Like every Saturday, this one starts with our outreach/education table at the Essenwood Market in Durban. And like every other Saturday at the Market, a rescue callout interrupts our enthusiastic engagement with people wanting to know more about the work we do with monkeys, or want advice on how to keep monkeys out of their home and garden, or people who just want to tell us how much they despise monkeys – fortunately not many of this last lot.
This time the call is from St. Winifreds in Amanzimtoti south of Durban. Carol stays at the market and I attend to the callout. The monkey is an adult male with a badly injured left arm. He has been sprawled on a branch all morning with the injured arm just hanging down. When he gets uncomfortable and changes position, the arm is not used at all. From what I can see he has a bad cut under the left upper arm into the shoulder joint. There is a lot of blood but the wound has stopped bleeding. He shows no interest in the food offered to entice him within catching range and the only way we will possibly catch him is by darting him with a sedative. Friend Daniel from the Pietermaritzburg SPCA arrives and attempts a darting. But the wind is howling and the shot is not a good one. The dart does however hit the monkey and galvanizes him into action. He jumps from the tree onto a roof and from there to the ground and races away. Daniel and I, nets in hand, race after him in the hope that enough of the sedative has been released into his muscle to at least slow him down after a couple of minutes. No such luck! A hundred meters further and he has disappeared. We search in vain and eventually admit that we have lost him. We can only hope that he has made it into the nearby bush and that if the drug does take affect he will sleep it off in the safety of the impenetrable vegetation.
We ask a few locals who are sympathetic to the monkeys to keep a look out for him and notify us if they see him.
Back to the Market just in time to help Carol with packing up.
As we leave the Market we receive another rescue callout. This time it is a young monkey at a home in Shallcross, barely able to drag himself along. Carol tells the caller to secure the monkey by placing a laundry basket over him and holding it down until we arrive. Far too often callers have assured us that the animal cannot move and is virtually dead, only for us to arrive at the scene to find the animal disappeared, because they did not keep watch over it as requested by us.