A hoodlum baboon that was kidnapped by authorities and dumped miles away from its troop to stop it causing trouble has finally been reunited with his family after officials backed down.
The decision to take the chacma baboon, named Kataza, away from his troop was made after animal behaviour experts identified that he was the ringleader of a group of troublemakers causing problems for people living in a Cape Town district.
The belief was to remove him from leading his band on raiding parties into town would stop the problem.
But, animal rights activists created a social media storm saying that what had been done was cruel in taking the baboon away from his family and dumping him in a remote location isolated from others.
The story has rumbled on now for weeks with legal clashes and counter-accusations and the story appears to have now reached an end after South African authorities backed down and animal rights activists arranged for the baboon to be released back near its native group following a legal battle.
A petition on the subject had also been launched which quickly amassed over 30,000 signatures.
While he was living in the new location, a group of activists called the ‘baboon angels’ had monitored Kataza daily to prevent him from harming himself in urban areas.
They called for environment official Marian Nieuwoudt to return the baboon to its home area.
Animal activist Ryno Engelbrecht filed a high court complaint calling for the city authorities to review the relocation decision.
The legal action was settled out of court and Kataza was relocated to an area one kilometre from its original troop on 12th November.
The belief is that he will now find his troop and reintegrate himself into his family naturally.
Experts tranquilised the baboon with a dart before a vet checked its condition.
As part of the legal agreement, ear tags and a GPS tracker were also removed from the animal.
Conservationists consider the relocation of male baboons to be the same as sentencing the animal to death as adults are usually killed by rival males in the group they try to join.
Baboons that are forced out of the troop also often end up leaving the territory and becoming scavengers that are often targeted by the city authorities as a nuisance and face execution.
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