multiple areas of roofing were rusted and damaged as well as having broken mesh in and around the enclosure. The 4th enclosure housed 6 individuals. This enclosure showed the most obvious health and safety concerns. Large nails were sticking out of the walls, rotting roofing and broken floor boards allowed for monkeys to hide in these unsanitary, unsafe areas. One monkey caught its cheek on an exposed nail which created a small superficial cut along its cheek. These monkeys were boxed together. Each troop other than the smaller groups were split into 2 large boxes with a capacity between 6 and 10 individuals. The boxes are 1.5m x 1.2m x 1m with a steel frame as to ensure the safety of the monkeys while being transported. Dr. Roy Jones, who is Ezemvelo’s District Conservation Manager – Ethekwini has expressed his appreciation to SPCA and all officials involved in the rescue of these monkeys and further warned that Ezemvelo will continue to confiscate animals that are kept without official permit.
IMAGE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA POST:
At the time of writing this letter, the post on Facebook had received 735 comments the majority of which were not complimentary towards Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the SPCA or the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife.
In light of the SPCA objective and mission which is to serve and protect all animals, to uplift their welfare and to ensure that the protection they have under South African law is upheld and respected,to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of all animals, whilst our vision is to end animal cruelty in South Africa and engender compassion for animals the members of WAPFSA would appreciate an urgent response to this letter to confirm where the nearly 100 vervet monkeys seized during the aforementioned raid are being held at present.
WAPFSA consists of an alliance of diverse South African organisations and individuals that share certain values, knowledge and objectives that collectively comprise of a body of expertise from scientific, conservation, legal, animal rights, tourism, social justice and public advocacy sectors.
Whilst WAPFSA members appreciate the fact that the SPCA cannot comment on the on-going matter that is being heard in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on behalf of the owner of the Umzizi Umkomaas Vervet Rescue Centre. The raid was apparently illegal because it was carried out without a warrant.
Our concern is for the well-being of the vervet monkeys whilst the outcome of the high-court matter is being determined.
WAPFSA members would however like to be advised if the NSPCA will be investigating what transpired during the aforementioned raid and what exactly happened to the confiscated vervet monkeys?
Will the NSPCA be pursuing charges against the organisations and or individuals involved with regard to the Animal Protection Act? Will the NSPCA therefore investigate the SPCA branch that was present and active during this raid?
WAPFSA members would, in particular, like the following questions answered:
A number of the captured monkeys were physically and mentally challenged, were special precautions taken to make sure these monkeys received adequate care during the confiscation process?
Were the monkeys unnecessarily terrified during the capture process?
Did one of the monkeys die during the capture process?
Where were the monkeys transported to? What was the distance covered between the capture site and the release site?
How many monkeys died during the transportation from stress and/or heat exhaustion?
At the “release” site, were a number of monkeys shot?
Who gave the order to exterminate these monkeys?
Were they shot in their cages?
Were the monkeys in individual cages?
How many shots were fired in total?
How many monkeys survived and where are these monkeys being held?
The undersigned members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) look forward to receiving a timely explanation and answers to our important and relevant questions.
Yours faithfully, Megan Carr and Steve Smith
Megan Carr Founder Rhinos in Africa
Steve Smith Co-Founder Monkey Helpline
Dave du Toit Founder Vervet Monkey Foundation
Samantha Dewhirst Director Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education
Jenni Trethowan Founder Baboon Matters
Lorraine Holloway Director Baboons of the South
Smaragda Louw Director Ban Animal Trading
Michele Pickover Director EMS Foundation
Stefania Falcon Founder Future 4 Wildlife South Africa
Toni Brockhoven Chairperson Beauty Without Cruelty
Wynter Worsthorne Founder Animal Talk Africa
Sairusha Govindsamy Founder Africa Climate Alliance
Stephen Fritz Chief South Peninsula Khoi Council
Jabu Myeni Founder Gifted for Good
Linda Tucker CEO Founder Global White Lion Protection Trust
Les Mitchell Director Institute for Critical Animal Studies Africa
Kim Da Ribeira Director OSCAP
Vivien Law Parliament for the People
Lex Abnett Director Southern African Fight for Rhinos
Sera Farista Youth Climate Group
Guy Jennings Director WildAid Southern Africa
Fiona Miles Director Four Paws South Africa
Image Credit: Tracy Rowles Umsizi Umkomaas Vervet Rescue Centre
AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA
18TH JANUARY 2021
Taiji Fisheries Cooperative
Mr. Ryutaro Yatsu Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs Ministry of Environment
Ms. Kaoru Oka General Manager Environmental Policy Group
Ms. Kozue Hoshino Global Environment Division, International Cooperation Bureau Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Satoru Lino Deputy Director Policy Planning Division Environmental Health Department and Department of the Environment
Mr. Teruhiko Shinada Senior Coordinator Global Environment Division International Cooperation Bureau Ministry of Foreign Affairs
South African Embassy in Japan
The undersigned members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) were informed that the minke whale caught on the 25th December 2020 was mercilessly and brutally killed despite the many international appeals to release it.
