The con in conservation – South African legislation.

WESTERN CAPE 2015:

The con in conservation.

During my seventeen years working with wild primates, one nagging concern remained consistent: our nature conservation authorities appeared to be on the wrong side.The 2015 hunting notice allows for baboons/monkeys to be killed  using various methods once again instilling the chilling reminder that they seem to support the self-serving interests of farmers and hunters at the expense of the environment. If our nature conservation authorities are unable to view the environment as a whole but continue to support legislation that allows so-called “problem species” (as defined by certain sectors of society) to be persecuted, we are given little hope for South Africa’s environmental future.

The vervet monkey and chacma baboon are protected and listed under appendix two of C.I.T.E.S  which warns that trade in these species needs to be monitored to ensure they do not become endangered.

Except for the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, primate populations are not monitored and assumptions are conveniently made using old, outdated data.

A COMMON MISCONCEPTION:

A healthy monkey or baboon troop is made up of a fragile, cohesive social system and  is measured by the age/sex ratio of members. Measuring the health of a primate group by relying on numbers – as if they are  autonomous objects – is where most people go wrong. Primates are social animals!

Baboons are not Predators!

“Baboons are not natural predators and thus would not normally attack a human unless threatened in some way. Examples of this would be if a baboon is made to feel trapped (e.g., inside a house with no escape route), if a person tries to take something away from a baboon (e.g., food), or if a person gets between an adult baboon and its infant. A baboon may also feel threatened if you look at it directly in the eyes, as baboons use direct eye contact to threaten one another.” For more info: http://www.imfene.org/misconceptions-about-baboons

oct9 Tau – a young baboon shot by dairy farmer – The Crags.

Wild primates are not commonly regarded as venison:

As the chacma baboon and vervet monkey are not considered to be venison, their presence on the hunting list is highly questionable.

Hunting primates and zoonotic diseases:

Humans, baboons and monkeys all belong to the primate family making the transmission of diseases between them particularly risky.

Baboons share 92% of the same DNA as humans, monkeys share 91% and bonobos share 99%.

The presence of wild primates on the hunting list encourages the consumption of bushmeat and the consequential spreading of zoonotic diseases (Simian Foamy Virus, TB, Ebola etc.)

 There is no “sport value in hunting primates:

Wild primates do not regard human primates as predators and do not fear them the way they would a predator. Instead, they regard as another primate species with whom they sometimes need to compete with for resources. The level of fear they exhibit – or the lack of it – is due to learnt experience as they move through life interacting with either hostile or kind, friendly humans. Their tendency to get close to humans makes them highly vulnerable to being hunted at close range and the total lack of “sport value” makes it akin to canned hunting.

Damage caused to troop structures:

The vervet monkey and chacma baboon are listed on the hunting list based on the assumption that these populations are plentiful; it is widely believed that they are commonly seen and are therefore healthy. This is a misconception for the following reasons:

This view does not take the damage done to troop structures into consideration but regards these highly social species in terms of numbers only, without any regard to the dependence they have on a healthy social system. A healthy primate troop relies on a fragile social system; shooting individuals leads to damaged troop structures which in turn impacts on related systems. Humans have impacted heavily on dysfunctional troops.

Vervet Monkey populations are damaged in the W.C.

Vervet monkey populations are not monitored yet the damage done to these populations is clear to anyone living in the area who has some knowledge about conservation. This makes their inclusion on the hunting list all the more critical.

Vervet Monkey populations between Mossel Bay and Stormsriver are badly damaged. Residents report the disappearance of whole troops. It is no longer common to sight these animals and troops – more often than not – contain too few individuals (often under five). With fewer troops around, dispersing males have further to travel, at great risk, to find new troops to move into.

Baboon troops often exhibit an unhealthy skew in the adult male to female ratio as males are most often targeted by humans.

While undertaking the Knysna elephant research project I was surprised how infrequently vervet monkeys were sighted. Also of concern was the small troop size.

Recommendation. Research urgently needs to be undertaken on the status, distribution and genetic diversity (and degree of relatedness) of vervet monkeys in this portion of this Western Cape.” – Gareth Patterson

 How the Hunting Proclamation influences the public and perpetuates the persecution of wild primates:

The general public looks to our Nature Conservation authorities for guidance. At present, the Hunting Proclamation which allows landowners to kill two monkeys/baboons every day, all year round gives the public the clear message that the lives of primates are cheap, their contribution to biodiversity is irrelevant and persecuting them is acceptable.

 Public perception, misconceptions and South African conservation legislation have dramatically contributed to a number of primate orphans living in South African rehabilitation centres. The same factors have heavily influenced the growing amount of primates being held as pets. Hundreds of orphaned vervet monkeys and baboons currently reside in various rescue and rehabilitation centres in South Africa. These rescue centres receive no support from our conservation authorities and are self-reliant against all odds.

 

Considering these observations, the question remains: why are the vervet monkey and chacma baboon listed on a hunting list? Taking the above into consideration, I can only conclude that Cape Nature continues to support the self-serving interests of farmers and hunters at the expense of a healthy biodiversity.

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The implications of making bow hunting legal:

  • – A licence is not required to own and use a bow and arrow, thus the legal persecution of wild primates is extended to a larger percentage of the South African public.
  • Hunting with a bow and arrow is silent, hence killing wildlife can be easily done in secret – with less accountability for the damage caused to the animal and the species.
  • Hunting with a bow and arrow makes it easier for the amateur hunter to wound and kill no matter how much cruelty is involved without the threat of punishment.
  • It is generally accepted that Cape Nature does not have the capacity to monitor hunting, allowing for the widespread abuse of hunting activities.

“Firearms Control Act (FCA): What further fuelled the bow hunting industry in South Africa was the implementation of our draconian “Firearms Control Act” or FCA. This act made owning a firearm an onerous task and obtaining licences became and remains a task of note. Many avid hunters in South Africa then explored bow hunting and many have become bow hunting enthusiasts. We now have bow shops all over the country, even in the small towns. No licences are required. Although there are minimum specifications for bows and arrows for differing species, the authorities lack the capacity to monitor the local market”. AFRICAN INDABA NOVEMBER 2013, VOLUME 11-5&6

 

As the authorities do not have the capacity to monitor hunting, we can assume that widespread abuse is likely to occur. It is unrealistic for Cape Nature to believe that landowners will act responsibly in the best interests of the environment when it is easier to serve one’s self-serving financial interests based on the misconception that shooting solves the problem of raiding; during the past 350 years the irrational idea that killing problem animals solves the problem of raiding monkeys and baboons has been the guiding rule in wildlife management yet after 350 years we still have the same problems.

  Surely this tells us that killing tactics do not work?1917810_209017116411_2095979_n

 

 Read about our Shocking Failure of Conservation from Chris Mercer of CACH  for more info. 

