MONKEY Helpline, which started in 1995, is a registered NPO that educates people about why monkeys are here, why monkeys behave the way they do, the things people should do or not do when monkeys are around, and how to humanely keep monkeys away from places where they are unwelcome.
According to Carol Booth, a volunteer of Monkey Helpline, just knowing that monkeys will not attack and bite people, and that they don’t carry rabies, is usually enough to change antagonism and fear into tolerance, and frequently into appreciation.
“We also run a rescue operation and a high care unit.
“We rescue an average of three monkeys every two days, and their injuries range from wounds sustained during fights with other monkeys, dog bites, being run over by motor vehicles, electrocuted, snared, trapped or poisoned, shot with airguns (pellet or BB guns), catapults, paintball guns and firearms, as well as being caught or injured on razor wire. Many are babies who are orphaned or injured when mother monkeys are attacked by dogs or other monkeys, or are severely injured or killed in human-related incidents.
“Over 80 percent of the monkeys we rescue, irrespective of the reason why, have got air-gun pellets in their bodies.
“Lead pellets cause terrible pain, suffering and a lingering death and no person, adult or child, should ever shoot monkeys, or any other animals, with an air-gun.”
She said that as the only dedicated monkey rescue project in KwaZulu-Natal, the Monkey Helpline is available to do rescues 24 hours a day, every day.
“On any given day we are treating 10 or more monkeys in our home-based high care unit – frequently in excess of twenty monkeys! Once they have recovered from their injuries these monkeys are released back into their home territory, transferred to a rehabilitation facility or placed in a sanctuary.
“Monkey Helpline networks with a number of other vervet-related individuals, groups, and general primate and animal-care NGOs.”
Booth also appealed to the community for assistance.
“I know it's been a tough month and everyone has overspent on Christmas and New Year, but, Monkey Helpline still needs your help to continue the work we do.
“We have a very easy debt order system, or pay pal, as well as EFT options that you can use to become a much needed part of the team.
“Even a R100 debit order would go a long way to helping us do the work we do.
“Please go to our website www.monkeyhel pline.co.za or click on www.monkeyhel pline.co.za/donate-here/ and choose the option best suited to you.”