WAPFSA consists of an alliance of diverse South African organisations and individuals that share certain values, knowledge and objectives that collectively comprise of a body of expertise from scientific, conservation, legal, animals rights, tourism, social justice and public advocacy sectors.
We, the undersigned, echo the sentiments of Ren Yabuki from the Life Investigation Agency: “Despite Japan being a whaling nation, it’s unjustifiable by anyone’s standards to make an animal suffer in such a cruel manner. The Taiji Fisheries Cooperative’s indifference towards animal’s suffering is shocking.”
Taiji is a town located in the Higashimuro District, in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan. Taiji is the only town in Japan where drive hunting still takes place on a large scale. The government allows over 2000 cetaceans to be slaughtered or captured.
The Taiji dolphin hunt is based on driving dolphins and other small cetaceans into a small bay where they can be killed or captured for their meat and for sale to dolphinariums. Taiji also has a long connection to Japanese whaling. The annual dolphin hunt provides income for the local residents.
The Taiji hunt has attraction international criticism for many years, a documentary called The Cove in 2009 drew international attention to the hunt and dedicated environmental and animal rights groups have continued to raise objections. Anti-whaling groups such as Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace continue to insist that whaling is cruel and should be regulated. WAPFSA members are in support of all these organisations, we the undersigned to do not support the whaling industry nor do we support the Taiji hunting methods.
In mitigation to the negative international sentiment, the Japanese government has issued statements to say that whale and dolphin hunting are a traditional form of livelihood in Japan and that like other animals whales and dolphins are killed to supply the demand for meat. They maintain that the methods of killing have become more humane in recent years.
THE MINKE WHALE
On the 25th of December 2020 Ren Yabuki, Campaign Director of Life Investigation Agency, in collaboration with the Dolphin Project, documented a minke whale which had become trapped in Taiji’s fishing nets. The offshore nets owned by the Taiji Fisheries Cooperative are in place year-round just outside the Taiji harbour adjacent to the infamous Cove.
Several different species of fish and shark were caught within the same nets, on the 29th of November 2020 a humpback whale got caught in the nets it was released on the 30th of November.
The minke whale was seen, via drone footage, repeatedly charging the net, with deep diving, likely in attempts to escape. Despite numerous appeals the Taiji Fisheries Cooperative refused to release the whale.
On the 11th of January, the world watched in horror the video of the deliberate killing of the mammal. Eighteen days after the juvenile animal became trapped, fishermen tied a rope around its tail and secured it to their vessel in a way that forcibly kept the the whale’s head underwater. The mammal was seen fighting in panic for at least 20 minutes before drowning. The act was clearly inhumane and cruel and was defined by many as “sadistic”.
The undersigned members of WAPFSA hereby voice their disappointment that the Taiji Fisheries Cooperative refused to release the minke whale. We hereby collectively add our voices from South Africa to join the many other organisations who have already appealed to the Japanese authorities to change their policies.
If the Japanese government maintains that the methods of killing have become more humane in recent years, why, then, has nothing been done to prevent, nor to respond to such callous incident?
We are deeply saddened and angry that the minke whale was not released and was, instead, forced to suffer and die in this inhumane fashion. We appeal to the Japanese government to urgently review their methods of set net fishing, as well as their bycatch quota and non-target species release policies.
Megan Carr Founder Rhinos in Africa and Prathna Singh Sea Shepherd South Africa On behalf of WAPFSA
On Friday 13th November 2020 WAPFSA members Pete Oxford, Jenni Trenthowen Lorraine Hollway and Stefania Falcon attended a meeting organised by Dr Baard, of Cape Nature by the authority of Honourable Minister of Local Government Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Mr Anton Bredell.
The meeting was chaired by Dr Baard, members of the Baboon Technical Team and their associates which included the City of Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope SPCA were also in attendance as were representatives from the Overstrand Municipality and the Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries.
This meeting was in response to a request by WAPFSA, who in an open letter to the Minister on the 25th of August 2020, called for a workshop to revise outdated, ineffective, unethical guidelines for the management of baboons in the Western Cape and to initiate discussions about alternatives to the current baboon management plan.
