Busting the “rabies myth”!!

It’s interesting to note is that not a single primate (non-human, that is!) euthanized after biting a human in the USA and then rabies tested, has ever tested positive! To the best of our knowledge, there has never been a positive rabies test in a Vervet Monkey in South Africa, though we are aware, and publicise the fact, that as with any mammal (humans included), it is possible for a Vervet Monkey to become infected with the rabies virus if directly exposed to it.

Whilst this information is not directly pertinent to the unsupported public fear, fueled by uninformed vets and human doctors alike, that free-ranging Vervet Monkeys are “rabies carriers”, please share it with everyone you think would find the information of use in our ongoing efforts to bust the myth of Vervet Monkeys being “rabies carriers”.

Due to the understandable fear associated with the horror of rabies, Monkey Helpline is frequently contacted for information about Vervet Monkeys and “rabies”. Free-ranging Vervets commonly eat foods that might result in “foamy-type” saliva collecting on the lips around the mouth, which is then incorrectly believed to be a sign of “rabies”, and more so if the animal concerned shows “defensive aggression” or just chatters when approached by a human. Another common misconception is that the repetitive alarm calls, particularly by various categories of male Vervets, and sometimes also occurring during the dead of night, are an indication that the monkey is “injured and calling out in pain”, or is “rabid”. It cannot be stressed enough that everyone involved in working with Vervet Monkeys, at every level and in every capacity, must educate the public with regard to the “truth about Vervet Monkeys and rabies”!

An interesting point to keep in mind and use when appropriate is that during the numerous talks and public presentations given by Carol and I every year to many thousands of people, of all ages and in diverse areas, about monkeys and our work with them, we constantly have to respond to “statements” and questions about Vervets and rabies. However, not once have I ever heard anyone expressing concern about stray dogs and rabies, even whilst it is a reality that rabies is rife in free-roaming, unvaccinated dogs, especially in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and that every person walking or cycling in or close to an urban area or a rural settlement is always at risk of being bitten by such a dog, and then contracting rabies.

Our thoughts on how it is that Vervets have avoided becoming rabies-infected, are that because they are so astute at recognising and responding to “body language”, Vervets see and sense the strange behavior of a rabid dog or other animal and avoid it as a precaution against being attacked by the dog/other animal. And it must be kept in mind that dogs are predators, and even a small dog can deliver a fatal bite to a full-grown monkey, hence monkeys instinctively avoid random contact with dogs a safety precaution. Obviously they have an understanding of the danger of physical injury and death, but have no concept of the “rabies danger”. It is also historically possible that there have been instances when a rabid dog/other animal did managed to attack, bite and infect a free-ranging Vervet Monkey, but the monkey has died from the bite injuries before actually contracting full-blown, transmissible rabies!

We all have the responsibility of emphasizing the importance of rabies vaccinations for domestic dogs and cats, or any other rabies-vulnerable pets and livestock, particularly in a rabies-declared area like KZN where it is compulsory to have your dogs vaccinated against rabies.

State funded rabies vaccinations, given independently of other vaccinations, whether by a private vet or a state vet, are FREE!

 A juvenile Vervet.  Rabid? Definitely NOT!!!  Just frightened?  Definitely!!!
A juvenile Vervet. Rabid? Definitely NOT!!! Just frightened? Definitely!!!

 

This stunning male Vervet’s aggressive defence of a young Vervet run over on a road in Havenside led onlookers to ask Monkey Helpline rescuers if he was “rabid”.
This stunning male Vervet’s aggressive defence of a young Vervet run over on a road in Havenside led onlookers to ask Monkey Helpline rescuers if he was “rabid”.

So deep is the myth about Vervets and rabies etched into peoples’ minds that just about any defensive behavior by Vervets, in response to a real or imagined threat, is interpreted as being a sign that the animal is rabid! People are hugely relieved when told that NO Vervet Monkey in South Africa has ever been recorded as being rabies infected!

This female Vervet Monkey had just seen her baby, struck and killed by a car as they crossed the road, picked up by a rescuer and put into the back of the car.  The rescuer had been called by a jogger who, unaware that a dead baby Vervet lay below the bank next to the road, believed that the mother Vervet’s protective aggression towards him was in fact the behavior of a “rabid” monkey.  The jogger left the scene before the rescuer arrived in response to a second caller who, whilst walking by, noticed the dead baby Vervet and realized that the female Vervet was threatening passers-by in an effort to protect her baby who she was still trying to coax into following her, so called Monkey Helpline to assist.  By coincidence the rescuer was at social event a few days later and overheard a person there telling a group of people how just a few days earlier he had narrowly avoided being attacked by a “rabid monkey” whilst out jogging!  Needless to say, this set the stage for an education session on “Vervets and the Myth about Rabies”!