Links: MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT BABOONS –  https://darwinprimategroup.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/misconceptions-about-baboons/

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OLD AFRICA AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Once upon a time in Africa, people understood that us humans are not above all other animals but equal to them. And so the time has come for us to reflect on the past, present and look deeply to find a solution to the damage we have caused.

Credo Mutwa is an extraordinary South African character; he is a traditional healer, psychic and talented storyteller. His knowledge of old Africa which has been progressively lost throughout past decades remains a crucial key to understanding our true relationship to nature and other animals. In his book, Isilwane the Animal, he describes how African people did not see us humans as separate from nature in the past: we understood that we are not above animals, trees, fishes and birds but equal to them.

Old Africa understood our interconnectedness with all living beings. When the white man

family

came to Africa, the continent was teeming with animals which were then mass slaughtered once they erected their farms.

Credo makes the point that many westerners still believe that conservation was imported by colonial powers into Africa and Ian Player confirms in the foreward to the book that those who worked in reserves and protected areas in Zululand know that conservation existed long before the white man arrived.  He describes how African tribes respected nature and our interconnectedness with the Earth by holding wild animals as their totems – a system which served to preserve the environment and showed a clear respect for a healthy biodiversity.

Excerpts from ISILWANE THE ANIMAL BY CREDO MUTWA:

“Through Isilwane the Animal, I hope to open the eyes of the world to traditional African attitudes, folklore and rituals which have governed the relationships between the people of Africa and the animal world.

Today we see the human race running around in circles, like a mad dog chasing its own tail. Today, the same type of confusion prevails in all fields of human thought. There is confusion in the way we view ourselves, there is confusion in the way we view the earth, there is even confusion, believe it or not, at the core of every one of the world’s religions. I can state this with confidence as I have studied most of these religions and even joined some of them.

But why the confusion? It is due to the way we view things: the way we view the atom, stars, life on Earth, and the way we view the Deity Himself or Herself. But the most dangerous and destructive view by far – one which has changed human beings into rampaging, destructive and mindless beasts – is that we compare ourselves with other living things.

Western Man is taught that he is the master of all living things. The bible itself enshrines this extreme attitude, as do other great books. Repeatedly one hears of dangerous phrases such as “untamed nature”, or “interrogating nature with power”. One hears of the strange belief that man is superior to all other living things on Earth and that he was especially created to be overlord and custodian of all things animate and inanimate. Until these attitudes are combated and erased from the human mind, Westernised humans will be a danger to all earthly life, including themselves.”

“When white people came to Africa, they had been conditioned to separate themselves spiritually and physically from wildlife. In the vast herds of animals, they saw four footed enemies to be crushed and objects of fun to be destroyed for pleasure. They slaughtered wild animals by the million. It never occurred to the white pioneers that these animals were protected by the native tribes through whose land they migrated. It never occurred to them, with their muskets, rifles and carbines, that black people worshipped these great herds and regarded them as an integral part of their existence on Earth.”

CONSERVATION AND THE TOTEM SYSTEM:

“In old Africa, every tribe had an animal that it regarded as its totem, an animal after which the tribe had been names by its founders. It was the sacred duty of the tribe to ensure that the animal after which it was named was never harmed within the confines of its territory. In addition, Africans knew that certain wild animals co-exist with others, and that in order to protect the animal after which the tribe was named, it was essential to protect those animals with which the sacred one co-existed. In KwaZulu- Natal for example, there is a tribe, the Dube people, for whom the zebra is a totem. These people not only protect vast herds of zebra in their tribal land, allowing them to roam where they choose, but they also protect herds of wildebeest because they realise that zebras co-exist with wildebeest. …The old Africans knew that to protect the zebra one had to effectively protect the wildebeest, the warthog, the bushpig, the eland, the kudu and other animals sometimes found grazing with zebra in the bush. But the old Africans knew that it was not enough to simply protect those animals which grazed with their totem animal. It was essential to protect those animals which preyed upon their sacred animals.

“There were tribes, such as the Batswana Bakaru and the Bafurutsi, which regarded the Baboon as their totem. They knew that protecting the baboons alone was not enough. The leopard which preyed on the baboon had to be protected, along with the plants upon which the baboon fed. The people knew that if they did not protect the plants, they would starve in the bush and start feeding on the crops in the people’s corn and maize fields. If this occurred, baboons would become man’s enemy.

The Batswana Batloung tribe, whose name means “people of the elephant”, were sworn to protect the elephant. They also protected the rhinoceros and the hippopotamus, which they regarded as the elephant’s cousins. It was believed that an elephant would not injure a person who carried the Bafluong name.”

BIODIVERSITY:

“The African people knew, just as the native American people knew, that if you destroy the environment, you will ultimately destroy the human race. …A remarkable Tswana proverb states that, “He who buries the tree, will next bury the wild animal, and after that, bury his own ox, and ultimately bury his own children.” This saying indicates that people were aware, even in ancient times, of the interdependence on all living creatures upon this Earth, and that if you harm one, you harm others and, in the end yourself.”

Africa – Misunderstanding Wild Baboons

A Researcher working in Uganda contacted me some time ago to ask if I could help her understand what was happening to the villagers in her area who had reported that the women were being “sexually harassed” by a troop of baboons. These “attacks” occurred when the women headed towards the river to do their daily clothes washing.

I asked if anyone had threatened the baboons, or perhaps walked too close to an infant? She answered that the baboon threats were totally unprovoked by the women and they feared they would be “raped”.

Baboons do not rape or sexually harass human women.

Bewildered by this story, I questioned the researcher further.

“Were there any men around when these women were threatened by the baboons?”, I asked.
The answer to that was “yes”.

The men were threatening the baboons due to a fear of them harming the women.

The behaviour described above is a clear cut case of redirected aggression. The baboons were threatening the women because –  in their eyes –  women are lower ranking hence it is safer to threaten a woman who is connected to a hostile man than threaten the man himself.

This is common behaviour among wild primates. If an adult human man attacks or strongly threatens a male baboon who feels he has to respond, and there happens to be a woman close by, the baboon will threaten the woman.

As far as baboons sexually harassing humans is concerned, it appears that a certain amount of projection was involved in understanding the behaviour of these baboons.

The solution to a problem like this would be for the men and women to ignore the baboons, act passively and be respectful of their troop and territory.

To harmoniously co-exist with wild primates, it requires us to practice tolerance and patience. We need to take the time to understand their language so we can correctly interpret the behaviour that scares us.

Monkey Mayhem

nohandPhoto: Emma Rose

A transient male – who had his whole hand ripped off by another male – making his way into an urban troop in Umhlanga Rocks. Transient males suffer abnormal, serious injuries when competing for resources in areas where their natural habitat has been encroached on by human development. These monkeys have no option but to turn to humans to survive. The obvious solution to this problem would be protective legislation that is actively enforced, as opposed to the current nature conservation laws which allow these species to be persecuted with a range of extremely cruel consequences.

