Last year, a chacma baboon, affectionately known as Kataza, was identified by the City of Cape Town as a problem.
He found himself in hot water after residences in Kommetjie complained that he was raiding their homes.
In October, Kataza was moved from Slangkop to Tokai, after the City’s service provider – Human and Wildlife Solutions (HWS) – failed to manage his behaviour.
However, he had trouble integrating with his new troop and he was returned to Slangkop in November.
When Susan Litten, a council-appointed representative for baboons in Kommetjie, was notified about the Kataza saga, she felt he was being “unfairly” treated.
“No one’s really sure why he’s being pinpointed. A whole troop [of baboons] was going into Kommetjie regularly – he is no more [mischievous] than others,” she said.
Litten said there was no data to prove that Kataza was a problem, and this was what prompted her to intervene.
Litten and a community organisation, called Kataza’s Angels, have made protecting Kataza their mission.
They have drafted petitions and regularly track his whereabouts.
“So all we are is observers, we have no say in what he does or where he goes. All we try and do is stop the traffic from knocking him over and stop him from going into shops,” she said.
According to Litten, Kataza has had trouble reintegrating with any of the troops in Kommetjie.
“He’s been going from house to house like a lonely baboon. Baboons are very social animals, so it’s incredibly cruel to see him behaving like this,” she said.
In January, an application was brought forward by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, requesting a permit from Cape Nature to have Kataza relocated to a rehabilitation centre in Limpopo.
Over the weekend, it was granted.
Cape Nature released two permits, one for the SPCA to capture the animal, and the second to have Kataza exported from the province.
They agreed to the relocation, based on a number of “special” conditions: one of which was getting the animal tested for Covid-19 upon capture and upon arrival at the centre.
“In the United States, in a Californian zoo, two of their gorillas actually tested positive for Covid,” the executive director at Cape Nature, Ernst Baard, told News24.
“We argued that, because SK11 (Kataza) had been in reasonably close proximity to humans over the last number of months, there is a chance he might have contracted the virus,” he said.
Kataza will also be micro-chipped for identification purposes and kept under a 40-day quarantine.
Baard said he believes Kataza will have a good life in his new home, based on the fact that he will be rehabilitated to an almost semi-wild status.
“I’m happy and comfortable with the decisions made by Cape Nature,” he said.