Sunday, 07 November 2010

What an eventful past few weeks. I could write three blog postings every day in an effort to keep you abreast of everything we have experienced and witnessed. There has been heartache and elation, incredulity, anger, confirmation in our belief that most people are genetically programmed to be caring and compassionate, and even laughter.

In this blog posting I’ll share with you “part 1” of an experience that grows from the depths of desperate heartache to the unexpected pinnacle of elation.

Heartache as we gathered up the broken bodies of five Vervet monkeys killed south of Durban on the N2 in one tragic incident – three on the southbound lanes and two on the edge of the median adjacent to the north bound lanes. Two adult females, their two-year old daughters and an about-to-be-born baby, all killed by motor vehicles, with the unborn baby literally smashed from her mother’s broken body. And as we darted across a busy freeway collecting the bodies, two newly orphaned young Vervet monkeys sat in a nearby tree calling pathetically for mothers and siblings whose answering calls and loving caress they would never hear or feel again.

There will no doubt be criticism of our risk-taking on a busy freeway to collect the bodies of already dead monkeys, but unfortunately, leaving them on or near the road often results in further tragedy as related monkeys, especially the youngsters or mothers of those killed, run back onto the road confused as to why the dead or injured monkeys are not moving or following. Furthermore, dead animals left in the road often lead to the death of other animals, such as raptors and mongooses, even domestic dogs and cats, who attempt to feed off the freshly killed animal.

The two monkeys on the median had been moved there by Karon Hutchison who witnessed the terrible tragedy and couldn’t bear to leave the two bodies on the road surface where they would be mangled by racing wheels. It was as she was about to move the body of the adult female that she noticed the little baby miraculously still clinging to his dead mother. In disbelief she removed the totally unharmed baby from his mother’s body, took him home with her to St Winifreds and called Monkey Helpline. That’s where we met baby Kyle, named after Karon’s son who was lovingly holding and nurturing the baby when we arrived to take over the responsibility of caring for the tiny tot. (Top pic shows the proud trio of Gary, Karon and Kyle Hutchison with baby Kyle, just before handing him into the care of Monkey Helpline).

En route back to Durban we rang Jenny Morgans, Monkey Helpline’s human surrogate mother of note, and told her that a newly orphaned Vervet monkey baby was heading her way. By the time we reached Jenny she had already prepared a warm bottle, a cuddly toy and warm, soft blanket to welcome Kyle.

(Bottom pic is a close-up of baby Kyle - a few days old yet already orphaned).

With baby Kyle safely entrusted to the best care possible other than what he would have experienced with his own mother, Carol and I turned our attention to the next rescue call-out!

But if the tragedy of part 1 has left you sad and despairing, then look out for part 2, to follow shortly. I promise it will leave you smiling and with a warm feeling in your heart!

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