This female Vervet Monkey had just seen her baby, struck and killed by a car as they crossed the road, picked up by a rescuer and put into the back of the car. The rescuer had been called by a jogger who, unaware that a dead baby Vervet lay below the bank next to the road, believed that the mother Vervet’s protective aggression towards him was in fact the behavior of a “rabid” monkey. The jogger left the scene before the rescuer arrived in response to a second caller who, whilst walking by, noticed the dead baby Vervet and realized that the female Vervet was threatening passers-by in an effort to protect her baby who she was still trying to coax into following her, so called Monkey Helpline to assist. By coincidence the rescuer was at social event a few days later and overheard a person there telling a group of people how just a few days earlier he had narrowly avoided being attacked by a “rabid monkey” whilst out jogging! Needless to say, this set the stage for an education session on “Vervets and the Myth about Rabies”!
Both of these monkeys were rescued on the same day, one directly after the other, from totally different locations, in the final stages of Tetanus (Locked jaw).  The stiffness and inability to eat  immediately aroused suspicions of “rabies” with both callers.  Tetanus infected animals cannot open their mouths once the muscle spasms reach the jaw and neck muscles.  As they get thirstier and hungrier they try to drink and to force food into their mouths, and this crushed food, mixing with the saliva that runs from between their teeth because they cannot swallow it, can form a foaminess around the mouth that leads to suspicions of rabies!
Both of these monkeys were rescued on the same day, one directly after the other, from totally different locations, in the final stages of Tetanus (Locked jaw). The stiffness and inability to eat immediately aroused suspicions of “rabies” with both callers. Tetanus infected animals cannot open their mouths once the muscle spasms reach the jaw and neck muscles. As they get thirstier and hungrier they try to drink and to force food into their mouths, and this crushed food, mixing with the saliva that runs from between their teeth because they cannot swallow it, can form a foaminess around the mouth that leads to suspicions of rabies!

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

As I write these posts I am always mindful of the need to present as much of the positive as is possible in a situation that is really dire as far as Vervet monkeys are concerned. Believe me, this is not an easy task, but in order to retain one’s sanity and be able to find the strength to get up each morning and face the tragedy that you know will hit you right between the eyes and without warning, you cling to the positives and use them as beacons of light as you navigate through the ever present darkness of pain and death that characterizes Vervet monkey rescue and care.

At Monkey Helpline we deal with over seven hundred rescue call-outs every year. As each rescue drama unfolds it is indelibly imprinted in your mind, and such is the effect on subconscious memory that hardly a night passes without a dramatic dream about Vervets. Hardly ever are these dreams pleasant!

And yet, as alluded to earlier, there are positives. I suppose the most pleasantly surprising positive, yet least dramatic, is finding out every day how many people actually love and care for Vervets, or are intrigued and fascinated by them. Everywhere we go we meet these people and they far outnumber the “I hate those invasive, dirty creatures”-brigade. Which is why Monkey Helpline has started on a membership drive calling on all fair-minded, caring and compassionate people to show visible support for the monkeys by becoming a member of Monkey Helpline (there is no membership or joining fee) or any other monkey-care organization. (See recent blog post – “Vervets need your help” – for details on how to become a member)
Now I have to share this with you. Often as we drive around doing a rescue, looking for a monkey, leafleting an area where there are suspected shooters or people are having so-called “monkey problems”, we see people in their cars or gardens who look for all the world as if they could be the shooter or monkey-hater. Just something about their face or demeanor! Well, as you have read in the most recent post prior to this one, a monkey was shot with a bow and arrow by some moral retard in Scottburgh South. In our efforts to locate and trap the injured monkey, we met Adri and Koos in whose garden the troop of monkeys containing the arrow-shot monkey spend time very day. So obviously we knew this would be an ideal place for our trap.
It was an absolute education spending that first afternoon with these two wonderful people in the hope that we would manage to trap Tweeter, as this monkey was known to them. There was this middle-aged couple surrounded by thirty-plus monkeys of all ages and genders, sharing out treats amongst the monkeys and interacting with each one individually as if he or she were a loved member of the family. Adri and Koos called each monkey by name, respected each one’s unique personality and knew who was who’s mother, child or sibling. And so much more!
But Adri and Koos are not unique. We meet good folk like them frequently. But what was unique was seeing Koos amongst the monkeys. Unique because if I had driven past Koos standing in his garden or in front of his house on the verge, I would definitely have made the assumption that here was undoubtedly, at best, a monkey hater or, at worst, a monkey shooter. Why? Well, if you met Koos you would understand why at first glance I would guess that Koos, a retired police dog handler, was a shooter and not a lover of monkeys. Which once again proves that appearances can be deceiving! Very deceiving! Far from hating monkeys, Koos loves them and I had this huge grin inside of me as I listened to Koos telling me how people need to catch a wake up and respect the fact that Vervets occupied the suburbs we now claim as our own, long before the first house or road was built there. Similar sentiments voiced by Adri served to confirm that for as long as these two Vervet monkey guardians reside in Scottburgh South, the monkey haters need to tread carefully. Hearing Koos talk to the monkeys in lyrical and loving tones, calling “his babies” by endearingly affectionate names, is really something special, and I shudder to think what side of Koos the shooter of Tweeter might experience if Koos gets to him before the police do!
So, if you ever happen to be in Scottburgh South, and you see a large, proudly moustached man with a troop of Vervets in close attendance, look and listen carefully, and you too will leave with a big grin inside of you and you will draw comfort from knowing that as long as he is there, that troop of Vervets is about as safe as a troop can be in a suburb that is also the home of at least one sick person who believes it is okay to shoot an arrow through a monkey’s body in a sadistic attempt to kill it!

