The outrage that greeted the discovery of three monkeys that had been poisoned inside Dunkirk Estate on Sunday has quickly been followed by offers for rewards that will lead to the prosecution of the perpetrators, reports North Coast Courier.
Two locals – Craig Johnson and Tristan Rasmussen – have offered rewards of R1 000 and R10 000 respectively for information that will lead to the prosecution of the culprit.
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“I feel compelled to offer a reward of R10 000 paid by Rasmussen Properties for information leading to the successful prosecution and conviction of the cowardly person/s of the monkey poisoning on Dunkirk Estate,” said Rasmussen.
“I live on this estate, and I see no point in buying into an eco-friendly estate if you are not prepared to share this space with the animals that live on the estate.”
Steve Smit of the Monkey Helpline told the North Coast Courier there was no doubt this was an intentional poisoning.
“A preliminary autopsy was conducted on the 10-month-old youngster that passed away and we found bread with little black pellets inside, so someone intentionally hid the poison in the bread and left it at the dump where they knew the monkeys often forage.”
Ryan Streit, a member of Dunkirk Estate’s management team, condemned the heartless poisoning in the strongest terms, and vowed they would undertake an investigation to get to the bottom of the poisoning.
The issue of monkeys in urban areas has always been an extremely sensitive topic, with some people regarding it as a privilege to live so close to wild animals, while others consider them pests.
Rob Saure of KZN Wildlife told the North Coast Courier that despite many contradictory stories, vervet monkeys are not a protected species.
This would mean that technically, it is not illegal to kill them, but as Smit points out – other laws such as the animal cruelty and poison control acts apply.
“When it comes to the legality of killing monkeys, we treat each case on its own merit as it is a complex and emotive issue,” said Saure.
The monkeys were poisoned using an organophosphate such as temik, which has clear indications of the buyer’s responsibilities in terms of the poison control act, such as not leaving it where people or animals can come into contact with it.
Intentionally using it as a poison against animals such as vervet monkeys is a crime that can lead to a hefty fine and possible jail time under the act.
Organophosphate poisoning leads to an extremely painful, lingering death.
“These poor little fellows would have died in terrible pain, wracked by unbearable muscle cramps and seizures. Dying this way would be your worst nightmare,” said Smit.
Salt Rock resident Dawn Gore wrote to the North Coast Courier to express her dismay and outrage at the poisoning.
“Monkeys are such social little critters, they are not evil or dangerous – so why are you horrible people out there hell bent on killing them via poison and giving them a slow terrible death?
“So many of them injured and maimed via the paintball guns and the catapults, why are people doing this?
“Some of you even encourage your children to shoot at them with slingshots, which is totally unacceptable and horrible to do this to animals that cannot fight back,” said Gore.
Since the monkeys were taken under care, the two survivors seem to be recovering well, though it will be a slow process.
WATCH: Monkeys racked by cramps and seizures after the poisoning