WHEN BABOONS/MONKEYS ARE RAIDING YOUR HOME.
The first question to ask yourself when you feel that your wild neighbors are crossing boundaries, entering your property or home and taking what you feel should belong to you, is “what is attracting these baboons/monkeys here?”
Once you have discovered whether it is an exotic fruit tree, your compost heap, black garbage bag or the fruit bowl left on your kitchen table, you then have the choice to remove the attraction. The answer to avoid having your property raided by baboons/monkeys is really as simple as that.
While it is true that a troop will check out your property if your neighbor if feeding them, this should not pose a problem if your property consistently offers no attraction as the troop will move on quickly after repeatedly learning that hanging around your property is a waste of valuable time.
The choice only becomes complicated when residents feel that practicing tolerance and erecting baboon/monkey proof deterrents is an inconvenience. However, those of us who do this are offered the privilege of living with these wild primates in a harmonious way.

HOW HUMANS ARE DAMAGING TROOP STRUCTURES:
It is mostly the males in baboon troops that are targeted by humans which causes a skew in the male/female ratio that impacts on all that is reliant on this. One mistake we make, when understanding the way in which we contribute to the dysfunction of healthy troop structures is to assume that only the physical impact matters. To ignore the complex psychological components necessary for wild primate species that are based on social relationships, is to deny a crucial element that is integral to a healthy bio-diversity. An example is to make the mistake of assuming that our baboon populations are healthy simply because we see “lots” of individuals in a troop. The correct manner to assess the health of a baboon or monkey troop is to observe the ratio of adult males to females and then to note this in relation to the sub adults, juveniles and infants. A healthy baboon troop will have one adult male to three or four adult females. Male baboons enter sub-adulthood at about 6 years old and become adult at the age of ten, while females are sexually mature around the age of five years old. On average a male baboon will leave his troop for the first time around the age of seven years and is considered to be a sub-adult at this age as opposed to an adult male.

THE SINGLE MALE THAT RAIDS YOUR PROPERTY:
Residents who come across single male baboons or monkeys on their property often mistake them to be “rogue” males. There are a couple of reasons why you may find a single male baboon on your property but the most common one is that these males are young teenagers who may have left their troops to find a new one for the very first time. Males generally leave their troops to find new troops about five times in their lives. These single males are correctly termed “transient” or “dispersing” males. It can take months for these males to integrate into a new troop and during this vulnerable stage of solitude, they may well resort to relying on humans for easy food sources. This is a temporary stage. It’s important for us to be patient until these single males have integrated into new troops and once this has occurred they will follow the new group’s lead.

Pubescent primate males dispersing into new troops do not only face a temporary time of physical challenge but also one of psychological challenge; for pubescent males, these necessary lessons bring a physical and psychological strength that is not only needed for the individual but the whole troop in the future. With all the added unnatural risks these males face due to human intervention, they sometimes ironically seek protection in human areas where they have been led to believe they may find it due to humans feeding them by hand. Puberty is a time of exploration and learning for these young males who have yet to grasp the full maturity needed when adult. As sub-adults, they are also more likely to be naïve about the dangers humans present.

These young males, having left the protection and guidance of their birth group are tested for the first time in many ways. Without the protection of the group, they are exposed to predators and other difficult elements of the wilderness. Not only are they at risk from predators but their new troop is likely to be hostile until the individual has formed bonds – this can take a few months.

Sometimes these males are not accepted at all. This is especially true in areas where baboon populations have been severely damaged by human intervention, causing destruction to the fragile social system required for a healthy cohesive group.

Human areas full of abundant unnatural food sources that also have a scarcity of threatening predators are an obvious attraction for wild primates suffering undue risks. But as these primates have a strong understanding of territorial boundaries, it is the mixed messages that humans themselves give that allow these species to assume they are welcome. As the male is left without troop guidance, he may resort to the temptation of new food sources and enter onto human properties where he will at first be respectful of the territorial boundaries but once invited in, will push those boundaries and attempt to raid.

Dispersing males are alone; without grooming partners that contribute to their physical and mental health that generally keep parasite infestation at bay.

Robert Sapolsky – primatologist and neurologist – observed that during this period, the accumulated stress in transient males contributes to parasite infestation as the immune system becomes relatively weak. Once the individual joins a group, his health balances out again.
This once again illustrates how fragile a period this is for dispersing males.

BABOON BEHAVIOUR IN THE CAPE PENINSULA:
In the Cape Peninsula, dispersing male baboons are unable to reach new troops as development has cut them off from doing so. Although the “bad” behavior of these baboons is highly publicized, it needs to be recognized that their behavior does not represent the behavior of baboons in other parts of Southern Africa. Their behavior is a result of being cut off by human development, being forced to compete with humans for resources and being fed by hand. Unfortunately, due to ignorance, the pucli all too often buys the sensationalist view presented by the media and not only exaggerates the negative behavior of the Cape Peninsula baboons but also gives the public the false impression that this behavior is the norm for baboons everywhere.

WHAT CAN RESIDENTS DO TO CO-EXIST HARMONIOUSLY WITH BABOONS/MONKEYS?
Residents need to practice consistency in their approach to demonstrate that it is unacceptable for wild primates to enter their properties. It also helps to have baboon/monkey proof homes and to ensure that no attractions – especially garbage – are on display. Please see our information on how to co-exist with wild primates. In special cases, alternative foraging sites can be used if done correctly (see our information on how to do this responsibly.
In time, with the resident’s patience, tolerance and understanding, the transient male will move on into his new group and if he has learnt worthwhile lessons (not to push territorial boundaries) from his human neighbors, he will carry these lessons with him. In this way residents can contribute to the future of healthy monkey and baboon troops.seed disperser

WHEN MONKEYS/BABOONS ARE RAIDING YOUR PROPERTY:
Vervet monkeys or Chacma baboons might visit your home regularly because you are on their foraging path. They will search for food in your garden and unfortunately, sometimes in your home. Many wild primates are being pressurized by development, and are genuinely hungry because they have lost their natural food source in a short space of time. However, some tend to forage in houses for food,
because the food found there represents the same nutritional value as a whole day’s worth of foraging and offers an easier solution, especially for those faced with excessive survival challenges in the wild.

Many people cannot resist the temptation of feeding wild primates, and in spite of legislation, education and signage, humans still feed which helps when done responsibly and creates problems when done irresponsibly.

It is important for us to acknowledge that there are also people who feed them for the wrong reasons – to lure them for the capture of their babies for the pet trade or to injure or kill them.

