Monkey hear, monkey don’t

2013-06-22 00:00

UITENHAGE — A farmer in the Eastern Cape has made a strange plan to keep the monkeys out of his maize fields — he turns up the radio.

Albert Harbron, who farms in Kruisrivier near Uitenhage, has strategically placed several radios near the edges of his fields. He said the monkeys hear human voices and, because they know there will be trouble if they are seen, they hide next to the fields, waiting for the “humans” to leave.

Pointing to old maize leaves in the trees, he said the trick was to place the radios near the bushes in which they hide, “because the b*****s always enter the fields from the bushes, so that they can make a quick getaway if a human approaches”.

He first stumbled on the idea when a neighbour told him how his workers would chase the monkeys away and then leave a radio on to keep them out.

He started with his own wave of scarecrow radios five years ago and kept the radios on for three years.

Last year he thought that the monkeys had been conditioned into believing that the fields always had people in them.

“I was totally wrong,” he said.

Harbron tuned the radio to the Umhlobo Wenene station because it’s format has more talking than music.

“I could have used Algoa FM, but that’s mostly music. I don’t want to teach [the monkeys] how to dance as well.”

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