September 2008 Newsletter
• MONKEYS – A COMMON CHOICE FOR THE TABLE
• BABOONS KILLED TO
• A NEW REHABILITATION CENTRE
•WHAT MONKEY BUSINESS HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?
• JOIN US IN OUR QUEST
TO CONSERVE PRIMATES
MONKEYS – A COMMON CHOICE FOR THE TABLE
Monkeys have not been eaten in the past, but killed for traditional medicine (muti).
This is now changing…. People desperate for food are now eating monkeys. They are
snaring monkeys, killing them and eating them. To make money, they are now selling
dead monkeys on the side of the road, along with the avocados and bananas, on the
N2 South Coast highway in KwaZulu Natal. This shocking new practice, is devastating
our monkey populations.
People are migrating to South Africa from the rest of Africa and many of them come
with very few possessions and very little money. They need to eat and live somewhere.
As a consequence, many have chosen to live in the natural bush in KwaZulu Natal, where
temperatures are mild, wood is abundant and food in the form of wild animals (bush
meat) is abundant. It is, primarily, these people who are eating monkeys and teaching
others to do the same.
They trap monkeys by snaring them – they set wire nooses that tighten around
the monkey’s leg, arm, neck or body. As the monkey tries to move away, the
noose tightens more and more, until it cuts into the monkey’s flesh. Some monkeys
manage to escape by detaching the wire from the
branch it is attached to, but often still die a very
painful death from septicemia (it causes lockjaw
which prevents the monkey from eating and their
muscles tighten with chronically painful spasms).
We desperately need to stop the snaring of,
not only our monkeys, but all the wildlife like
buck, mongooses, genets, birds. Snaring occurs
mainly in the bush surrounding our towns
and snaring activity often increases when building contractors are in an area.
You can help us - People need to go
into these areas to check for snares
and if squatters are living in these
areas, report this to the police
who must ensure their removal. This
action could have the added bonus of reducing
incidents of crime in surrounding homes.
Safety is important, so if you wish to help, we recommend the following: Note if there
are squatters living in the open area and what streets surround the area of bush or
parkland you are concerned about or the exact location of the area. Phone our monkey
Hotline and give our operator your details and the location details. We will contact the
police and the relevant Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Officer who will deal with the matter. If you
wish to get involved personally, our operator can give you contact details for becoming an
Ezemvelo KZN Volunteers officer.
BABOONS ARE BEING KILLED TO MAXIMISE PROFITS
Two companies - Komatieland Forestry and York have been suspected by environmental
Stakeholders to be deliberately killing baboons in their plantations
after an eye-witness reported this to a stakeholder. This was being done
without these companies notifying the stakeholders as was agreed. Komatieland
Forestry admitted killing baboons and intends killing many more baboons. York
denied doing so but admit that they are considering killing baboons in the future.
Press releases were made only after Stake holders demanded answers from them!
based near Sabie in
killed many baboons in it’s
Morgenzon plantation and
intend killing more baboons in
its Blyde , Tweefontein and Wilge
plantations – according to it’s recent press
release. They claim this is because of 70% damage to
their plantations and in spite of having tried recommendations
from Stakeholders !!! Stakeholders were supplied
with data showing damage for a very small portion of
the forests – this portion being the high damage area.
Hence, their claims of 70% damage is only specific to small
portions of their forests and does not account for large areas that are undamaged.
Neither York nor KLF has any
data to show that all non-lethal methods of baboon control as
recommended by stakeholders have been applied or
On their web-site they purport to be
extremely environmentally conscious with the following
prevent negative impacts that our operations
may have on the natural environment, with particular
emphasis on soil, water, air and biodiversity’
‘We responsibly manage bio diversity in natural
ecosystems and protect rare and endangered species,
communities, habitats’ We encourage open and transparent
communication with communities regarding our
‘We will support research and development to minimise
They don’t appear to be
upholding their promises nor their
mission statement published on the
web and even offer nature courses.
Do they show visitors how they
capture and kill the baboons?
York’s press release that was made in response
to Stakeholders’ enquiries states
that: ‘At the time that York acquired Global Forest
Products (GFP) in June 2007, a moratorium
on the lethal control of damaging baboons was
in place. Since that moratorium ended in July
2007, York has not undertaken any lethal control
of baboons on its plantations.’
York appears to have genuinely attempted
to try various non-lethal methods of baboon control, as recommended by the Stakeholders and scientists and have appeared to be
However, once again, Stakeholders
have not seen any data to confirm levels
of damage prior to and after various control
methods were attempted. Hence, we cannot
take any of their conclusions seriously.
example from their press release statement: ‘The problem of damage to the York plantations
is limited to 10 out of 40 troops in total.
Should York take the decision to introduce lethal
control, it would be limited to this 25% of
the baboon population on the company’s
In conclusion, it must be noted that lethal
control is considered by York to be the last option, with the decision process determined by an established
protocol. Were it to be undertaken, it would be done on a case-by-case
basis, undertaken by dedicated professional problem control officers,
subject to permits being issued by the Mpumalanga Parks Board for the
capture of the animals. The intention would be to eradicate only the
problem troops, allowing for the occupation of that territory
by non-damaging troops. In the past this strategy has proven
Below are the financial results of York
published on their web-site – financial results for the period when no baboons were killed.
If you would like to help,
simply sign the petition
on the internet by going to
and follow the instructions.
Do they really
need to kill baboons to increase profits? ‘After accounting for the group's two black economic
empowerment transactions, fully diluted headline
earnings per share rose 20% to 323,4c from
268,5c. The empowerment share holding now
stood at 27%.The results were in spite of a
R106m uninsured loss from fires and lower
lumber demand with a slow rise (5,3%) in
the value of residential building plans.