It is for this reason that we request that if you feed monkeys or baboons to deter them from raiding your home or to help them obtain food they can no longer get in their damaged natural environment that you do so in a responsible way.

HOW TO FEED RESPONSIBLY:

The photo below shows primates in a sanctuary utilising a home made seed disperser. This method could also be used to keep a single wild male baboon distracted from raiding your home if the following guidelines are used. It is however, better to use an old strong bucket or buoy rather than a road cone.

HOME MADE WILD BABOON DISPERSER MADE FROM OLD BUOY
For the single male raider.

SUPPLEMENTARY FOODS FOR VERVET MONKEYS and CHACMA BABOONS:
The concept of Feeding Stations is a sensitive issue as Nature Conservation authorities are pressed by certain sectors of society to reject this option because of the enormous amount of damage that has been caused to wild primates due to people feeding these animals incorrectly (by hand) until the primates learn to generalise about humans, and assume they can enter human areas and take foods from residents.

Because feeding these animals has caused so much disruption between residents and wild primates, it is illegal to feed baboons/monkeys in some areas in South Africa. However, when feeding stations are established correctly it has been proved to offer a workable solution to the problem of raiding. As far as the legal aspects are concerned, feeding by hand is certainly disruptive and against the law. A feeding station similar to a bird feeder, whereby humans are not associated with the food is no different to displaying an exotic fruit tree in your garden. Residents who feed wild animals in spite of being warned not to, and in spite of the laws that discourage this practice, are encouraged to rather do it according to responsible guidelines.

WHY FEEDING STATIONS?
However much we would like to believe that it is natural behaviour for wild primates to eat natural foods that grow far from human built up areas, the fact remains that we have encroached on their ancient habitats, created habitat loss and ensured a situation whereby we now are forced to co-exist with wild animals in many of the areas we have taken over.

Monkeys and Baboons are highly adaptive and adapt their behaviour to the environment they find themselves in. When a human environment has been forced on them, they simply learn to adapt to it, hence the raiding of human food they find placed along their ancient foraging paths. Our gardens are often full of exotic fruits, vegetable gardens, compost heaps and garbage dumps which not only offer a quick tasty food source but if we don’t protect these food sources and actively show wild animals they have no right to come close right from the very beginning they start to work out a relationship with us, they will assume we are inviting them to help themselves.

WHAT DOES A FEEDING STATION DO?
A feeding station is established in a way that keeps the wild primates away from our homes yet offers these wild animals an alternative food source.

Feeding stations do NOT create a new unnatural food source as is often argued. They replace the unnatural food sources that residents are already providing. (exotic fruit, vegetables compost, good food, bird seeds etc.

PRIMATES AFRICA in KZN is an organisation that has done extensive research – spanning at least a decade – into the establishment of feeding stations in areas where human homes were regularly raided by vervet monkeys.

They found that when done correctly;
–        Feeding stations were only utilised by the monkeys at times of the year when their natural food sources were very low and the monkeys went back to feeding in the wild when natural foods were available.
–        Populations did not increase due to the supplementary feeding.
–        The erection of feeding stations ensured a great decrease in raiding amongst the vervets.

DON’TS
The first golden rule is never to allow the monkeys to associate humans with food. If they do, they will think all humans are friendly and will be in serious danger from hunters and animal abusers. With time, they could expect you to give them food, and when it is not forthcoming, they can demand it from you by jumping up, or even raising eyebrows in a threatening manner. They are very unlikely to attack, but they will frighten people who are not familiar with them, thus endangering their own lives.

Never feed monkeys or baboons by hand. Monkeys are so graceful when they take food from your hand, but, unfortunately, they will also think its OK to take food from little children who are not offering them food. The child could refuse to release the food, thus resulting in a tussle between child and monkey where the monkey might nip the child to force the child to release. Monkeys are at an even greater
risk from abusers if they trust people to the extent that they will take food from their hand.

DO’S
Correct quantities of food. If you are feeding monkeys and they arrive Every day at about the same time for their food or play around waiting for their food, you are making them dependant on the food you are providing. While waiting, they can annoy neighbours and could become a problem to you or your neighbours if no food is put out. In this case, we suggest that you reduce the quantity of food, gradually, until they come and check but no longer wait. You will find that the correct quantity put out for a troop, will approximate a generous bird
feeder. They will appreciate your offerings, but move on to forage in the natural way.

Please ensure that the feeding site is placed away from your house and the neighbours house. If you feel that they might require more food than you are offering because their habitat is destroyed or there is a drought etc. then encourage other people in your neighbourhood to do the same. The monkeys will soon learn which gardens can be visited and which gardens to avoid and will not ‘camp’ at any particular site. Quantities can be varied at different times of the year, but ensure that any variation is a gradual process

ESTABLISH SECURE FEEDING AREAS.

There are 2 types – artificial feeding sites for short term provisioning and natural feeding sites for long term
provisioning.

Artificial feeding sites. After development of an area, the natural food available to monkeys and baboons can be significantly reduced, causing regular intrusion into houses for food. This problem can be alleviated by the community, by establishing a community feeding station or stations. Feeding stations are also useful for residents living near natural bush who experience problems with monkeys during winter.

A small amount of food can be placed in, preferably, two or three secure sites, away from homes and in natural areas. The reason it is necessary to have a few sites erected for one troop is because wild primates eat according to a strict hierarchy and on feeding station will only allow those at the top to eat, causing the rest of the troop to go hungry. Try to ensure that each site is out of sight of the others so that high ranking individuals do not hog the whole lot.

These sites must be carefully chosen, as they must not be on the boundary of the territories of 2 troops (this causes inter-troop aggression which is more likely amongst the more territorial vervet than the chacma.) and must not be in areas vulnerable to hunters or people who will eat or poison their food.

The food placed at these sites should be similar to the food placed at birdfeeders in gardens. We suggest that there be at least 4 people participating in the provisioning, so as not to make the task onerous and allow for people going away on vacation or relocation. The food provided must be sustainable, economically, so ensure that the food put out is not too expensive.

Donations cannot be relied on. Suggested food: nuts, pumpkin, gem and butternut seeds for protein, brown bread, dried mielies or crushed mielies, sunflower seeds for seed starch and protein, yellow vegetables, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit and peels of vegetables or fruit for vitamins, starch and sugar.

NATURAL FEEDING SITES.
It is possible to encourage monkeys away from houses by planting indigenous feeding trees and exotic fruit trees, such
as paw paw’s, mangos etc. in the correct areas. This is important for the long term well-being of the monkeys. Preferably trees must be planted away from your house or neighbours’ houses and, if possible, form a continuous avenue of trees for the monkeys to move through. Any natural areas in your neighbourhood should be planted up with indigenous feeding trees. These could become nesting and feeding areas for monkeys away from houses

What to do in Urban Monkey Land

habitat

“We see things as they are, not as we are”; an Anais Nin quote that knocks on the door of my mind repeatedly when I am in the company of wild monkeys or baboons. Observing these related primates close-up raises questions about the human-wildlife relationship that cannot be avoided. Since moving to Kwa-Zulu-Natal, this has again been brought into sharp focus.