Pics:

Top pic – Female Vervet monkey, Mommy One-eye, with her most recent baby happily and safely enjoying a snack provided by Adri and Koos.

Bottom pic – Tweeter before the arrow was unexpectedly pulled from his body. Latest news from Adri and Koos today, 3 May, is that Tweeter still vists every day and is looking strong and healthy despite his brush with death.

A Vervet child is born – and orphaned!

(As you read this posting know that it was compiled nearly two months ago, but for reasons I won’t bore you with was never posted. It has such interesting content that I decided to post it anyway!)

These past two-and-a-bit months since the last blog posting have been a real mixed bag. We are seriously into the baby season and sadly the number of babies, born and unborn, that we know of who have died has already has reached deep into the thirties, and this is still early days.

On the positive side though, we have managed to rescue seven babies alive, three of whom have been taken to our friends, James and Jan Hampton, who run an early care/rehabilitation centre in Byrne Valley. One of the babies taken by us to James and Jan, dehydrated and close to death when bought off a road-side “would-be-entrepreneur” for twenty rand by a caring Stanger resident, is now thriving with them after initially being in the temporary good care of Monkey Helpline surrogate mom, Jenny Morgans.

Babies four, five and seven are still in the care of Jenny. The first, Syd (after the Sloth in Ice Age 3), was handed in to a community worker in the southern Kwaulu-Natal (KZN) area between Harding and Kokstad after his mother was killed for bushmeat. The second, Turk, was picked up off the centre white line after he was flung from his mother’s body when she was struck and killed by a motor car near Izotsha, also in southern KZN. Only a few days old, he was very lucky to escape with his life and a few scratches and bruises. Jenny’s third baby is s tiny boy called Yoda whose mother was also killed by a motor car when he was only a day or two old . He is still very traumatized by the terrible ordeal of losing his mother and it is heart-breaking to watch him hold Jenny’s face in his tiny hands and stare deep into her eyes for ages trying to make sense of what has happened to him and why his real mom is no longer with him. But time and Jenny’s wonderful care will heal his sadness. Jenny’s foutth baby Vervet came to us from the Ashburton area close to Pietermaritzburg. Given the name Daisy by Carol, she had a broken left forearm and broken left wrist, and her left eye is missing that part of both upper and lower eyelids that contain the eyelashes. Vets who have looked at her eye are of the opinion that there is a possibility of eyelid reconstruction when she is older. The two breaks in her arm have healed, and though she has limited use of her left hand, it will steadily improve with time.

The next three babies were literally rescued on three consecutive days, and Uvongo-based surrogate mom, Sandy Burrell, who had already passed on one baby Verevt to the Hamptons because she thought she wouldn’t get any more babies, got three from the Monkey Helpline and one from the Durban North-based Burchal Early Care and Rehabilitation Centre within three days. And I hear that Sandy was just beginning to think of planning a Christmas holiday. Sorry for you, Sandy!

