Responsible feeding saves lives, irresponsible feeding kills!!

Vervet monkeys might visit your home regularly because you are on their foraging path. They will search for food in your garden and unfortunately, sometimes in your home. Many monkeys are being pressurized by development, and are genuinely hungry because they have lost their natural food source in a short space of time.

However, some monkeys tend to forage in houses for food, because the food found there represents the same nutritional value as a whole day's worth of foraging.

Many of us cannot resist the temptation of feeding them for many reasons, but one reason is common – that we care for the animals.

Unfortunately, there are also people who feed them for the wrong reasons – to lure them for the capture of their babies for the pet trade or to injure or kill them.

It is for this reason that we request that if you feel tempted to feed monkeys, that you do so in a responsible way.

The first golden rule is never to allow the monkeys to associate humans with food.
If they do, they will think all humans are friendly and will be in serious danger from hunters and animal abusers. With time, they could expect you to give them food, and when it is not forthcoming, they can demand it from you by jumping up, or even raising eyebrows in a threatening manner.

They are very unlikely to attack, but they will frighten people who are not familiar with them, thus endangering their lives.
Monkeys are so graceful when they take
food from your hand, but, unfortunately, they will also think its OK to take food from little children who are not offering them food. The child could refuse to release the food, thus resulting in a tussle between child and monkey where the monkey might nip the child to force the child to release.

Monkeys are at an even greater risk from abusers if they trust people to the extent that they will take food from their hand.

If you are feeding monkeys and they arrive
everyday at about the same time for their food or play around waiting for their food, you are making them dependant on the food you are providing.

While waiting, they can annoy neighbours and could become a problem to you or your neighbours if no food is put out. In this case, we suggest that you reduce the quantity of food, gradually, until they come and check but no longer wait.

You will find that the correct quantity put out for a troop, will approximate a generous bird feeder. They will appreciate your offerings, but move on to forage in the natural way. Please ensure that the feeding site is placed away from your house and the neighbours house. If you feel that they might require more food than you are offering because their habitat is destroyed or there is a drought etc. then encourage other people in your neighbourhood to do the same.

The monkeys will soon learn which gardens can be visited and which gardens to avoid and will not 'camp' at any particular site. Quantities can be varied at different times of the year, but ensure that any variation is a gradual process.

Natural feeding sites.
There are 2 types: artificial feeding
sites for short term provisioning and natural feeding sites for long term

After development of an area, monkeys' food source can be significantly reduced, causing regular intrusion into houses for food. This problem can be alleviated by the community, by establishing a community feeding station or stations

Feeding stations are also useful for residents living near natural bush who experience problems with monkeys during winter. A small amount of food can be placed in, preferably, two or three secure sites, away from homes and in natural areas. These sites must be carefully chosen, as they must not be on the boundary of the territories of 2 troops (cause intertroop aggression) and must not be in areas vulnerable to hunters or people who will eat or poison their food. The food placed at these sites should be similar to the food placed at bird feeders in gardens.

We suggest that there be at least 4 people participating in the provisioning, so as not to make the task onerous and allow for people going away on vacation or relocation.

The food provided must be sustainable, economically, so ensure that the food put out is not too expensive.

Donations cannot be relied on.

Suggested food: nuts, pumpkin, gem and butternut seeds for protein, brown bread, dried mielies or crushed mielies, sunflower seeds for seed starch and protein, yellow
vegetables, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit and peels of vegetables or fruit for vitamins, starch and sugar.

It is possible to encourage monkeys away from houses by planting indigenous feeding trees and exotic fruit trees, such as paw paw's, mangos etc. in the correct areas. This is important for the long term well-being of the monkeys.

Preferably trees must be planted away from your house or neighbours' houses and, if possible, form a continuous avenue of trees for the monkeys to move through.

Any natural areas in your neighbourhood should be planted up with indigenous feeding trees. These could become nesting and feeding areas for monkeys away from houses. Please refer to a list of suitable trees and shrubs.

For more information, please contact PRIMATES AFRICA monkey hotline on 08 44 32 99 74