I was delighted to see my Consumer Column on Vervet Monkeys feature prominently in the latest Life and Style newspaper. We badly need to learn how to co-exist with these little characters or they will simply die out as a species.

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 wild life without giving a thought to the lives of the endemic creatures that have every right to live and eat and breed in their own habitat – the only homes they have ever known. They don’t have a voice and they have every right to show indignation at 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. Vervet’s in particular have been in the news a lot lately and we want to keep focus on how, instead of treating them like pariah’s 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
Steve 0826594711
Carol 0824115444
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 gjthomo@gmail.com if you would like to voice your opinion or if you have any consumer related queries.


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