UMSIZI UMKOMMAS VERVET MONKEY RESCUE

WAPFSA OFFICIAL OPEN LETTER TO NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SPCAs

ADDRESSED TO:

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:

  1. 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?
  2. Were the monkeys unnecessarily terrified during the capture process?
  3. Did one of the monkeys die during the capture process?
  4. Where were the monkeys transported to? What was the distance covered between the capture site and the release site? 
  5. How many monkeys died during the transportation from stress and/or heat exhaustion?
  6. At the “release” site, were a number of monkeys shot? 
  7. Who gave the order to exterminate these monkeys?
  8. Were they shot in their cages?
  9. Were the monkeys in individual cages?
  10. How many shots were fired in total?
  11. 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

© 2021 WAPFSA. All rights reserved

THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA MEETING WITH THE BABOON TECHNICAL TEAM AND THEIR ASSOCIATES

MEDIA STATEMENT

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

PRESENTATION:

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

© 2020 WAPFSA. All rights reserved

KATAZA, ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

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”[1].  According to recent reports[2], 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”[3]. 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[4].  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[5]”, 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[6]”, 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. 

Written by Stefania Falcon on behalf of WAPFSA

Continue reading “KATAZA, ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL”

WAPFSA CALLS FOR URGENT MORATORIUM TO REVISE GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF BABOONS IN THE WESTERN CAPE

OPEN LETTER

WAPFSA CALLS 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 Baard Cape Nature

Liezl de Villiers Senior 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.

Continue reading “WAPFSA CALLS FOR URGENT MORATORIUM TO REVISE GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF BABOONS IN THE WESTERN CAPE”

THE SUBMISSION BY THE EMS FOUNDATION AND ANIMAL LAW REFORM SOUTH AFRICA IN RESPECT OF THE DEFF HIGH LEVEL PANEL

SUBMITTED ON THE 15TH JUNE 2020

The submission relates to the Management, Breeding, Hunting, Trade, Handling and Related matters to the Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhinoceros.

Disclaimers

Please note that this Submission is non-exhaustive and does not represent all the responses to the issues and matters raised herein. We reserve the right to provide any further or additional information on aspects raised herein.

We are submitting so as to be able to record our initial high-level views and resources; however, our Submission is by no means a complete one in relation to the topics, objections or matters that may be raised.

We wish to note upfront that we believe there are various issues with the contents, processes, and related matters in respect of the Panel generally, as well as the Call for Submission. Consequently, our Submission does not constitute a waiver of any rights we may have, including but not limited to challenging the Department, the High-Level Panel/ Advisory Committee or otherwise, or take any other action we deem fit in respect thereof.

Specifically, we believe that insufficient time and notice has been provided for us to provide complete comments. The entire process on this Call for Submissions has been done during a declared National State of Disaster and lockdown of the country. During this time, particularly as NGOs, we have experienced major strain on our resources and capacity to deal with matters.

The views expressed herein are those of the two organisations and do not necessarily represent those of every individual director, member, employee, representative, volunteer, affiliate or others of either EMS and/or ALRSA.

We have attempted to be as comprehensive as possible, given the time, resources and other relevant factors and constraints, however we may not have responded or included each and every relevant consideration. Accordingly, it should be noted that different persons have provided input and we have tried within these constraints to collate this input as effectively, consistently, and practicably as possible.

We have further attempted to reference as footnotes or hyperlink the resources relied upon for this submission. Should you require any further information in respect of these or the Submission more generally, we are happy to provide these.

We reserve any and all rights, remedies and actions available to us.

©2020 Wildlife Animal Protection Forum. All rights reserved.

THE WILDLIFE ANIMAL PROTECTION FORUM SOUTH AFRICA

FOUNDING DOCUMENT

As Founding Members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa (WAPFSA) we, the undersigned South African organisations, resolve to adopt this statement of purpose, objects, and operational principles.

BACKGROUND

The WAPFSA was initiated in 2017 as a collaborative network representing the interests of wild animals and as a vehicle to engage government on animal protection, ethical and compassionate conservation, welfare and biodiversity loss issues amongst others.

OUR WORK

The WAPFSA provides a framework for cooperation and networking among non-governmental organisations in South Africa. Through such cooperation, animal protection, environmental, conservation, and other like-minded organisations can present, to the various government agencies and other relevant bodies, a strong, clear and informed common position.

Our collaboration involves, but is not limited to, the following main categories: advocacy, outreach, research, enforcement, investigation, monitoring, litigation and training.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT TO READ THE ENTIRE FOUNDING STATEMENT