Wednesday, 22 September 2010



Gremlins even sneak into blog postings and this happened when the wrong pic found its way into the post, "Monkeys in the news - again!" Close inspection will show that the top pic in the post is not the adult male, Nico, rescued from Winklespruit, but rather a pregnant female who was also rescued in Hudd Road, Athlone Park after being attacked and badly bitten by other monkeys.

Nico will get his chance at fame in a future post!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Monkeys in the news - again!

What follows formed the basis of a good article that recently appeared in the "Fever" news tabloid which is distributed free of charge to residents of the upper South Coast area of KwaZulu-Natal. The article sparked a good response from readers, most of which was positive and supportive of Monkey Helpline and the monkeys :-
Yesterday was a typical day for Monkey Helpline rescuers, Steve Smit and Carol Booth, and that two of their rescue calls were from the Amanzimtoti and Winklespruit area came as no surprise.

“We have come to expect that a disproportionately high number of monkeys in this area are victims of the deliberately cruel actions of people who are intolerant of monkeys and who believe that they can injure or kill monkeys with impunity”, said Steve.

“Our first rescue yesterday in Winklespruit was a mature adult male Vervet with severe bite wounds to his lower back and neck. These could have been the result of a fight with another male monkey. However, the injuries did not appear to be the cause of the monkey’s poor state of health and we suspect that x-rays will reveal one of more lead pellets that have been deliberately shot into the monkey as he moved around his territory”.
(Top pic shows Nico, as he was named by John from Winklespruit who kept an eye on this monkey until rescuers arrived to catch him, in a transport box en route to the vet for a check up. He is recovering well from the terrible wounds that were so infected he was dying from the toxins flooding through his body. Initially the wounds did not seem to be the main cause of his poor state, but as the infected wounds healed, it became obvious that they had indeed been the cause of his debilitated state.)

Steve says that over eighty percent of all the monkeys rescued by Monkey Helpline over the past number of years have got lead pellets lodged in various parts of their body. “Many of these monkeys were in the process of dying a slow and painful death and those who could not be saved by veterinary intervention had to be humanely euthanised. Shooting animals with a pellet gun is extremely cruel, unnecessary and illegal and we will lay charges against any person identified as discharging a pellet gun in a residential area, whether or not they are actually shooting at monkeys or any other animal. Discharging or even pointing a pellet gun in a residential area or anywhere that poses a danger to another person or property is illegal in terms of specific paragraphs of Section 120 of the Firearm Control Act, At 60 of 2000. Shooting an animal with a pellet gun is also an offence in terms of the Animal Protection Act”.

The second rescue yesterday was in the Amanzimtoti area in Hudd Road, Athlone Park, and sadly was a little female monkey only eighteen months only. “She had been shot into her head, the pellet smashing through her left eyebrow and lodging in her brain. She stumbled around for hours as her brain swelled and eventually she fell off a garden wall and thrashed about on the ground until she died”. The person who called Monkey Helpline to rescue the little monkey thought she had been poisoned, but as soon as Steve and Carol arrived on the scene they noticed the pellet wound to the monkey’s head. “She suffered terrible pain and anxiety before dying”, said Steve. “She tried to keep up with her troop as it moved along but became disorientated and lost her way. A neighbour said he had seen her in his garden earlier that day and realized that something was wrong with her, but she disappeared before he could phone for help”.
(Lower pic - Fifteen-year-old Shannon Wood, the schoolgirl pro-Vervet crusader, who helps out at the Monkey Helpline "high care" every spare moment she has, goes on rescues with us and also takes care of baby and "special care" Vervets, holds the little monkey who died horribly after being shot in Hudd Road, Amanzimtoti. She also sets up and manages our education table at the Essenwood Market every Saturday. She is one awesome little lady!)

Steve appealed to people having problems with the presence of monkeys to call Monkey Helpline for advice on how to deter them humanely. “We have helped thousands of people throughout KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere in South Africa who have had problems with the presence of monkeys, and those who say our advice does not work for them are in a minority who just don’t want to make the relatively small effort to put our suggestions into practice”.

At the time of the rescue in Hudd Road, Monkey Helpline volunteers leafleted the area with information about pellet gun cruelty and the legal consequences of discharging a pellet gun in a residential area. During this process the volunteers met a number of Athlone Park residents who were horrified about the shooting of the little monkey and undertook to report any person they saw using a pellet gun. “This was absolutely the same response we get wherever we go”, said Steve. “Only a small minority of people will deliberately resort to cruel and illegal methods to kill monkeys or chase them away from their property. With the support of law-abiding and caring people we will identify the shooters and we will have them prosecuted”.

