Monkey madness on the South Coast

2011-04-13 00:00

MOST South Coasters will attest to the fact that if you are prepared to live in the area, you should be prepared to put up with the occasional vervet monkey hanging around your kitchen window.

In many instances, though, the monkeys make a nuisance of themselves and become difficult to get rid of. The result — all too often — is that the monkeys are killed with air rifles.

Steve Smit, a co-ordinator at the Monkey Helpline, says that of the animals that his organisation rescues all over KwaZulu-Natal every day, 85% are injured by air gun pellets.

“Human predators are now killing more monkeys than their natural predators,” says Smit.

He believes the answer to ensuring that monkeys leave an area is a simple one — water.

“If you squirt a hosepipe on a group of monkeys every day, they will definitely not be around for very long,” Smit said. “Shooting and injuring monkeys with rifles is simply not necessary and is inexplicably cruel.”

So many monkeys are shot, Smit says, because of a common myth.

“Contrary to popular belief, monkeys do not attack people.

“You have more chance of being bitten by a black mamba in your room than you do of being bitten by a monkey,” he said.

“There is also not an overpopulation of monkeys. They stay in the areas that they have been for hundreds of years.”

On Monday Smit’s team was sent to Scottburgh to try to rescue a monkey that had been shot with an arrow, something Smit says is completely unnecessary.

“People need to be made aware of these myths so that these monkeys are protected.”

Any South Coasters who are experiencing problems with monkeys in their homes should call the Monkey Helpline at 084 432 9974 for advice.

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