Now, as I sit here typing at nearly 2 in the morning, Carol lies asleep behind me with two six-week-old Vervet orphans, exhausted from crying for their moms all day, cuddled together for comfort and fast asleep on her chest. One spent last night alone in a tree in the rain and cold before she was rescued by a caring Forest Hills resident this morning and handed to us. The other was rescued by a varsity student from the jaws of her dogs. Wet and in shock, she was handed to us wrapped in newspaper to keep her warm. Who their surrogate moms will be is tomorrow’s problem.

And in our “high care” are two, two week old babies still with their mothers.

The first mom and baby came to us after being rescued from poachers by an Enforce security guard in Mt Moreland. He saw the poachers carrying the mom by her tail with her few-day-old baby still clinging to her. She had been in the snare long enough to lose the use of her legs and only now, two weeks later, is she starting to move around comfortably. We cannot release her when she recovers because we don’t know where they caught her. If we release her in the wrong territory, monkeys from the resident troop might find her and severely maul, even kill, her and the baby. So her future and that of her baby is either the lengthy three-year rehabilitation process whereby she is bonded into a troop with other randomly rescued Vervets and released into a suitable area, or sanctuary. The extent of her recovery will be the deciding factor.

The second mom and baby were trapped in Hammarsdale this (now yesterday) morning after it was noticed that the mom was very weak and unable to open her mouth to take in food. She had only one visible injury and that was far back on her right side near her leg. It was hard to imagine how this injury could be linked to her eating difficulties, but a veterinary check and an X-ray revealed all – a pellet had entered her body on the right side just in front of her leg, raced through her abdomen leaving violent destruction in its wake and then smashed into the chest where its lethal journey ended behind her left lung. Her pain must have been excruciating. The best veterinary care available couldn’t help her and another orphaned baby Vervet was left in our care!

Both babies are now flourishing and every time we see, safe and happy (relatively) with their human surrogate moms, we are grateful that these precious babies have the best care we can offer them.

Baby number six is a real heartbreak story that I will share with you in the next blog posting later today

Needless to say, this period has also been typically genocidal for the Vevets, with twelve dead over one particularly bloody three-day period. These included a beautiful juvenile Vervet rescued in the suburb of Shallcross. It was just about seven-thirty on a Sunday morning that we received a call from a man saying that a monkey was attacking his dog and threatening his family every time they wanted to go outside the house, and please could we come and catch it and take it away. Fearing that he would be driven to harming the monkey, but also curious as to what would keep the monkey there and make it so aggressive, I rushed to the address given. On arrival I saw that the dog that was being “attacked” by the monkey had thoughtfully been locked in the back yard so that I could deal with the monkey in the front yard. Just as well. It was a fearsome looking Pitbull who would have loved to start his Sunday morning chewing my leg off at the hip. The caller then directed me towards the location of the errant monkey. I nearly burst into laughter, then tears. There huddled on the dustbin was a very small, very unwell, very incapable of attacking a rag-doll, never mind a full grown Pitbull, year-old Vervet in genuine need of urgent veterinary attention. After the simplest of rescues and unsure as to the cause of the little creature’s dazed state I rushed him straight to our vet, Dr Kerry Easson. Initial inspection showed badly swollen palms and soles caused by the little monkey having walked onto a very hot surface. Closer inspection revealed a small cut above the right eye, and an X-ray exposed the truth – a pellet through both hemispheres of the brain, diagonally from right front to left back. One more innocent victim of those despicable sub-humans for whom the deliberate infliction of pain and suffering is the measure of their manhood. Let’s hope they burn in hell along with all the other tyrants who have terrorized innocents through the ages.

In the last posting I mentioned the male Vervet in Kloof with the open injury to his right ankle. Well, we did catch him a few days later and were amazed when veterinary inspection showed that although both the lower leg bones had been fractured a few centimeters above the ankle, the lower ends of the broken bones had already fused with the bone about two centimeters above the break. Our vet trimmed back the dead bone protruding through the skin, cleaned and sutured the wound and sent him home with us for some of Carol’s specialial tlc.

Came the day he was ready for release we took him back to the site of capture. There, sitting all over the roof tops and boundary walls about one hundred and fifty meters away was his whole troop. We placed his box in such a way as to give him sight of his troop just so that we could see his reaction to them and theirs’ to him prior to the planned release. Then we opened the box and out he strolled towards them, as relaxed as could be. Our excitement turned to anxiety when, on being noticed by his troop who literally poured off the roofs and walls in their zest to come and meet him, he turned and walked back towards us, then climbed nonchalantly up onto a boundary wall where he sat calmly with his back towards the approaching horde. Not knowing what to expect, Carol and I got ready to rush to his aid if need be. What happened though was awesomely beautiful. First, two adult males jumped up onto the wall, went right up to him and sniffed his face. He casually returned their greeting. Then one at a time most of the remaining troop members approached him and greeted him in the same way. Throughout the greeting process, soft grunting greeting sounds were exchanged and brief mouth-to-mouth touching occurred. Just as interesting was that no pregnant or infant-carrying females participated in this greeting ritual. After about thirty minutes the entire troop moved off along their foraging route. Two weeks later there was a sighting of him still limping along comfortably with his troop.