WAPFSA members used this preliminary meeting to demonstrate the need for open discussion and that through participative inclusion of baboon advocacy and action groups successful change can be negotiated and implemented.
“It is our contention that the focus of overall baboon management must move toward changing human behaviour in effective ways so that there is less criminalisation of baboons and more accountability in human occupied spaces.“
In line with COVID_19 specified regulations, four members of WAPSFA attended this preliminary meeting where three members delivered their own presentations.
Lorraine Holloway – Baboons of the South
PRESENTATION: Changing human behaviour and moving baboon management to a state of open and transparent communication between all stakeholders.
INTRODUCTION: Baboon management should be an inclusive working enterprise between all stakeholders rather than an unwelcome burden managed solely by the Authorities. The main objectives of this discussion are to focus attention on the lack of openness and transparency around baboon management and to propose the formation of a TASK TEAM to deal proactively with the issues identified below. It may well require a review of the structure of the BTT, its role and membership. A question that also needs to be pursued is whether consideration should be given to the management of troops by location taking into consideration the challenges in each location
Jenni Trethowan– Baboon Matters
PRESENTATION: Baboon Management – a science based project.
How could a broader range of science reduce the conflict between humans and baboons, leading to a better management of the interface?
Using extracts from the following publications we can see that there is a need for better engagement of humans through more effective education, waste management and life style choices, how can this be achieved if the only science used to determine the success of the project is pure zoology?
Comments on Published papers: Management of Commensal Baboons in Saudi-Arabia. Sylvain Biquand, Ahmed Boug, Véronique Guyot-Biquand, Jean-Pierre Gautier / Advancing best practices for aversion conditioning (humane hazing) to mitigate human–coyote conflicts in urban areas. / Lesley Sampson Book: Rock, Water, Life – Prof L GreenDirect communication: Prof. S. Strum & Dr. J Goodall
Pete Oxford– Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group
Can contracts between municipalities and service providers operate within the CapeNature approved guidelines if there is a “one size fits all” approach to baboon management? Each locality and baboon troop have specific criteria and culture; we need to show an open and adaptive approach to providing variation of management strategies for differing regions.
Stefania Falcon – The EMS Foundation
The EMS Foundation representative and the co-ordinator for Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa.
The EMS Foundation prepared a working document which was emailed to the members of WAPFSA and to the offices of Cape Nature, the organiser of this meeting , the offices of the Premier of the Western Cape Alan Winde, Honourable Minister of Local Government Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Mr Anton Bredell will also receive a copy.
It is important to make note the following important points in the light of transparency. The subject of capturing and release of the baboon known SK11/ Kataza was not allowed to be discussed. The City of Cape Town representatives were not allowed to comment at the meeting. The appointed baboon management service providers, Human Wildlife Services and NCC Environmental Services were not in attendance. It is also important to note that the representative from the University of Cape Town, Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa, was advised not to attend the meeting. The other member of the BTT, SanParks were not in attendance.
Image Credit: SK11 release on 12th November 2020 NCC Environmental Services
THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA ADDRESSES AN OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA
The Presidency, Republic of South Africa, Tuynhuis, Private Bag X1000, Cape Town 8000
Friday, 2 October 2020
BY EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Excellency President Ramaphosa,
SOUTH AFRICAN HERITAGE – ZOOS ARE PERPETUATING A DEEPLY COLONIAL POINT OF VIEW
On Heritage Day, 24th September 2020, President Ramaphosa said that:
“The naming and renaming of towns and cities forms part of building a united nation, as well as the erection of new statues and monuments. Monuments glorifying our divisive past should be repositioned and relocated. This has generated controversy, with some saying we are trying to erase our history. But we make no apologies for this. Any symbol, monument or activity that glorifies racism, that represents our ‘ugly’ past has no place in a democratic South Africa. The struggle against apartheid was first and foremost aimed at ensuring that all our people should reclaim their dignity, black and white. Restoring dignity is the preoccupation of this administration.”
The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) is a Forum made up of individuals representing environmental, conservation and wildlife protection organisations, these include experts from the scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, animal rights, tourism, social justice and public advocacy sectors.
WAPFSA would like President Ramaphosa to also consider acknowledging the fact that the zoos in South Africa are lasting monuments to the colonialist ideology of capturing indigenous people, wild animals and plants and keeping them on display. Menageries of the 18th century brought indigenous people and “exotic” animals to Western society and zoos today are a constant painful reminder of this practise.
