Baboons run amok in Kathu

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Social media has been very busy since 01 April 2018 about baboons running amok in Kathu. Two and later three baboons were spotted by many residents - either in their gardens, or in tree zones in various parts of the town.
It is believed that these primates have been deprived of their natural habitat due to urban development and have therefore been forced to scout for new territory. The tribe has apparently since extended to include five youngsters.
Although thought to be cute, these animals are very dangerous and pose a serious threat to both humans and do-mestic pets. Everybody was warned not to approach them at all.
Offering to assist with this threatening situation, the neighbourhood watch, orga-nised traps used to capture stray dogs, but one concerned resident thought it to be inhumane and objected to the use of the traps, as they would apparently be too confined for the baboons. The neigh-bourhood watch then decided to distanciate themselves from the problem.
In the meantime, the baboons went on to ravage urban gardens, until Tuesday morning 10 April 2018 when they appeared at the Kathu Primary School. It was the first day after the Easter holidays. The principal and management deemed it safest to send
the learners home in view of the potentially dangerous situation.
Since the baboons were first observed, DA councillor Henriëtte Du Plessis was in contact with residents of Kathu about the whereabouts of the primates. Mr Mdu Nkosi from the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation in Kuruman was contacted.
However, by Tuesday the DA's spokes-person on environmental and agricultural affairs, Mr Ismail Obaray MPL, made an urgent appeal to the MEC of Environment and Nature Conservation Ms Tiny Chotelo to urgently deal with the matter as edu-cation cannot be compromised by threate-ning animals. Shortly thereafter, it was broadcast that the Head of the Department, Elizabeth Botes, was on her way to Kathu to deal directly with the issue.
Apparently, the plan was to engage the veterinary surgeon Dr Gerhard Van Der Westhuizen from Kuruman to dart the animals and Mr Nkosi would capture and transport the animals to a suitable rehabi-litation centre.
The learners at Kathu Primary School were told not to attend the school on Tuesday as well, so the animals could be removed safely since they were thought to remain in close proximity of the school.