Monkey shot with bow and arrow in Scottburgh South

This post starts with a letter sent to, and published in, the Mid-South Coast Mail on 13 April this year. The letter follows:

Dear Editor,

This is an urgent plea from Monkey Helpline to residents of Scottburgh South for assistance in
locating a critically injured adult male Vervet monkey.

Today, April 11, we were called to Ann Arbour Road where a resident had the horrifying experience of seeing this male monkey with a red and yellow, flighted arrow protruding from both sides of the body. The monkey was trying to drink water from her swimming pool. By the time we arrived in Scottburgh from Westville the monkey had moved off. After searching for a
while we sighted the monkey lying over a branch in a tree across the road.

In obvious pain the monkey would not respond to our attempts to lure him down to our trap and we had to think of other ways to capture him. At that point the only method of capture that might have been successful was through the use of a tranquilizing dart.

It took us over two and a half hours to locate a vet capable of darting the monkey and willing to assist us. Unfortunately just as the vet was preparing to fire the dart, the monkey, who hadn’t moved for over two hours, looked down, saw what was about to happen and fled through the trees. An exhaustive search for the monkey proved fruitless.

We appeal to anyone who sees this monkey to please call us on 0826594711 or 0824115444. We also appeal to anyone who might know the person who shot the monkey or is aware of a neighbor using a bow and arrow in that area to share this information with us.

A last word for the shooter; “If we do not catch this monkey soon, he will die a slow and agonizing death. So when you go to bed tonight imagine how you would feel if you were lying there with a spear stuck through your body, with no pain relief, no antibiotics, hungry, thirsty and unable to sleep because of the unrelenting pain wracking your body. You are undoubtedly a cruel and sadistic coward and we will find you and you will be prosecuted ! “.

Update: Last weekend Tweeter, amazingly still alive and seemingly healthy, arrow protruding grotesquely through his body, entered a Monkey Helpline trap left at a home where he was loved, fed and relaxed. Unfortunately he managed to avoid being trapped but as he backed out of the trap the arrow got stuck in the side wire and pulled out of his body. The arrow remained in the trap but Tweeter is running free. He has been seen almost every day and still seems in good health. Expert veterinary opinion is that the arrow must have missed all vital organs and blood vessels and that there is a good chance that Tweeter will survive without veterinary intervention.
Today, 2 May, Monkey Helpline submitted the following article for publication in this week’s Mid-South Coast Mail:
Reward offered

A reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of the person or persons involved in the recent bow and arrow shooting of Tweeter, the Scottburgh South male Vervet monkey.

Monkey Helpline spokesperson, Steve Smit, says his organisation is offering a R1000 reward for any information that will enable the organization to seek justice for Tweeter and all the other monkeys who are constantly the victims of human acts of violence. “We are an NGO and entirely volunteer driven so do not have the resources to offer a larger reward. However, we believe that someone out their knows who shot Tweeter and is just waiting for the right moment or incentive to share that information with us so that charges can be laid in terms of the Animal Protection Act. Anyone wanting to increase the incentive by adding to the reward can contact this newspaper. The many Scottburgh South residents who know Tweeter for his gentle and relaxed demeanor are incensed by this senseless act of violence against him. Like us, they want to see the perpetrator arrested and charged ”.

Steve says that although the incidence of monkeys being shot at with pellet guns, catapults, paintball guns and bows results in a high number of injuries and death, the people doing this are relatively few in number. “Unfortunately, it takes only one heartless person or irresponsible child in your street, complex or neighbourhood to shoot at monkeys every time they are able to and the results are disastrous for the monkeys. The consequences are pain and tremendous suffering, and often a lingering death over weeks. Over eighty percent of all monkeys rescued by Monkey Helpline have got lead pellets in their bodies, a terrible statistic considering we do over seven hundred rescues every year”.

And the shooting of Tweeter with a bow and arrow was not an isolated incident. According to Steve he has been told of a number of monkeys found with arrows through their bodies, and has had personal experience of quite a few of them over the years. “Recently we trapped a male Vervet in Waterfall near Hillcrest with an arrow through his arm. The arrow smashed the bone just above the elbow joint and only excellent work by our vet, Dr Kerry Easson, saved his arm. The monkey was successfully released back to his troop two months later. We have even rescued a Hadeda with an arrow right through his body, and last year we found an arrow on our lawn next to our monkey exercise cages”.

“On another occasion, after we had completed an educational talk about monkeys at a primary school, we were approached by a pupil who tearfully told us that her dad had recently shot two monkeys in their Kloof garden with his bow and arrow. She said her dad had put down food on the lawn for the monkeys and whilst they were huddled around the food eating it, he shot at them. She said the arrow went through two of the monkeys and they both died. He just put them in a black bag and left them outside for the refuse collection. I asked if the monkeys were a problem to her family and she said they all loved the monkeys so she doesn’t know why her dad shot them”.

Steve appealed to people who are troubled by the presence of monkeys not to harm them, but rather to get in touch with Monkey Helpline for advice and assistance. “At worst monkeys can be a nuisance, but they are not dangerous and only very rarely, after extreme provocation have they been known to bite in self-defence. So, unless you literally grab hold of a monkey, or your dog catches and bites a monkey, you or your dog are not in any danger of being bitten”.

Monkey Helpline offers free advice on how to deal humanely with an unwanted monkey presence. “There is no reason to ever hurt a monkey”, says Steve. “And once we explain why monkeys are here, that there is no monkey overpopulation, that monkeys don’t attack and bite people or pets, that here has never been a recorded case of rabies in a Vervet monkey in South Africa and that monkeys are a very important part of our natural environment, most people have a better understanding of, and attitude towards, them. All it takes is a bit of tolerance and understanding. The monkeys were here long before we were, and they have nowhere else to go”!

Pics top down:

Top pic: Tweeter photographed a week after he was shot with the arrow, and a week before the arrow got stuck in the trap and pulled out of his body.

Middle pic: The trap with the arrow still in it after Tweeter managed to avoid getting caught.

Bottom pic: This stunning adult male Vervet shot though his arm by an unknown person in Waterfall near Hillcrest. The pic shows him under sedation at the veterinary clinic prior to removal of the arrow and pinning of the smashed bone.