It’s different here.

I’ve spent the last fourteen years on the border of the Tstisikamma National Park where wild primates have the choice to seek food in human areas or stick to the wilder places. In Umhlanga Rocks, although I have not been observing the monkeys for too long, the fact that they have little choice but to turn to humans to survive cannot be avoided. Severe injuries are common as troop compete in developed urban areas – seeking food from the few residents who are prepared to offer it.

It is commonly believed that monkeys in KZN are “over populated” and yet from their perspective, it is humans who have encroached on their natural habitat, taken their wild choices away and then blamed them for daring to get food from human areas.

The question facing us is what to do in order to save these primates from further persecution?

bamon2

emgo

Monkeys in Umhlanga Rocks – breaking down misconceptions

Monkeys and Humans

Three DPG Monkeys Killed in Secret at Tenikwa – R.I.P MONKI, HOPE AND W.P.

nohands (2)     OCTOBER 2014:

A DPG monkey named Hope was secretly euthanased in May after being severely neglected – by Tenikwa –  according to a Tenikwa employee. Although the DPG had found her and four other unreleasable monkeys a perfect home at the Vervet Monkey Foundation, Tenikwa chose to ignore this option and kill three of the DPG monkeys instead.

In 2005, I was approached by Len and Mandy Freeman to work with the new “awareness center” they were creating. At the time, they were breeding and selling parrots and the wild cats they had sourced remained unsterilized, allegedly for breeding. Due to this fact alone, I declined their generous offer to work there as our ethics were clearly incompatible.

Fast forward to April 2013: Tenikwa agreed to take in the DPG primates after Cape Nature appealed to them. This was the only non-lethal option available as Save The Primates (an Australian organisation that had bought a share of the land that the DPG was operating on) had removed the DPG’s ability to continue protecting the primates in our care. The collaboration between the DPG and Tenikwa was, therefore, an ambitious one. In spite of this it worked relatively well in its early stages.

At no stage was I employed by Tenikwa but voluntarily spent hours there daily to keep an eye on the primates.

The relationship disintegrated when Tenikwa began liasing with an ex- DPG member by the name of Laureen Bertin who contacted them, posing fraudulently as a DPG board member. Len Freeman passed on the emails sent to him by Save The Primates and Laureen Bertin and any enthusiasm I had for the project swiftly disappeared. (Background info on this can be read here: https://darwinprimategroup.wordpress.com/stalkers-and-cyber-bullies/ )

Tenikwa recently published a letter in the CXPRESS full of distorted information designed to justify their position. Some of the false accusations are as follows:

– The DPG primates were “mostly malnourished” when arriving there. The vet reports tell a different story. Why would Tenikwa make such a statement? The reason behind their intentions are clear: as soon as our primates arrived at Tenikwa they were sterilised ensuring they could not be released back into the wild.

Why would Tenikwa make such a statement? The reason behind their intentions are clear: as soon as our primates (who had been free-roaming in indigenous forest for years proving their ability to survive well as rewilded primates) arrived at Tenikwa they were sterilised ensuring they could not be released back into the wild. To justify these unacceptable actions to the public, Tenikwa had to falsely discredit the DPG’s rehabilitation methods and they have done this repeatedly going as far as to discredit Karin Saks in a long, nonsensical plea addressed to Volunteers in Africa Beware who placed Tenikwa on their list of bad places to volunteer at.

– The DPG primates were “unreleasable”. As mentioned above, our primates had been free roaming in indigenous forest from the start of the rehabilitation and were semi-wild. Tenikwa sterilised all the DPG primates upon arrival, influencing their ability to be rehabilitated back into the wild permanently. Fourteen of the DPG monkeys escaped due to the negligent situation they were forced into. This small troop re-wilded and are proof of the fact that the DPG primates were certainly releasable in spite of the fact that Tenikwa had sterilised them.

Below is one of a number of emails where I tried to get the DPG primates helped.
The alpha male – Tarzan – had been moved into an intro cage in the enclosure. I was called away to work with the lawyers for three days and when i returned I discovered the most horrific mess in Tarzan’s water bowl. (Pictured below). The name of the employee has been removed to protect their identity.
TARZAN WATER BOWL INTRO
The next day. he broke out the enclosure and took 13 monkeys with him..Thankfully this group had the chance to escape and have rewilded….

Date: Mon, 02 Dec 2013 01:58:06
To: ………..@tenikwa.co.za>
Reply-To: <primates@tenikwa.co.za>
Subject: Re: No hands

Hi ++++++++,
i took Christine to the monkey camp today and was shocked to see that Tarzan’s water probably has not been changed for all the time he has been in the intro cage. Has he been fed ? The monkeys are losing condition in there still too. Mandy has repeatedly told me the primates are Tenikwa;s responsibility but I have been seriously worried about the way they are treated for some time now and don’t really know how to handle the situation anymore. Let me know what can be done as its clear that reminding people to check they are correctly treated has not worked.

Thanks, Karin

Tenikwa employees are bound by a confidentiality contract hence the hidden activities that occur there remain hidden.

The video above shows Hope just before she was forcefully removed to live at Tenikwa where her condition deteriorated under their care.

_________________________________________________________________________

THREE DPG MONKEYS KILLED SECRETLY – MAY 19TH.

Three DPG monkeys named Monki, W.P and Hope were secretly killed by Tenikwa Wildlife Centre in May 2014. Prior to this, we had found a perfect home for these and other DPG monkeys at the Vervet Monkey Foundation who had contacted Tenikwa to notify them that they would be willing to take in and protect these vervet monkeys. Tenikwa had let both the Vervet Monkey Foundation and myself know that once the paperwork was sorted out they would get back to the Vervet Monkey Foundation to proceed with plans to acquire permits and transfer the primates to their new home.

While we waited for news about this from Tenikwa, three of these monkeys were killed. Neither the DPG or the VMF were notified of this decision.

As far as we know – after speaking to relevant parties –  there would have been no problem with Cape Nature issuing permits

In February 2014, I had been banned from seeing the primates at Tenikwa after questioning the  diet the baboons and monkeys were relying on. A few Tenikwa employees had warned me on several occasions that the primates were being “starved” as most of the DPG donated surplus food was being thrown out without being adequately substituted with fresh, nutritious food. According to Tenikwa employees, the DPG food was replaced with “wild” food gathered from the surrounding bush (food that didn’t cost money) and the primates allegedly continued to “starve” as the “wild food” was unable to meet the nutritional requirements of the primates.

