Friday, September 02, 2005

Who are these friggin heartless creeps?

Every time I read about a maimed baboon in the Cape my blood boils. The latest is about a baboon found at Glencairn in Cape Town that had been shot with a pellet gun and poisoned. See here for more details.

Baboons are highly socially developed animals and you can imagine what the troop went through as they watched one of there members get sick.

But this is just the latest in a long line of mistreatments. A few months ago, a nearly blind baboon was rescued - blind from poisoning.

Alone and scared: The blind female baboon hides in a tree at the Fisherman's Pub in Kommetjie.
Photo: Brenton Geach, Cape Argus

Thank goodness for the people who care and fund the baboon watchers - a full time group of guys who follow the baboons around to make sure they don't cause trouble and people don't mess with them.

To give you an idea of the crualty of baboon poisoning, Jenni Trethowan, who manages the baboon minders, said the young female appeared to be losing her eyesight, her tongue was swollen, she walked awkwardly and kept rubbing her jaw.

She had called in primate specialist Dave Gaynor, who said the baboon's symptoms were consistent with poisoning by an insecticide called aldicarb.

"She gets left behind by the troop because she can't see properly, and then she calls them back and they return. We want the SPCA to dart her and get her out, but we could not get hold of anyone at CapeNature for permission. Now we've lost her."

I won't mince my words here: this is because of the fuckers who have built in environmentally sensitive spots like Scarborough in Cape Town. Who are they to say, "I want to live in naturally beautiful spots but only on my terms."

Baboons have always been an issue around the Cape Town mountain. As kids, a friend and I were chased by a male baboon the size of a small car. Let me tell you, frightening stuff. At Smitswinkel Bay, you have to keep the doors and windows locked to avoid having a baboon troop invade in search of food.

But you take that risk if you choose to stay in those areas.

Thank goodness for people like Jenni of Baboon Matters in Kommetjie, who coaxed the blind baboon down from a tree and tried to catch her with a blanket. The baboon, however, managed to get away. Jenni finally managed to get her caught and treated. Brave woman!

The baboon minders also seem to be genuinely concerned about their charges:

From the Argus, 24 May 2005

A young female baboon is suffering from suspected insecticide poisoning and Eric, the dominant male of the Kommetjie troop, was spotted at the weekend with a broken leg.

This comes after two baboons were shot dead in the southern Peninsula last week.

It is thought that the female was poisoned in Da Gama Park with insecticide, but it is not known whether Eric broke his leg in a fall, whether he was shot or hit by a car.

Jenni Trethowan of Baboon Matters, who manages the baboon monitors, said on Monday that monitors Mzukisi Ntewu and Sana Nyasani had spotted Eric limping.

"The monitors are very concerned. Eric is something of a living legend and they're very attached to him. We would like to dart him and treat his injury, but we decided to leave him with his troop, because William, another baboon, practises infanticide and Eric would not be there to protect the infants from him," Trethowan said.

I say put the baboons in a room with the people who tried to poison them. Baboons can kill a leopard - I am sure a yellow-bellied coward should be no problem.

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