Monday, 08 September 2008

They shoot monkeys, don't they!!

Today we want to use an incident of monkey shooting that occurred on the upmarket Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate (MECCE) near Umhlanga, north of Durban, to highlight the brutal consequences of people shooting monkeys with pellet guns.
On September 1, 2008, we contacted by a resident of Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate (MECCE) in connection with an apparently injured male monkey. The caller said that the monkey had arrived at her premises in Columbia Crescent, MECCE, and spent what appeared to be an inordinate amount of time just lying down. When the troop moved off the monkey remained behind and when he did try and walk he did so with difficulty, his hindquarters obviously injured.

Arriving at the scene we quickly caught the monkey and took him to our vet, Dr Kerry Easson, of the Riverside Veterinary Clinic in Durban North. Severe bruising in the monkey’s lower belly and groin area as well as on his hip, plus the visibly out of alignment position of the left hip were all indicative of him having been struck by a motor vehicle. X-rays confirmed a fracture in the left pelvis and also revealed six airgun pellets in the monkey’s body.

It is highly likely that the effects of the pellet injuries debilitated the monkey to the extent that he was unable to cross a road quickly enough to avoid being hit by a motor car.

It is a disgrace that callous, monkey-hating residents of MECCE are able to shoot monkeys with pellet guns with impunity, whereas the monkey-loving residents on the same estate who want to feed the monkeys are threatened by the MECCE Management Association (MECCEMA) with being in breach of MECCE management rules and can be fined. We know of at least two residents who have each been fined R10 000 (ten thousand rand) each by MECCEMA. Both have paid this money to MECCEMA who then donated it to a charity of the resident’s choice.

A number of monkeys have been badly injured or killed after being shot with pellet guns at MECCE over the past two years and more. Over eighty percent of all the monkeys rescued by us and X-rayed by Dr Easson, have pellets in their bodies, and its not uncommon for there to be anywhere between two and twelve pellets in a single monkey. It’s hard to describe the agony that monkeys endure after being wounded with a pellet from an airgun. If the pellet breaks a bone, the monkey has to get around unaided and with no pain relief until the fracture heals. This can take many weeks and even months. Imagine if you had your femur smashed by a bullet and you had to go about your daily business with a badly broken leg without any medical attention, every day for weeks on end, until it healed. The pain would be unbearable. Monkeys shot in the lung or abdomen suffer indescribable agony and can take up to two weeks to die. Even if we rescue them before they die we have to euthanase them. And many monkeys are also blinded by pellets hitting them in the eye or entering the brain and severing the optic nerve. Considering that monkeys do not attack and injure humans or pets, nothing that a monkey does can be so bad that it deserves this kind of violent abuse. What makes things even worse is how often baby monkeys and pregnant females get shot.

Monkeys being shot with pellet guns is not an uncommon occurrence at MECCE, and that for this to be happening in an upmarket residential estate that markets itself as an eco-estate is indefensible. We know that this has been reported to the MECCEMA on a number of occasions, yet they have done little or nothing to stop it. If they put a fraction of the effort into punishing the shooters as they do to punishing the feeders, it would go a long way toward resolving this problem.

We are appealing to the many MECCE residents who wish the monkeys no harm to help us identify the shooters and to put pressure on the MECCEMA to take strong and decisive action against these callous and intolerant individuals.

We have now set up an urgent meeting for September 10 with the newly appointed MECCE manager in an effort to end the unjustifiable persecution of these world famous Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate monkeys. The outcome of this meeting wll be posted on our blog Wednesday evening.

PS. This information was sent out on September 2 as a press release and forms the basis of the main front page article in the September 9 edition of the Northglen News!

The monkey shown here died as the result of having ten pellets in her body, AND then being struck by a motor car on the M 19 W near Pinetown because, in her pellet-riddled state she could not avoid the cars speeding towards her on the freeway she was trying to cross.

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