Members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa delivered a submission with their comments on the Draft Cape Peninsula Baboon Strategic Management Plan on Friday 31st March 2023.


The Plan should be titled: CAPE PENINUSULA HUMAN-BABOON CO-EXISTENCE STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PLAN (HBCEMP) this will speak to a more useful framework to help support more sustainable people-nature interactions in the context of the conservation of African baboons to achieve human-baboon coexistence, by balancing the integrity of nature with human wellbeing. A new ethos is necessary to ensure changes not only to what is done but how things are done. The MP should be based on Ubuntu and within the context of changing people’s attitudes to Nature and wild species so that they understand that their conservation is essential to the long-term flourishing of humanity and aspire to co-exist harmoniously within Nature instead of simply regarding wild species as merely economic “resources” or “damage-causing”.

WAPFSA believes that this merits a separate goal (Ubuntu and harmonious co-existence within Nature are promoted) which focuses on how conservation will be undertaken in future, with an emphasis on applying ethics such as Ubuntu to change how people view, and relate to Nature, and to contribute to ways for people to co-exist with wild species so that life in all its diversity can be sustained and that human wellbeing is increased as a consequence of protecting and restoring natural ecosystems instead of at their expense.

The Plan cannot be developed in a vacuum. It therefore must include a preface which provides the overarching context and background in relation to South Africa’s primate populations including the lack of credible data, the urgent need for a population census, regulation and oversight insufficiencies and the outdated legislative framework (both provincially and nationally) – for example, sections of the Western Cape Biodiversity Act have not come into effect, particularly the Ordinance has not been repealed and this relates specifically to the status and killing of baboons. Please take note of the contents and findings of this 2023 research report on South Africa’s nonhuman primates: 

Transformational changes (game-changing shifts) are urgently needed if we are to secure humanity’s future. To do this we need to address the interlinked emergencies of human-induced climate change and the loss of wild species. What is needed is a progressive vision and policy for conservation based on the ethic of Ubuntu and the recognition that humanity can only flourish in the long term by conserving the natural systems that support all life and finding ways to coexist in harmony with Nature.

Conservation policies and decisions must be guided primarily by ecological and welfare considerations, i.e. decisions about wild species and biodiversity must be based on ecological considerations (e.g. what is best for the ecosystem) and welfare considerations (e.g. treating wild animals with respect and without cruelty both for their own sakes and to foster consideration for other species in accordance with the ethic of Ubuntu.

WAPFSA notes that some organisations are of the opinion that the entire BSMP process is flawed and illegal. This needs to be taken seriously and investigated by the JMC to determine if all the necessary steps in this process were correctly followed.

WAPFSA wants to place on record that there are transparency and accountability concerns as stakeholders were not provided with the Terms of Reference of the CPBMJTT or the Memorandum of Agreement between the three parties. These are essential documents to verify policy, budget, or resources, amongst other things, from and between the three spheres of government involved. In addition, stakeholders were never informed of the criteria for the selection of the members of the CPBMJTT and had no opportunity to comment on such criteria.

WAPFSA requests that any changes to the existing Baboon Management programme be consultative and inclusive of all stakeholders.

WAPFSA is concerned that the City of Cape Town (“COCT”) Urban Baboon Programme is to be terminated in June 2023 with apparently no plan in place to ensure the safety and well-being of the Peninsula baboons. If the programme is resumed, WAPFSA is of the view that the protocols for the monitoring of baboons needs to be re-examined and re-imagined, through wide stakeholder consultation.

WAPFSA urgently requests a moratorium on the killing of baboons while the Management Plan is being amended, updated, consulted on, and implemented.

Image Credit: Jenny Parsons Pringle Bay, South Africa

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