Another exciting rescue to rival the heart stopping rescue last year of an adult male Vervet on the fourteenth floor roof of a block of flats in Berea Road in Durban, was that two weeks ago of another adult male Vervet on the roof of a ten story building in Victoria Street in the heart of the city.

As with most monkeys rescued in the city centre, this one was in all likelihood an escapee from the muti or live bushmeat markets close by.

Carrying our trap and other required bits and pieces into a lift that looked as if it should have been condemned to the metal recycling yard fifty years ago, we got to the roof and once Carol had caught sight of the monkey and got his attention by showing him a banana, we set the trap and waited. But this was one monkey who was not going walk straight into the trap. He would come down and eat from Carol’s hand but refused to go into the trap for the banana she tossed in for him. It was obvious that my presence bothered him because he kept peeping around the corner to see where I was. So I left the trapping to Carol and made my way to ground zero to fetch a packet of monkey nuts which I thought we might need, and also to satisfy myself that our car was still where we left it parked in the very cosmopolitan and full of looking-for-a-Monkey Helpline-vehicle-to-steal characters.

Satisfied that our car with all its bits and pieces were still where we had left it, and armed with the monkey nuts that would surely lure the monkey into the trap in no time at all, I again braved the antique elevator to the top of the building. Excited children and a smug Carol greeted me and I knew that my monkey nuts would not be needed. In no time we transferred the monkey to a transport box and less than half an hour later released him into a very monkey friendly semi-urban area adjacent to a large, monkey paradise conservation area.
Watching him taking in his new surroundings we could not help but wonder what he must have been thinking to have suddenly arrived there after having spent the previous days dodging traffic and hordes of shoppers and jumping from one tall building to the next in an environment so alien to his nature! We can only presume that he felt relieved, but our feelings of joy and satisfaction were very obvious!

Monkey Helpline update – July 21 to mid-August 2009

Every time I write a posting for this blog I am so enthused by the act of sharing with interested people all that which we deal with every day that I fully intend doing a daily posting so that every day’s activities are shared with you. But then the reality of what keeps us hectically busy each day kicks in and days, weeks and even a month pass before I get to sharing our trials and tribulations, joys and heartaches with you again. But right now, as I sit here typing, I am again enthused in exactly the same way so, come hell or high water, I will do another posting tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, and … . We’ll see!

So what have Carol and I been up to since our last posting more than a month ago?

Well, what I can tell you is that our “high care” has never been so full, for a short while reaching forty-two monkeys in various states of physical healing. At present we have thirty-three monkeys in our care. During this time we transferred six monkeys to WATCH, the Vervet rehabilitation centre near Vryheid run by Bruce Cronk and Sandy Palm. Another twelve monkeys were transferred to The Hamptons Wild Care Center in Byrne Valley run by our friends James and Jan Hampton. These monkeys will form the core of the seed troop that James and Jan will build with the babies they receive from rescuers during this coming birthing season.

It really sounds terrible to say that we have dealt with the usual spate of injuries and deaths caused mostly by motor vehicles, dog attacks, pellet guns, electrocution, monkey fights, snares, razor wire and the rest, but that is the reality. This really is monkey hell and not much changes for the monkeys from one month to the next.

We rescued another juvenile monkey covered in paint, details contained in the following article written by us for the South Coast Sun newspaper, and published:

Horrible sights greet the Monkey Helpline rescuers as they go about the daily business of rescuing badly injured, sick or otherwise in desperate need of human help Vervet monkeys. And this past week has been no exception!

“Amongst the heart-breaking sights that have greeted us was that of a juvenile monkey in Athlone Park, Amanzimtoti covered in white acrylic PVA paint.,” said Monkey Helpline co-ordinator, Steve Smit. “Between November 2008 and January 2009 we rescued three painted monkeys from the same area. There is an old myth that if you catch a monkey and paint it white it will run back to its troop which in turn will run away from it and ultimately disappear over the horizon. Obviously some people in Athlone Park who are being troubled by monkeys believe this nonsense and have decided that this is the way to resolve their problem.”