From the very beginning of South Africa’s history, colonists exercised their control and authority. At first they controlled the Khoikhoi people and simultaneously crafted racist and sexists ideologies about the culture of all indigenous people they encountered as they moved north. Travelogues that circulated in Europe described Africa as being uncivilised. They enforced the belief that it was in Africa’s best interest to be colonized by European settlers.
Human zoos, also known as ethnological expositions, were well documented 19th and 20th century exhibitions of humans. These displays emphasised the cultural difference between Europeans of Western civilization and non-Europeans who practised a lifestyle which was deemed more primitive.
One of the most well-known examples of ethnological expositions in our history is the one that took place in 1810, when Saartjie Baartman a Khoikhoi was taken to England. On the 10th January 1811 at the New Theatre in London a pantomime called “The Hottentot Venus” was featured at the end of the evenings entertainment. Saartjie Baartman was the so-called Hottentot who was displayed, people were allowed to touch her for a fee. In 1814 Saartjie Baartman was sold to an animal trainer and taken to Paris where she was exhibited as a “freak’. Even in death, she became the object of scientific and medical research. Her genitals, her brain and a death cast of her body were displayed until 1985. After five years of negotiation her remains were returned to South Africa on the 3rd May 2002.
In the 1870’s exhibitions of exotic populations became popular in various countries. Human zoos could be found in Paris, Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Milan and New York City. Wild animal merchants in Europe exhibited Africans and wild animals. In 1925 a display at Belle Vue zoo in Manchester, in England was entitled “Cannibals” and featured black Africans depicted as savages. In 1958 a Congolese village was displayed at the Brussels World’s Fair. The history of human zoos is long and very painful.
In 2020 South Africa still has colonial contructs―zoos―which reinforce notions of conquest, control and “Othering’. The purpose for these zoos, the practice of keeping wild nonhuman animals captive is a source of contention. Debates regarding individual animal rights and animal welfare is especially relevant now.
The government zoo in Bloemfontein had to be closed recently because the animals were left to themselves, animals died of starvation. There are still government zoos in Pretoria, Johannesburg and East London. The budget to run these facilities could be better spent on real education.
If we are going to consider ourselves to be post-colonial then we need to shed the colonial narrative and remove wild animals from cages. There is a renewed global focus on racism and the violent colonial history is being highlighted worldwide. South Africa should lead the way, we do not need colonial styled zoos in South Africa instead these facilities could become centres of virtual and immersive technologies, libraries and places of education and study.
It became apparent during the global COVID_19 pandemic that children and students needed places where they could access high-speed WIFI in order to continue their studies. Children and students need large areas of safe space to study. The zoos in South Africa could be turned into such facilities. The education of South Africans about our diverse environment and wildlife can continue with live-streamed safari experiences to audiences at these facilities. Lectures could be delivered. The positive educational possibilities are endless.
We eagerly await your positive response.
Megan Carr Rhinos in Africa
Note: This letter would not have been possible without the assistance of Chief Stephen Fritz, leader of the South Peninsula Khoi Council
Senior Chief Stephen Fritz South Peninsula Customary Khoisan Council
Supporting Members of WAPFSA:
Winter Worsthorne Founder Animal Talk Africa
Sai African Climate Alliance
Jennie Trethowan Founder Baboon Matters
Smaragda Louw Director Ban Animal Trading
Toni Brockhoven Chairperson Beauty Without Cruelty (South Africa)
Peter Oxford Founder Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group
Samantha Dewhirst Director Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education
Michele Pickover Director EMS Foundation
Fiona Miles Director Four Paws (SA)
Anna Centura Co-Founder Future 4 Wildlife
Jabu Myeni Environmental Education, Gifted for Good
Linda Tucker CEO Founder Global White Lion Protection Trust
Les Mitchell Director Institute for Critical Animal Studies (Africa)
Steve Smit Co-Founder Monkey Helpline
Kim Da Ribeira Director OSCAP-Outraged SAfrican Citizens Against Poaching
Vivien Law Parliament for the People
Lex Abnett Director Southern African Fight for Rhinos
Image Credit: Daily Mail United Kingdom with the following text: The horrifying industry was also active in Europe. An African girl is shown at the 1958 Expo in Brussels, Belgium that featured a “Congo Villiage” with visitors watching her from behind wooden fences
A LETTER WRITTEN TO THE EDITOR OF THE DAILY MAVERICK
KATAZA, ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL
Kataza, a southern chacma baboon was forcibly removed from the Slangkop troop, his family, in Kommetjie approximately two weeks ago. He was dropped off more than twenty kilometres away on the urban edge of Tokai, in the Western Cape of South Africa.
