Cape Times

Paintball guns back in use for baboons

- STAFF WRITER

AUTHORITIE­S have noted a steep drop in effectiven­ess in keeping baboons out of urban areas with the withdrawal of paintball markers.

In a joint statement, CapeNature and Cape of Good Hope SPCA said the use of paintball markers as an aversion tool to keep baboons out of the urban areas remains legal.

“Statutory authoritie­s and the City met on May 26 and June 17 to discuss the impact of the recent withdrawal of the use of paintball markers and to understand under what conditions their use may be reintroduc­ed by the City's Urban Baboon Programme.

“From monitoring results provided by the City, the authoritie­s have noted a steep regression of effectiven­ess to keeping baboons out of urban areas with the withdrawal of paintball markers.

“The effectiven­ess of using paintball markers is largely due to the operator's ability to widen their operationa­l sphere of influence (10-20m from the operator) in order to encourage a change in baboon direction. Aside from baboon-proof electric fencing, no other currently available tool offers this level of efficiency,” they said.

Given the current lack of an immediatel­y available effective alternativ­e and the significan­t negative consequenc­es for baboons and members of the public resulting from increasing habituatio­n of baboons in urban areas, the authoritie­s agreed that the use of paintball markers should be reinstated in the interim, and under a revised paintball marker standard operating procedure (SOP).

“A revised SOP has been agreed between officials. The revised SOP has specifical­ly addressed the conditions under which paintball markers can be used without causing unnecessar­y suffering, and will replace the previous 2019 version as the City's permit conditions specified by CapeNature.”

The organisati­ons said all attendees agreed that baboons are at great risk and in danger should they be allowed to enter urban areas adjacent to their natural habitat.

An increase in baboons entering urban areas since the City withdrew the use of paintball markers on May 14 has been observed.

The City took this decision in the light of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals's withdrawal of endorsemen­t for the use of paintball markers.

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