Wildlife Animal Protection Forum wants inclusion on baboon management policy
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Cape Town - Members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum of South Africa (WAPFSA), an alliance of conservation groups, have requested for inclusion in the decision-making process of the drafting of the new proposed baboon management policy for the Cape Peninsula.
In a letter sent to Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell and Cape Nature CEO Dr Ernst Baard, the forum said they have not been consulted and were informed by a media report that such policies were being reviewed.
They said the suggestion of attending workshops to review the new guidelines and protocols only after they were formulated was not acceptable.
Speaking on behalf of the forum, Stefania Falcon said they were led to believe through media reports that such guidelines were being reviewed under the guidance of Cape Nature, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA and other stakeholders.
“WAPFSA has, on multiple occasions, formally indicated that citizens in the Cape Peninsula need new legislation and by-laws rather than guidelines. We are now requesting to be kept informed on the exact processes and timeline of consultation of our – and other – sectors.
“In addition, this consultation with our sector should occur prior to any proposed amendments to the management policy being considered, and not after,” she said.
Falcon said the exclusion of WAPFSA members and their expertise and representation, together with other stakeholders, from the process was questionable in terms of legislation – since animal welfare should be included.
“Without such inclusion and a transparent process, we believe that community divisiveness might continue, which could lead to a feeling of resentment towards the political figures and others involved in baboon management and protection related decision making.”
Falcon said WAPFSA members, with their vast and varied experience in wildlife conservation, wildlife welfare and constitutional and environmental law had been included in decision making processes at national level.
EMS Foundation director Michele Pickover said Bredell had assured them that there would be a transparent process, including a workshop, to discuss the drafting of new policies to protect and manage baboons in the Cape Peninsula.
“Every effort has been made since 2019 by WAPFSA member organisations, many of whom have been intricately involved with the protection of baboons in the Western Cape, to have an ongoing dialogue with Cape Nature and our detailed communications are not being responded to.
“The unsuccessful management and protection of baboons comes at great cost to the baboon population in the area and to the ratepayers in the Western Cape.
“The DA seems to be remiss when it comes to adequate stakeholder engagement and transparency,” said Pickover.
Cape Nature CEO Dr Ernst Baard said the review process had not started.
“Following a phased approach, CapeNature, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Department, City of Cape Town and SANParks are in discussion on strategic and governance issues, following which review of current guidelines and protocols will start,” he said.
Baard said broad stakeholder engagement across the government/non-government spectrum was important and a structured process should be followed.
Environmental Affairs and Development Planning spokesperson Rudolf van Jaarsveldt said the department would provide responses today.