The baboon monitors who had worked closely with conservationists, were replaced in 2012 by Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS). Their methods of management have included removals and the use of pain-inducing paint ball guns as a deterrent. Dame Jane Goodall, a world renowned primatologist has been outspoken and critical of “unnecessarily hostile tactics”. According to recent reports, HWS have now lost their annual fourteen million rand baboon management contract with the City of Cape Town.
During Kataza’s absence from the Slangkop troop, the alpha male George has killed at least one of Kataza’s offspring. According to Dr Andrew King, a professor at Swansea University in the United Kingdom, George “is adopting a clever evolutionary strategy, with no infants to care for, the infants’ mother stops lactation and becomes ready to conceive”. Kataza, as we know, did not leave the troop of his own accord, he was “dispersed of”.
Kataza, in the meanwhile has been refused veterinary assessment from the wildlife division of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA (CGHSPCA) even though he is showing signs of exhaustion, distress and confusion as he tries in vain to return to his troop in Kommetjie.
The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) consists of conservation and wildlife protection organisations, these include experts from the scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, animal rights, tourism, social justice and public advocacy sectors. The members of WAPFSA would like to clarify that the enormous public concern about the pitiless, forced removal and relocation of Kataza, has become the tipping point for many conservationists and concerned citizens. Not only are they worried about the well-being of this individual baboon but he has become a symbol of all that is wrong with the callous style in which the baboons of the Western Cape are treated by the authorities.
The planet’s wildlife is in a precipitous decline, Sir David Attenborough has stated this weekend that children born today will witness the sixth mass extinction. Our extractive and unempathetic relationship with nature needs to be urgently readdressed. Baboons play a crucial role in preserving the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom and many residents of the Western Cape feel fortunate to be able to enjoy having baboons as neighbours. The City of Cape Town though, and some residents, seem to have lost sight of the fact that many homes are in fact situated on the edges of nature reserves and the rights of baboons should therefore be protected. There is unanimous agreement on all sides of the debate, that irresponsible waste management, both household and municipal is one of the single biggest root causes of human/baboon conflict.
Shirley Strum, a primatologist has stated that “It is garbage and the humans’ food in it, that attracts baboons and is the source of much conflict between people and the animals… it is important to find ways to convince people to dispose of their refuse properly and to use the baboon-proof bins correctly… It needs a serious PR campaign and then some enforcement and penalties to motivate people to act right… it would be a shame if they [baboons] died out because of bad human behaviour.”
A recent paper in Science: “Engage with animal welfare in conservation”, argues that conservationists should be concerned not only about the persistence of animal species and populations but about the welfare of individual animals.
Professor David Bilchitz of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional Public and Human Rights and International Law has also argued that, in order to save a species from extinction, we need an “integrative approach”, which recognises the intrinsic value and promotes the respect for the individual non-human animal.
Jenni Trethowan, the founder of Baboon Matters, has spent thirty years working with baboons and she has developed non-lethal management techniques with the guidance of primatologists Dave Gaynor and Ruth Kansky. It has been shown that using the intimate knowledge gained by studying the individual behaviours of the troop and traditional herding techniques will achieve the desired goal of a harmonious co-existence, when baboons encroach with humans.
WAPFSA has engaged with Minister Bredell and he has confirmed that the Ministry of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and Cape Nature will be organising a workshop to engage in discussions on scientific research and animal protection principles that will underpin the protocols for the treatment of baboons and their co-existence with their human counterparts going forward. WAPFSA believes that through collaboration, transparency, dialogue, best science and a more humane, ethical and respectful approach both humans and baboons will benefit.
The current unacceptable and disruptive treatment of Kataza demands immediate intervention. Lawyers acting for Baboon Matters have requested an emergency compassionate solution for Kataza in order to save his life.
WAPFSACALLS FOR A MORATORIUM AND A WORKSHOP TO REVISE OUTDATED, INEFFECTIVE, UNETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF BABOONS IN THE WESTERN CAPE
Mr Anton Bredell The Honourable Minister of Local Government Environment Affairs and Development Planning
Dr BaardCape Nature
Liezl de VilliersSenior Environmental Management Section Overstrand Municipality
25th August 2020,
Honourable Minister Bredell,
The undersigned organizations are part of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA), an alliance of diverse South African NGOs that share certain values, knowledge and objectives and that collectively comprise a body of expertise from scientific, conservation, legal, welfare, rights, tourism, social justice and public advocacy sectors.