This was not the first time I had been concerned with the condition of certain DPG primates; lower ranking individuals had lost fur and muscle since the DPG primates had moved to Tenikwa. Whenever I asked about the diet, I was assured it was adequate and that my concerns would be looked into. The ideal primate diet consists of 15-25% protein, 3-5% fat and 50-70% carbohydrates. Primates in captivity are often lacking relevant nutrients and their diet is crucial to their survival. In the wild a variety of food sources are needed for a vervet monkey troop to prosper – the troop will move as far as is necessary to ensure their dietary needs are met. It was therefore impossible for the DPG primates to get their dietary requirements solely from wild sources collected around Tenikwa.

The first time we heard the devastating news of the three monkeys killed was when an informer approached former volunteer Brad Anthony with the facts relating to the true manner in which the DPG primates had been kept while at Tenikwa. I had not had contact with Mr Anthony since June 2013 when he left the DPG and heard the news via a common acquaintance. Mr Anthony planned to set up a petition, apparently fuelled by Hope who he’d been close to while living at the DPG.

On numerous occasions, I had been warned by Tenikwa staff that any negative information posted on social media would place the primates lives at risk hence I kept this information private. This was not the first time that people had used the primates in my care to blackmail me into silence. Mr Anthony however, publicized the facts his informer had passed on to him. This inevitably resulted in myself taking the blame for his actions, being accused of creating a “global hate campaign” and the primates being used as weapons in a human dispute once again.

Exposing the truth about the unnecessary deaths of these three beloved monkeys who we had supported for many years cannot be fobbed off as a “hate campaign” this time. And this begs the question: what would be the appropriate term for unnecessarily killing three DPG monkeys in secret?  Hope was in good condition and enjoyed a perfect existence before going to Tenikwa as can be seen in the video above.

These monkeys deserve to have the truth made known. This is a tribute to their memory. It is written for all those whose lives they touched – our donors, supporters and volunteers.

__________________________________________________________________________________________ABOUT MONKI, W.P. AND HOPE:

INTRO:

In April 2013, the DPG primates were moved to Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre after STP (Save The Primates – Gary Henderson/Sara Tilling) refused the DPG permission to continue its work on the property that was bought for this purpose.  Tenikwa is a commercial venture whose animals are required to “pay their way”. Forced to collaborate, we tried as far as possible to make it work for the sake of the primates whose survival and future lay solely with Tenikwa and their staff.

MONKI, W.P AND HOPE

R.I.P MONKI ❤

Monki and Disney

monki

MONKI:

During mid 2009,  Margaret and Willem Loggenberg dropped off a two year old female vervet called Monki at the DPG. Monki had been saved from a location where she was tied up by a chain and lovingly nursed back to health by Margaret. When Margaret left, tears streamed down her cheeks as she pleaded with me: please take special care of Monki, she is difficult but is like a daughter to me. Monki was one of many wild primates that Margaret had saved and she and her husband went on to create a primate sanctuary called Wilmar. Sadly this sanctuary was barely born when Margaret suddenly without any warning at all, died from a heart attack.

We went on to care for Monki who at three years old, shocked me with her exceptional capacity for compassion as she helped me nurture seven orphaned infants. On the 16th April, I was alerted by someone who wants to remain anonymous that the primates were to be “shot” the next day by the authorities. It has since transpired that this “rumour” is more likely to have been born by Gary Henderson from STP but it caused mayhem at the DPG nevertheless. That night, myself and five others spent the night in darkness, trapping the monkeys to get them to safety at the new DPG property. Monki was one of the monkeys left to roam freely that night in the house. As I got under the duvet she came over to me, wrapped her arms around my head and hung on. The next day when Cape Nature arrived to trap all the monkeys to move them to Tenikwa, the anxiety expressed by the fragmented troop was palpable.

In April 2013, Monki was one the unfortunate monkeys that were moved to Tenikwa and killed unnecessarily in June 2014.wilmarbannerwhite

Margaret and Willem above:

1917810_209017116411_2095979_nMonki and baby Disney

__________________________________________________________________________

HOPE

The following reports about Hope are written by myself and two volunteers who were involved in her care – Anna Wood and Lynette Johnson.

JUNE 2014 – ON HOPE by Karin Saks:

hope3

Hope arrived in December 2012 in the form of an exceptional vervet monkey. She’d been run over and was lactating but sadly no sign of an infant was found. Paralysed throughout most of her body, unable to even move a finger or toe, we were stunned when she proved against all odds and hope that she was determined to survive and heal.

Never before had I experienced a monkey healing from trauma awaken in the way this determined female did. Her eyes would follow me around the room,WONDERHOPE

hope1

appealing for attention. Demanding that I listen. Everything about her told us to name her HOPE

Above: In time, Hope proved to be a perfect surrogate mother for orphaned infants:

Careful, full-time care was offered which included hand feeding Hope a few times a day, exercising her limbs and showering her with the social needs she had been stripped of when losing her troop. Over the months Hope came to enjoy what came close to a perfect existence. She befriended not only the wild monkeys in the area but also the wild baboon troop that stopped by regularly. She was able to run and walk and accompanied me on regular patrols through the forest.

On April 16th 2013, after our “partners”, Save The Primates refused the DPG permission to continue its work on the property that had been bought for this reason, the DPG monkeys and baboons were moved by Cape Nature to Tenikwa Wildlife Centre. At Tenikwa, every monkey and baboon was documented with a detailed report being handed over to Cape Nature. For three months the monkeys and baboons lived in enclosures that had once been used for parrot breeding and trading. They were then moved to larger enclosures. During the months – May to February – I visited Tenikwa entirely voluntarily – on a daily basis – mostly to keep an eye on the primates welfare.

Hope was the only primate allowed to stay at the DPG due to her special needs, hence her life continued without interference.

Towards the end of 2013, Save The Primates – as part of their ongoing intimidation strategy to force me off the property – recruited the neighbor farmer as their agent. According to him, Save The Primates had first contacted him in March 2013 after the DPG had refused to sign away their freedom in an agreement unilaterally drawn up by Save The Primates. This appeared to mark the beginning of a campaign designed by STP to destroy the DPG.

In November 2013, the farmer (infamously known to be a long time killer of baboons) arrived to patrol the property in spite of the fact he was illegally trespassing and had been told in no uncertain terms that he was not welcome.

The next day Save The Primates called Cape Nature to report that a monkey had been seen on the property and I was notified that Hope had to go to Tenikwa. She was then placed with Mr No Hands in one of the enclosures once used for parrots. I had no choice but to accept this option but was thankful I at least had the opportunity to ensure she was looked after on a daily basis.

