September 10

This day is a mixed bag for the Monkey Helpline rescue team. At 7.00 am, Mark from the heavy transport company at Avoca called to tell us that the young, seriously injured monkey who had evaded capture the previous day by hiding in a reed-bed, was lying on a roof girder in the company workshop. So once again kids are rushed through the final morning routine pre dropping off at school and Carol and I fret and curse as we negotiate the morning rush hour traffic whilst trying to get to the monkey before it disappears again. This monkey is in desperate need of being caught!

Arriving at the site we are waved through the security checkpoint by the security officer with hurried finger pointings in the direction of the workshop where “Mark is waiting for you with the monkey!” At the workshop we see the pathetically thin monkey standing under one of the lights, obviously enjoying the heat it generates. He was immediately aware that something was afoot and hobbled painfully along the eight meter high girder and climbed through a small opening into the adjacent workshop. As I clambered up steel structures to cut off his escape route, he turned around and climbed back into the first workshop. As we watched, he stopped, head in one workshop, tail still in the other. Unbeknownst to me Carol had seen him coming back into the first workshop and had climbed up the steel supports to block his route. Knowing that the sound of the ladder being pushed up against the workshop wall would frighten him into movement, I used the ladder-like workshop support structures to climb quietly up to him. His tail, still visible, was very quickly in my grip and he was crying pathetically in frightened panic. I dropped him gently into the net that Carol had brought as soon as she realized I had caught the monkey. We boxed him and took him straight to our vet, Dr Kerry Easson, at Riverside Veterinary Clinic in Durban North.

Once sedated ( see pic above), Kerry checked him to assess his injuries and general condition. The right pelvis was totally crushed, and his right leg was non functional. He was severely dehydrated after days of struggling to find food and water and fighting off the massive infection in his pelvis and abdomen. We could do nothing to heal him so he was gently euthanased.

Then on to the 9.00 am meeting with the Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate Two (MECCE2)management association members in connection with our concerns about monkeys being shot with pellet guns on the estate. (Recall our related press release to the North Glen News contained in an earlier blog posting.)

We are happy to say that the meeting went well and we were subsequently able to provide the North Glen News with the following:

“We were positively received and they made it very clear that they would not tolerate any cruelty to animals on the estate. This includes shooting of monkeys. They pointed out that the use of pellet guns on the estate is banned and are totally committed to finding out who the shooters are and will deal with them very harshly, including laying charges with the SAPS and taking action in terms of MECCE rules of residence. Notices reaffirming the MECCEMA regulation banning the use of pellet guns on the estate will be sent out to all MECCE residents.

As for our concern that they were acting against the “feeders” and not the “shooters”, they pointed out that it was far easier to identify the former than the latter.

They agreed, in fact requested, to work closely with the Monkey Helpline in addressing any human/monkey related problems on the estate, and have asked Lynette Webber, who works closely with Monkey Helpline, to join their “environmental committee”. She has agreed to do so. The issue of feeding stations for monkeys on the estate, as a means of lessening the incidence of residents having monkeys enter their homes in search of food, will be revisited.

Furthermore, they have agreed to our suggestion that we hold a Monkey Helpline Open Day Education Exhibit at MECCE on Sunday, October 12.

We feel confident that the new MECCE Estate Two manager and the new MECCE board of directors, together with the Monkey Helpline, will play an important and positive role in managing the monkey issue on MECCE. We have undertaken to personally visit and advise any resident of MECCE who is having problems with the monkeys.”

And just to end the day on a positive note, we moved two monkeys from our high care facility at home to two large exercise enclosures at the Durban-based wildlife rehabilitation centre, CROW. One is an adult female from Pietermaritzburg who had been pregnant when she was struck by a motor car. She aborted her almost fully developed baby in our high care facility two days after being rescued. The other monkey is a beautiful, big adult male who was also struck by a motor car and luckily only sustained severe concussion and some deep lacerations. Both need to spend ten days to two weeks in the exercise enclosures to build up some muscle tone and fitness after spending weeks in small cages recuperating. The female will be released back to her troop, and the male will be released right where we rescued him so that he can continue the life he was leading when struck by the motor car.