National Pornographic

Did anyone read todays Cape Times? Front page story “Furore over Baboon House” really got my blood boiling. The gist of the article is the Pringle Bay communities reaction to a movie that was shot in the village last year. Sponsored by National Geographic, a film crew setup a ‘fake’ house in the village, and laced the house with foodstuffs to lure the local baboon troop to ransack the house, all being filmed by secret cameras hidden behind one-way glass. Now the baboon/house-invasion problem is a common issue in the Cape, and one the Pringle Bay folks have been trying very hard to work on in a manner that can have them living harmoniously with the baboons. Now along comes National Geographic, luring the baboons into a house with food and making another sensationalist doccie for the pleasure of the masses in their living rooms, most of them never having seen a baboon, let alone having to deal with the stress of having one looting your kitchen and taking a shit on your dining room table.

What it smacks of is this, feeding wild animals to make money. Other than this being 100% illegal in South Africa, it also seriously undermines the efforts of the local residents who have to live with these creatures, and as they say in the article, ‘One slip is enough to bring them back into our homes’.

Sounds rather familiar to our shark issue this website is so fervently fighting against. And just like the OCEARCH debacle a few months back, where again Nat Geo was funding the feeding of our wild animals. That stupid film plot may or may not have contributed to a young surfer losing their life a few days after the feeding took place, but what really gets my goat is how these multinationals are coming onto our home turf, messing with our delicate eco-system, making a ton of money, and buggering off to leave us to deal with the aftermath.

I always loved Nat Geo mags as a kid, a veritable champion of animal rights and conservation. But these mags are long gone, now its all about TV, and its the TV-side of Nat Geo that is so regularly spoiling this image. Think ‘Shark Week’, ‘When animals attack’, or an even better one, who’s seen and been horrified by ‘Swamp Men’, where a bunch of hideously uneducated hicks on the swamps of USA bait, then use shotguns to blow the brains out of alligators, all in high definition and beamed right into your home for your animal-loving viewing pleasure.

Where did things change so much at Nat Geo, that now its all about how scary, dangerous and deadly the creatures are, and with no regard for how the livelihood of these creatures is affected by the methods used to film these shows. Do they realise that baboons that repeatedly break into houses will be euthanised, basically being put down? How is that conservation or education, more like cash-driven senseless eradication in my opinion.

And why do they do it? All for the big green dollar, nothing more.

By allowing this company to mess with our nature, we are selling out one of our most unique and wonderful resources.