The ongoing battle between monkeys and the residents of Knysna came to a fatal conclusion last Sunday 2 August, after a monkey was shot with a pellet gun and “had to be put down” after being taken to a veterinary hospital.
Knysna-Plett Herald previously reported the plight of residents in Knysna’s upper town suburb, which has been plagued by monkeys illegally fed by fellow residents. Feeding of the monkeys is regarded as a criminal activity, which could result in a jail sentence or a R40,000 fine.
The animal was believed to have been foraging in the avocado tree under which it was found. The female vervet monkey was found by three residents walking their dogs in Ridge Street in Heuwelkruin.
“We saw it lying there with its eye injured,” said one of them, Fran Hamilton.
Devoid of transport at the time they called long-time resident of Knysna Heights Sharon Dreyer, who took it to the vet.
“The monkey had been rendered blind,” explained Dr Johan Eksteen of Knysna Veterinary Clinic, who conducted a scan on the monkey.
“It revealed a pellet-sized object embedded in its brain, which would have been consistent with the injuries it suffered. Unfortunately, the best solution for the monkey was to put it down.”
According to municipal spokesperson Nwabisa Pondoyi, “it is an offence to discharge a firearm or an air gun in a municipal residential area, and the municipality is entitled to issue a fine to people who are in contravention of its by-laws”.
Petro van Rhyn, advocacy general manager at Cape Nature, said prosecutorial options are limited.
“We suggested that the person or neighbourhood watch contact the law enforcement section of Knysna Municipality as they have regulations in place prohibiting the use of pellet guns,” she said.
“Without evidence such as an eyewitness identifying the person who shot the monkey, no charges can be laid,” she added.
According to Durban-based monkey rescue and rehabilitation expert Carol Booth of Monkey Helpline, monkeys create established “foraging routes”.
“Monkeys are deeply territorial, and troops will stay in one territory for hundreds of years. The females never leave. If they begin foraging in your garden, it’s simply one stop on their route,” she explained.
Booth also urged that if you do not wish to have monkeys on your property, then there are other ways to deal with them rather than shooting them.
“You can spray them with a jet of water from your hosepipe, or even put up plastic mesh screens in your windows if you don’t want them entering your home,” he explained.
This article first appeared on Knysna-Plett Herald and was republished with permission.