“The first three monkeys were trapped and painted by the same person who we identified and have reported to the Amanzimtoti SAPS,” said Steve. We are awaiting the state prosecutor’s decision on prosecution.”

After three days of attempting to catch this latest victim of the “white paint myth”, Steve and fellow Monkey Helpline co-ordinator, Carol Booth, managed to rescue the little monkey after it was trapped in the house of the caring Athlone Park resident who had originally noticed the traumatized animal and reported it to the Monkey Helpline.

“Our efforts to trap the monkey were unsuccessful because every time it came near any food we put down the other monkeys would chase it away because of its unfamiliar appearance. It was badly traumatized due to constant harassment by fellow troop members and was getting really hungry,” Steve explained. “As with the previous three painted monkeys from the same area, this one was found right in the midst of its troop, which once again shows that the whole thing about painting monkeys to keep the troop away is a load of hogwash. In fact the only consequence is extreme cruelty which will result in prosecution if the culprit is caught. The Animal Protection Act makes provision for severe penalties for animal cruelty offenders if found guilty.”

Amazingly, during the second day’s efforts to catch the painted monkey, the rescuers were approached by a man who lived close by and asked what they were doing. “We told him we were trying to catch a monkey and he offered to catch one for us,” said Steve. “He said he had caught one just a day or two ago and painted it white before releasing it. I could hardly believe my ears and our luck. I pretended to doubt his ability to do this and asked him how he had managed to do so. He said I should accompany him into his property, which myself and fellow Monkey Helpline rescuer, Rhyan Rudman, did. This man, who identified himself as Jay, took us to an outside room and pointed to this as the place in which he had trapped the monkey. When I asked how had had actually restrained the monkey in order to paint it, he replied that he had thrown a loose carpet over the animal and held it like that whilst the white paint was poured over it. The carpet as well as the tin of paint had been left right there where the act of cruelty had taken place. There was also a lot of white paint on the ground as well as low down on the outside wall of the room. I had no doubt that this was exactly where the little monkey had been caught and painted.”

Steve said that he had already been to the Amanzimtoti police station and discussed this incident with the Senior Superintendent in charge. “We have been asked to provide sworn statements regarding this incident after which the Senior Superintendent will discuss the matter with the State Prosecutor with a view to prosecuting the offender. This is a blatant act of cruelty and we want an example made of this man. People need to know that cruelty to animals is unacceptable in a civilized society and that offenders will be punished to the full extent that the law permits.”

As for the little monkey, he will remain in the care of Steve and Carol, who run the Monkey Helpline “high care” at their home, until all the paint has been removed. Then he will be returned to his troop.

We rescued a sub-adult female Vervet on the Prince’s Grant Golf Estate who somehow got entangled in a fishing trace and had treble-hooks embedded in her mouth and right leg. The hooks were connected by nylon and trace-wire and even had a float attached. As the monkey moved around the hooks tore at her flesh causing sever injuries and infection. At one stage she actually carried the float in her hand as she moved around the golf estate. The day before we trapped her, the hooks must have been torn from her flesh after getting caught on vegetation as she ran through the bush, leaving ugly wounds.

Whilst in our care, and under veterinary treatment, she almost died from the infection caused by her injuries, but with the expert treatment by our dedicated vet, Dr Kerry Easson, and Carol’s tireless after-vet care, she made a full recovery and was released back to her troop on September 1, fittingly, International Primate Day!

Then there was the juvenile Vervet from Salt Rock with a nylon snare around her chest, trapped by a dedicated husband and wife team, Jane and Dirk, with a trap loaned from Primates Africa. We were asked by PA to remove the monkey from the trap, which we did. We then removed the nylon snare which had cut so deeply into the little monkey that she had to be taken to the vet to be cleaned and stitched. After ten days in the Monkey Helpline “high care” she was released back to her mother by Jane (pic on the right) and Dirk.

Sadly, our records for rescue call-outs for the past three months show just over one hundred and fifty dead monkeys – sixty-seven for June alone! Such carnage, yet we are still confronted daily by those intolerant, self-absorbed, small-minded idiots who insist that there is an overpopulation of monkeys and that they should be culled, “as was done in the good old days”! Well, lots of things that were done in “the good old days” are no longer permitted in the democratic, post-apartheid South Africa, but I guess some people never change.

That’s it for tonight. As promised, another posting will follow in the early, gravel-eyed hours of tomorrow!!