Getting nespapers to run articles on Monkey helpline and the plight of Vervet monkeys in Southy Africa is critically important to the success of our efforts on behalf of these persecuted, maligned and misunderstood little animals. If readers of this post have any contacts in the media who they can get to write pro-monkey articles, then please get them to contact us!

Sunday, 19 September 2010


“I own a thatched property in Marina Beach, lower south coast. My roof is being systematically destroyed by a troop(s) of monkeys. When I contacted my insurance broker about a claim to effect repairs, he told me that monkeys are classed as vermin, so I would not be able to claim for the damage/repairs. Is this the case?If monkeys are vermin, is it legal to poison them like rats & mice? I understand the need for conservation of nature in the area. However I can't afford the bills to continually repair my thatch”.

Above is an extract from a letter I received this past week, and it so clearly illustrates the stupidity that informs the thinking of a small but dangerous number of morally retarded cretins whose actions are having a terrible impact on the lives of many monkeys throughout KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of South Africa. What kind of twisted mind are we dealing with, who even considers poisoning as an acceptable means of resolving his problems with monkeys?

Certainly in KZN monkeys are not classified as vermin and it is most definitely illegal to “poison them like rats and mice”! Fact is that monkeys are protected nationally by the Animal Protection Act and provincially by the KZN Nature Conservation Ordinance. They are also protected by the efforts of organizations like Monkey Helpline, various animal protection groups, and by a not insignificant body of ordinary people who feel very strongly about the welfare of monkeys and other animals.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post, namely, to show that without the support of the animal-caring public, Monkey Helpline cannot carry out its mandate to educate, rescue, provide veterinary care, post-veterinary care, rehabilitate, release or provide life-long sanctuary.

Yes, without this support Monkey Helpline would not even have known about most of the three-hundred and twenty-seven rescue callouts we responded to between January 1 and June 30 this year. These calls originated from across the age, race and gender spectrum, from people representing all sectors of our society, but all of them with three things in common – decency, integrity and compassion!

And if this seems like a high number of monkeys in need of our help, believe us when we tell you that it represents only a fraction of the total number of monkeys suffering and dying in places where no caring person gets to see them and do something to help. If Monkey Helpline rescue figures are extrapolated to the total area traversed by troops of monkeys throughout KwaZulu-Natal every day, then a staggering number of monkeys are being injured or killed here every year. Judging by the non-scientific observations by Monkey Helpline rescuers of the situation as it affects urban Vervet monkeys, it is not unrealistic to fear the extinction of these little animals within the lifetime of our current generation.
(The pics exhibited in this posting show just how deranged a person can be. Top pic shows a beautiful adult male Vervet with an arrow shot from a bow through his arm. Next pic shows the x-ray of his humerus shattered by the arrow just above the elbow joint. Bottom pic of this monkey after the broken arrow was removed from his arm, with veterinarian, Dr Kerry Easson holding the three pieces of arrow.)

If you want to make a real difference for monkeys in South Africa, you cannot do better than to show your support for our efforts to help them. We know from our day to day experiences, and the people we meet and talk to, that there are far more people who care about the welfare of monkeys than there are people who dislike and loathe monkeys to the extent of harming or killing them. Unfortunately the pro-monkey people are not as vociferous about their feelings as are the anti-monkey people. We need to let these anti-monkey cretins know that they are a small minority whose aggression and violence towards monkeys will not be allowed to go unchallenged.

So, how do YOU show the monkeys that you are batting for them?

Its pretty simple. Arrange with your kids' school for Monkey Helpline to come and do a Power Point-supported talk to pupils and teachers. Volunteer to work at the Monkey Helpline “high care” and recovery facility. Distribute Monkey helpline leaflets. Become a "monkey monitor”. Help us at our Essenwood Market table on Saturdays between 8.30am and 2pm – an hour or two whenever you can, would be a great help. Become a Monkey helpline member, donor or sustainer. This and so much more – contact Steve or Carol on 082 659 4711 or 082 411 5444 respectively or email us at .
Remember, without your help and support we cannot continue helping monkeys in distress. THE MONKEYS NEED YOU!!!