Spring marks the arrival of the baby season and due to this, the community is urged to educate themselves on how to assess when a monkey is in need of help and exactly what you should do.
The Umsizi Vervet Rescue has provided signs and situations to look out for, and how to react to each. “If you find a baby or juvenile monkey alone, it is generally the first sign of something being wrong, as only adult males disperse from their troops,” explained the organisation.
“If you see a monkey struggling to walk, walking in circles or looking exhausted or weak, or have a monkey staying in your garden for more than a day without leaving, these are other tell-tales to look out for.”
Umsizi further explained that if the monkey has bite wounds, check to see what they look like. If they are able to move without showing discomfort, or if the wound is red or pink and they do not appear to be bleeding out, then they are fine. However, if the wound is green, has an unpleasant smell (as if something has died), there is bone exposed, or a muscle has been torn, disabling them, or they are bleeding a lot and appear to be weak, then they need medical attention.
“If you find a monkey which has been hit by a car, find a safe place to pull over and check on the monkey to see if it is dead or alive. Usually monkeys are knocked out and can appear to be dead while they are actually still alive. If it’s a mom who has been killed, stop to check and see if the baby is still possibly alive and clinging onto mommy and if not, check if you do not hear a baby calling in the bushes nearby.
If the monkey is alive, call Tracey Rowles on 072-833-5119 and ensure you wait with the monkey, or ask someone else to if you cannot. If you do not wait with the animal, chances are they will be hit again or picked up and killed for ‘muti’ or food by passersby.”
Finding a newborn alone is not the norm and something is definitively wrong, as the rescue organisation explained these babies don’t separate from their mothers or nursery group. “If you hear a baby calling, check to see if there are other monkeys with it. If a mom dies, sometimes the baby will be close to the mom’s body, calling or all alone after being dumped by a troop member who temporarily tried to care for it after its mother died.
“Other times a juvenile or adult female will carry the baby for a while before dumping it. Signs which may indicate a baby is orphaned when other monkeys are around: The baby will be very upset, constantly crying and calling for its mom, usually if the mom is still alive she will come collect the baby from the baby-sitter within a short span of time.
If the baby is still crying and is not happy with the monkey that is holding it and no one is coming to collect it after a long period of time, this may mean its mother has died. They cannot survive without milk and other moms will prioritise their own babies and not feed the orphan,” explained Umsizi. With this being the case, the community is urged to contact Tracey immediately, so that she can assess if the baby is indeed orphaned and needs to be caught.
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