Imagine a world without wildlife. There are many areas on our planet that are totally devoid of all things wild, thanks to man’s intolerance or greed. The point is, man has simply bulldozed his way through the territory of indigenous wildlife without giving a thought to the wild creatures that live there – the only homes they have ever known. They don’t have a voice to raise concern over the way they are being treated.
In this portion of the planet, it’s the little Vervet monkeys and the mongoose families that have been here forever but who are finding it extremely difficult to find new homes when we keep digging them up or tearing them down. Vervets in particular have been in the news a lot lately and we want to focus on how, instead of treating them like pariahs and harming them, we learn to co-exist with them and understand them.
Fortunately for the Vervet families, there is an amazing group of people who have got together to donate their time and energy to deal with monkeys that have been persecuted or harmed by people in KZN. They are the people from Monkey Helpline, a group of volunteers who got together over 20 years ago to help educate people about the reasons why monkeys behave the way they do, the things people should and should not do when monkeys are around and how to humanely coax them away from places where they are not welcome. Monkeys will not attack and bite people unless they have been threatened and they don’t carry rabies (absolutely no documented cases).
Incidentally, a troop of monkeys is bonded to its territory through a matrilineal line that spans many generations. Female Vervets never leave their territory, so the monkeys that you see in your area descend from females who lived in the same area thousands of years ago. Even when we destroy their territory, they cannot leave. They simply have to learn to survive in a monkey unfriendly world. Let’s change that! They need and deserve our tolerance and understanding.
If you are already a fan of the Vervet and would like to do something to help these amazing little creatures then please get involved. If you are not a fan and feel that you need to know more please get in touch:
Monkey Helpline KZN: www.monkeyhelpline.co.za
Rescue & Co-ordinator Ballito – Craig 0836614000
Rescue: Callum 0767095802 & Etienne 078739839
Public Relations & Rescue Ballito – Laura 0826829484
As mentioned, these people are all volunteers. Monkey Helpline needs financial assistance and they would also be grateful for donations of: blankets, towels, gum poles to maintain enclosures, old newspapers, cleaning products, fruit and veg, hand sanitizers, baby formula, cat boxes, flashlights and head torches, binoculars, raincoats, bush socks, hiking boots, sun glasses, water bottles, tools, nails and screws, vehicle spares, tyres, office equipment, building materials, spades, shovels, picks and axes. They also need help with: printing, hosting fundraisers, legal assistance, locating corporate sponsors, celebrity endorsements and vehicle maintenance and spares.
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to voice your opinion or if you have any consumer related queries. Thanks to everyone who got in touch after my last column on the hazardous patches on the N2 between Ballito and Stanger. I keep following up with Ridhwaan Mahomed (email@example.com. Telephone 03339228141) the SANRAL person who deals with this stretch of road, and yes, SANRAL are still waiting for funding from treasury so that they can appoint a new contractor.