I’d been worrying about the condition of the monkeys and baboons for months – some were losing fur and had become emaciated over time. In February I finally confronted the owners about the nutritional and care needs of the DPG primates. Their instant response was to ban me from the premises, ban our monkey keeper and prevent me from bringing the weekly food.

As a result, I was no longer able to ensure that Hope was well cared for.

During a meeting prior to my leaving Tenikwa, I was asked to help find new homes for all the DPG primates, the supposed reasoning behind this being that they were not contributing to the public image of Tenikwa which is primarily a wild cat centre. The owners told me that while they would try and get help through their zoo contacts, they’d appreciate my appealing to my primate connections as well.

.tenikwasign

Myself and a number of other primate specialist organisations and individuals searched for a new home. Our four unreleasable vervet monkeys are of most concern due to the special needs required for these individuals.

These four vervet monkeys are Hope, No Hands (wild adult male who lost his fore-arms in a trap), Monki (humanised ex-pet) and WP (humanised ex-pet).

2013-02-08 10.15.24annahope2

Karin giving Hope physio (left) and Anna Wood hand feeding Hope (right)

After much searching, we welcomed the help of a reputable vervet monkey sanctuary who have offered to take in these vervet monkeys. This sanctuary and myself immediately contacted Tenikwa to notify them that they would be taking the un-releasable vervet monkeys. It was then agreed that Tenikwa would get back to them with the necessary paperwork.

I have since repeatedly asked Tenikwa for an update on how this plan has progressed and received no response. DPG donors and supporters have also contacted Tenikwa to enquire about the welfare of the primates they supported over the years and continue to look out for. The sanctuary who agreed to take in the vervet monkeys are still waiting for a response from Tenikwa.

__________________________________________________________________________

From Lynette Johnson – HOPE:

 “I happened to be at the Darwin Primate Group when a lactating female arrived without her infant after being hit by a vehicle in the Sedgefield area.  We found her to be completely paralysed, both her arms were stiff and her hands clenched tightly to her chest.  She could not swallow or move her head and just stared ahead.  Karin Saks and I took turns monitoring and syringe feeding her round the clock.  We made sure she was comfortable, gave her a soft toy to cling to, we sat with her to keep her company, turned her over every hour and we kept her clean, as she had no control over her bodily functions. 

Shortly after the females arrival, the DPG were lucky enough to have the help of volunteer – Anna Wood – who had twenty years experience with disabled children under her belt and she took over as Hope’s primary caretaker.  The daily physio sessions with this volunteer made a huge difference to Hope’s ultimate recovery and much to our delight, it wasn’t long before she began to unclench her right hand which enabled her to grip food and place it in her mouth if it was offered to her.  Over time, her left hand also started to function properly, she was able to turn her head, feed herself and for the first time since her arrival, she even began to ‘talk’.   She regained the use of her legs and started to move about, awkwardly at first, but gaining momentum with each passing day.  We named her Hope, for her recovery was a miracle and a testament to the resilience and fighting spirit of all primates to survive when they’ve been severely injured. She gave us hope for the future of other primates who find themselves in similar circumstances.  

 While she was a special needs monkey, her recovery was such that she could move without assistance.  She was fit and healthy and a happy monkey, she even adopted a little orphan and carried it under her belly as she walked aroundin the Tsitsikamma forest and on the DPG property, with Karin close by to monitor her movements.  At no time was Hope ever neglected, ill or thin and alone, she had the company of wild monkeys living freely in the forest and the constant company of a human caretaker.  All the primates at the DPG, both monkeys and baboons, were in mint condition at the time they were removed and taken to Tenikwa. 

On another visit to the DPG in October 2013, I spent a week working with Karin at Tenikwa and was not happy by what I saw.  Some of the baboons seemed stressed and thin, some were suffering from hair loss and two of them were in a small cage at the back, kept separately in what was previously used for parrots. 

I was very concerned about their welfare and the lack of information too, specifically because in September last year, one of the DPG baboons died from some sort of toxicity and eight months earlier, another baboon from Cape CROW had also died while being kept in the same enclosure.   In March of this year, word filtered through that another one of the baboons had died.  I tried unsuccessfully to find out which baboon it was and what the circumstances of his death were.  I wanted to know whether it was a DPG baboon, or one of the Cape CROW baboons.   Nobody would return my calls, so I posted a message on Tenikwa’s Facebook page under some  photo’s of the baboons they’d uploaded some months before that … their only response was to delete not only my message, but the entire post.  My fears were not unfounded.  Hearing about Hope’s death, along with the other two monkeys who were euthanased, was devastating  why did they suddenly euthanase them?”  

Chrisna Fourie and her family and friends had supported a number of the DPG vervet monkeys for years. She wrote to Tenikwa in mid July, then notified me as follows: “Hi Karin

 Hope you are well? I just want to let you know that Mandy Freeman did not reply to my mail at all and to be honest, I don’t think she is even going to 😦

 If there is any other way we can try to get info, please let me know.”

 

Anna Wood on HOPE:

I first met Hope in February 2013 when I went to the DPG as a volunteer. At that time she was unable to feed herself, sit up unsupported or walk and needed intensive care.

I have been looking after severely disabled children as my profession for over 20 years so was able to recognise that there was a good chance of her regaining her abilities. We had been advised by an unqualified ‘vet nurse’ that Hope should be euthanized but when faced with Hope’s obvious will to survive we felt it important to give her that chance.

Hope improved on a daily basis and during my time there she began using her hands again and was able to feed herself. She showed great interest in her surroundings and was alert and inquisitive. During Hope’s daily physio sessions it became apparent that she still had considerable strength in her legs and she began pulling herself up and pushing with her legs.

I am by no means an expert on primates but am qualified in my job and was confident in my ability to see improvements in a special needs patient and felt strongly that she should be given the opportunity to progress.

When I returned to the UK Karin kept me regularly informed of Hope’s health and I received photos and videos but nothing could prepare me for what I saw when I went back to the DPG in May 2013.

As I entered the house I saw Hope walking around then breaking into a run. She was fully functioning apart from a slight stiffness to one leg which didn’t seem to impede her at all, in fact to catch her during our forest walks I had to run myself!

Myself, Karin and Brad Anthony took Hope to visit Magdalena at her vet practice and she was pleasantly shocked by Hope’s progress since she had seen her last. She stated that euthanasia was not necessary and that Hope could be an ambassador for disabled monkeys and would be a wonderful surrogate mother for orphaned vervets. During that visit Hope was very alert and trying to run off on the grass! We were all so pleased that Mags had seen how well Hope was.

When I again left the DPG I left confident in the knowledge that Hope had a positive future and would continue to have a good life.

I was worried when I was told that Hope had to go to Tenikwa as I had seen the awful cages that the primates were being kept in and hated to think of her being in one of those. I reassured myself by thinking that it would be temporary until a suitable sanctuary could be found and that Magdalena would be overseeing Hope’s care and I trusted her to do so.

