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Ballito residents debate monkey problem

Love or hate them, monkeys are part of life on the North Coast. We asked our readers for their opinions on how best we can live alongside them.

Read all the responses from our readers here.

Dena-Maree De Grooth – Install monkey screens. Honestly the best thing we have done. Now they can move through our property without entering our home. They seem to know now that they can visit but then move off quite quickly.

Audrey Gersbach Fourie – Don’t cut down trees on the verges. I see so many who buy houses and the first changes they make are to cut down trees that are a food source and then they wonder why the monkeys are invading their houses. Trees also help to keep gardens cool especially in the hot, humid summer months.

Jessica Dench – Put food away. If there is no food to see they won’t come inside. Then don’t throw your food scraps in the bin. Rather compost or throw it in the garden. They won’t rip your rubbish bags open then.

Kim Compton-James – Install magnetic kitchen cupboard door locks. The locks cannot be seen on the outside of the door.

Janet Macgregor Naude – We had to chop down some trees which provide food for monkeys. So I replace this by putting food out for them, away from the house. I have no aggression from them towards me or my dogs and cats. I have monkey bars in my windows and screened doors. I enjoy watching them interacting and playing in my garden. It is a privilege.

Bertram Smith – Where I live there were no monkeys, now we have about five troops in the area and the problems are growing. Imagine in a few years time we will have another 3 or 4 troops, it’s all because people feed them.

Brendan Smith – Stop feeding them. By feeding them you create habituation (a loss of fear of humans), which is where all the problems arise. If monkeys associate people with food, and lose their fear of humans, then we get conflict. If you want to “feed” them, plant indigenous fruit bearing trees in your garden.

Christina Momos-Osborne – When people say we invaded animal’s homes, where do those people think us humans should live? This is a serious question. All I ever hear is how we are destroying their habitat. Every home used to be their habitat. So what should we do?

Carol Booth (Wildlife rescuer and caregiver at Monkey Helpline) – It would be great if the solution to the ‘humans vs urban monkeys’ conflict were as simple as packing them up and moving them to an idyllic natural paradise. But things are not that straightforward. Monkeys have strong territorial ties and moving a troop is a complex and risky undertaking that can seriously disrupt social dynamics. While some males will naturally leave their troop to find mates, related females remain together for life – so moving one usually means moving all. Vervet monkeys are a widespread species, found throughout southern Africa. However, their numbers are certainly not ‘multiplying out of control’. While more research is needed to determine exactly what is happening to their population numbers, what we do know is that the animals are facing a number of human-related threats.

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