BACKGROUND
The monkeys you encounter around your home are almost certainly Vervets. They live in close-knit troops of 540 animals. Although Vervets breed at approximately the same rate as humans, their numbers appear to be declining in urban areas. Although they no longer have natural predators except for the occasional eagle they are killed by dogs, cars, power lines, poisons, human hunters, bullies, cowardly cruelty and diseases such as cancer. Stress, poor quality food and lack of space are also contributing factors.

Vervets are omnivorous like us, and eat mostly fruits, flowers, seeds, leaves, shoots, bird's eggs, insects, lizards etc. Their territory is continually patroled to defend their boundaries and in search of food. Vervets only feed during the day and sleep in trees at night.

When Vervets pick a fruit or vegetable, take one bite and drop it, they are not being deliberately wasteful. In their natural habitat, this discarded food is vital to animals that forage below feeding monkeys and cannot reach the food source in the trees.

Vervets are one of nature's most valuable agents for seed dispersal and the reduction of insects that is very important for the growth of healthy, indigenous vegetation and mammals. Some seeds will only germinate after having being subjected to the Vervet's digestive processes and buck rely on their grooming

We should try to understand the dilemma facing monkeys. We have built our homes where they once had theirs. They had no defense against our destruction of their home and all they can do now, is survive as best as they can in an increasingly foreign and often hostile world.

CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species) lists Vervet monkeys internationally as threatened by extinction but not endangered (like the White Rhino and elephant).

If you would like to know more, need assistance with a problem, or have an injured or orphaned monkey please phone the Primates Africa Monkey Hotline between 8.a.m & 5 p.m. on 08 44 32 99 74

05/02/09
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