“Container depot baboon” meets a sad end…


Eileen van der Schyff

The baboon that was captured at a container depot in Walvis Bay last Thursday met a sad, yet necessary end. It was euthanised on orders of State Veterinary Services.

Workers at a container depot go the surprise of their lives last Thursday when the baboon emerged from a container which they just opened to unpack. The baboon made a dash for a couple of containers nearby, as there were attempts to catch it.

It hid in the small crevices between the containers. When it saw an opportunity, it again ran to another bunch of containers and tried to hide on one’s roof structure. When local resident Mr. Naudé Dreyer and an official of State Veterinary Services arrived, it again disappeared into the narrow spaces between the containers.

After much drama it was captured with a net. The baboon apparently slipped into the container in Zambia and spent many days inside without food and water, as the container was hauled to Walvis Bay by road.

The baboon was placed under the care of a local vet and initial plans were to relocate him back to Zambia and released.

However, a few days later there was uncertainty exactly where the baboon got into the container. As baboon troops are very sensitive to “belongers” and “non-belongers”, there was a danger it could be mauled if united with the wrong troop.

Subsequently it was decided to find him a Namibian home, and no place could be better than N/a’an ku Wildlife Sanctuary near Windhoek.

After much contemplation though, State Veterinary Services said the risk is too big. The baboon could introduce a disease among Namibian baboons and there is currently a moratorium (ban) on the settlement of foreign primates in Namibia.

Mr. Naudé Dreyer, who in the meantime named the baboon Oliver, stayed with it till the end.

Photo:  Oliver the baboon that was euthanised this week. It was not possible to relocated it back to Zambia and locally it is prohibited to introduce primates from other countries into local animal sanctuaries. State Veterinary Services ordered its euthanasia.

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