I regularly contacted Jared Harding who repeatedly told me that Hope was ‘fine’ and ‘happy’ and that I shouldn’t worry. 

Unable to get proper information due to the Freemans feeling that we shouldn’t be told anything, all we could do was accept what we were told.

At the DPG Hope had access to the forest, interaction with other wild primates, unlimited supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, proper exercise and dedicated carers.

At Tenikwa she had a concrete cell, no exercise and limited food (as stated by some ex-employees).

Is it any wonder that her condition deteriorated?”

R.I.P       W.P (GOLIATH)

W.P was brought to the DPG when he was three years old. As an ex-pet he was brought to us because his human family were no longer able to cope with him. Along with Monki and Hope, he was meant to go to a reputable vervet sanctuary but was killed in by Tenikwa instead. 

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAFor More on the history of this story: https://darwinprimategroup.wordpress.com/stalkers-and-cyber-bullies/

#tenikwakills#pettingzoos##tenikwawildlifeawarenesscentre

OBSTACLES TO THE REHABILITATION OF VERVET MONKEYS AND CHACMA BABOONS BACK INTO THE WILD:


OBSTACLES TO THE REHABILITATION OF VERVET MONKEYS AND CHACMA BABOONS BACK INTO THE WILD:– Popular misconceptions about the baboon and monkey that are perpetuated by inadequate and contradictory legislation.- Ambiguous messages conveyed to the public due to loopholes in legislation.
– Policy that does not allow these species to be released  beyond an arbitrary and scientifically flawed limit of 100km radius of  rehabilitation centres in the WC. This pointless limitation makes finding safe, appropriate release sites almost impossible in the Western Cape and impacts adversely on animal welfare.Scientists have argued that one cannot allow a forest monkey to be released into a coastal area for example. This hypothesis discounts the fact that the vervet monkey is one of the most adaptable species – third in line to humans and baboons – is therefore not species-specific and is entirely capable of adapting to a wide range of environments.- Policy that treats provinces as mini-sovereign states, and rigidly prevents these species from being imported and exported between provinces. Taking the small amount of rescue and rehab centres in SA into consideration, this law places great limitations on the rehabilitation of these primates back into the wild.
– An alleged failure on the part of provincial conservation authorities to consider the relevance of  scientific papers that dispute the issue
of genetic pollution.PETS
INADEQUATE LEGAL PROTECTION:
Contradictory Legislation:

In my dealings with members of the public, I have found that the contradictory message conveyed  encourages the public to treat protection of wildlife as nonsensical, resulting in these laws being widely disobeyed.
These  laws therefore directly impact on the large amount of vervet monkeys and baboons being shot, of orphans that result from this practice and of monkeys being illegally kept as pets.

POPULAR MISCONCEPTIONS:
Popular prejudice against our wild primates is one of the most influential reasons for the manner in which the public treats them. These misconceptions need to be educated out of our culture, not perpetuated by problem animal control attitudes.
One example of a common misconception – Rabies:
Fears that Vervets are carriers of rabies or other infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans are unfounded. Like us, vervets are primates – if they carried rabies, we would be carriers too. Any mammal is able to contract rabies though.According to Monkey Helpline of EKZN, the state vet reported that no vervet monkey rabies case has ever been recorded.
INADEQUATE SPONSORSHIP OF REPUTABLE REHABILITATION CENTRES:

Considering that conservation policies and public misconceptions directly impact on the
widespread abuse of these primate species, reputable sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres should perhaps be able to expect more support from the government in terms of sponsorship and a willingness to consider more protective legislation that is actively
enforced to ensure the work of these centres has the potential to progress in the best interests of the species and biodiversity.This is far from the case. To date, we have found that a number of “wildlife centres” or ‘sanctuaries” with commercial agendas are the centres that are most likely to be financially viable and flourish.

In short, conservation policies are encouraging the proliferation of commercially viable ‘wildlife centres’ where the potential for animal exploitation is strong.

This is far from being an ideal situation for the many orphaned and injured animals who need rescue and protection.
THE PRESENT REALITY:
There are over 600 baboons awaiting rehabilitation and over 700 vervet monkeys at the two most established primate sanctuaries in South Africa. The backlog of orphans residing at these centres is an indication of how severe the problem is and indicates:

-the lack of safe, appropriate release sites available, and the failure of conservation services to pro-actively promote and assist with, troop releases.

-The number of wild primates orphaned due to the popular notion that they are “worthless” animals

-The inadequate financial support offered by government.



SOLUTION:
The best answer to this widespread problem would be for conservation authorities to adopt a far more supportive role towards rehab centres, and to take animal welfare far more seriously.  They should also remove onerous policy conditions, and promote uniform and protective legislation that is strongly enforced by them.


This solution would ensure that this species are no longer persecuted, seen to be worthless and less orphans and pets would be the result. The pressure on present rescue and rehabilitation centres would be lessened and full release back into the wild would become far more viable.

  • Karin Saks Darwinprimategroup Remembering this note I wrote a while ago. Considering our present situation and the many facets outlined above that plague most primate rehab/rescue centre in this country, we need to find a way forward in a manner that provides real, workable solutions that is in the best interests of the animals.
  • Karin Saks Darwinprimategroup Some of you have asked why our free roaming rescued monkeys were removed by the authorities to be placed in cages (temporarily). The answer is: the fear of genetic pollution – to put it simply, the law does not allow monkeys that come from beyond a 100 km radius to be released here. The fact that those free roaming monkeys probably did come from within a 100 km radius is not accepted due to us being unable to prove their origins (i.e. the person who brought the monkey in to us could have been lying about the monkey’s origins).
  • Karin Saks Darwinprimategroup Hopefully the above also explains why primate rescue in South Africa is not merely a conservation issue but is very much an animal welfare issue and should be approached as such.

Link

Paintings by Karin Saks - B.A.F.A.

LINK TO PRESENTATION – CLICK BELOW:

Harmonious Co-existence between Humans and Baboons/Monkeys

We’ve altered their lives drastically by encroaching on their territory. We’ve destroyed habitats and have severely damaged troop structures.

This presentation (click on the link above) is for residents who would like to co-exist peacefully with the baboons and/or monkeys around their homes.My neighboring baboons - BEHAVIOUR and power struggles.

The Primate Mirror – Seeing Beyond Our Preconceived Human Socialisation

Image

Love At First Sight

“If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.”
― Frederick Buechne

P.S. It is not advisable to ever invite a baboon to sit on your lap as illustrated in the photo of myself with Boffin the baboon. The context behind the photo above relates to myself as rehabilitator; mother to a baby baboon who I was releasing into a wild troop of baboons.