Slowing demand was offset by a worsening
shortage of saw logs.’
rose 136% to
R929m in the year
to December reflecting integration
of Global Forest Products
acquired in July. The merged
entity’s operating profit rose 540%
to R270,6m from R42,3m previously.
Headline earnings per share rose 25% to
335c from 268,5c per share previously.
A new primate rehabilitation center is born in Durban North, called THE BURCHAL
VERVET CENTRE. Joan Chalmers, a Primate Africa member and long-time lover of
Vervet monkeys, has set up the first stages of the rehabilitation center in her very large garden in Durban North, Kwazulu Natal, permitted by and under the
guidance of Ezemvelo Kwazulu Natal Wildlife (EKZNW), the official
conservation agency for this province of South Africa.
After spending many years caring for the wild monkeys visiting her
garden, she decided to help Primate Africa by becoming a surrogate
mother for a group of orphan babies. Joan took to mothering monkeys like a duck to
water and produced a group of bright, confident and happy youngsters. Her husband
Tom, with a little help from Primate Africa volunteers, built cages for the next stage of their
development – Joan was fully occupied caring for the babies and providing
refreshments for all.
Subsequently, she received other monkeys that could not be
released back to their troops but needed loving care until they are released after
about 3 years in rehabilitation or sent on to a sanctuary for a lifetime of care if they
cannot be released. Joan has now reared her second group of babies and has received
more babies from other surrogate mothers from the South Coast of Kwazulu Natal,
Sandy Burrell and Tracy Rowles.
Her cages are, once again, too small, so the
Chalmers team is in the process of completing larger
cages to house a complete troop.
The cages, food,
medicine and cleaners have been funded entirely by
this wonderful couple in the twilight of their years! Each
monkey costs approximately R10/day to care for, and
with 25 monkeys in their care, the costs are quite daunting.
WHAT MONKEY BUSINESS HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?
There have been changes to Primates Africa but we continue to go
from strength to strength. Mel Sammons left South Africa to live in the
UK, handing the chairperson baton to Sue Shafto, who has proved to be
a dynamic and incredibly dedicated leader. The second AGM was held in
May 2008 where it became apparent just how much has been accomplished by all the
dedicated volunteers, without which Primates Africa would not exist.
These volunteers continue to run the Monkey Hotline, 7 days/week, visit schools, do
talks at group meetings, advise the public on how to live with monkeys, attend exhibitions
to educate the public, facilitate rescues and medical treatment of injured
monkeys, run a monitor’s club, support rehabilitation centers for primates, participate
in campaigns to save primates, worldwide and finally, raise much needed funds for
caring for monkeys. It is an enormous task, so if you and/or a friend loves animals and
monkeys in particular, and would like to volunteer, please phone the hotline now.
An important aim of Primates Africa, is to EDUCATE CHILDREN on how to live safely
We have found that most people who do not like monkeys, actually fear
monkeys. For this reason, talks at schools are an all important tool in reducing conflict
between children and monkeys, and if parents feel that their children are safe around
monkeys, they will be happier to have them in their garden. We have a brochure that
is aimed at educating parents on what to do when monkeys are on their property,
If you haven’t seen this brochure, please phone the hot-line.
We recently visited Umkomaas Primary School and were overwhelmed by the positive
response from the children and teachers. Birches pre-school welcomed our team and
thoroughly enjoyed their visit.
Stephen is a new addition to our education team and
has successfully completed a few Primates Africa educational presentations in Zulu, the
most recent being as Isipingo Primary School.
Primates Africa volunteers had a stall at the formal OPENING OF THE BURCHAL
VERVET CENTRE. Great fun was had by all (including the monkeys!!). Just less than
R1 000 was raised by volunteers who sold lovely eats. The public, who so generously
donated food for Joan’s monkeys, went home with great memories and full tummies!
The money raised, was passed on to Sandy Burrell who cares for injured monkeys and
babies, and Burchal Vervet Centre.
WHAT MONKEY BUSINESS HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?
Mandy & Sue with pupils from Birches Pre-school- Stephen and children of Isipingo Primary School Sue and Mandy presenting a talk
THE MONITORS’ CLUB is doing an excellent job. A monitor in Salt
Rock notified us, that there was only one little 2 year old monkey left
in a troop after an adult female (presumably his mother) had gone
missing, probably dead. She called this little monkey Tobias. Since, he
was so alone and was spending quite a bit of time with her, she began
looking after him. However, he did disappear for a time and she worried that
he, too, had died. At that time, a caller phoned the Hotline,
and said that she needed advice as this lonely little monkey
had turned up at her door and seemed to need company.
Of course, Sue put 2 and 2 together, and phoned our
monitor in Salt Rock who visited the caller and confirmed
that it was Tobias – alive and well! Keep up the good work
monitors! If anyone would like to become a monitor, please
phone the Hotline now and enroll.
A troop of monkeys that regularly visits one of our monitors
FOR ARBOR DAY, Primates
Africa sold indigenous trees
from the Community Centre
at Mt Edgecombe Estate 2.
Please buy at least 1 tree or
indigenous shrub and plant
it during spring. It’s the best
time to plant trees and large
shrubs, so that the spring
rains give them a good start!
In this way you can help our
monkeys, birds, butterflies
and other small mammals like
mongooses, genets by
providing natural food in the
form of a fruiting tree, long
after you have moved on!
PLEASE AVOID USING PESTICIDES in your garden – many
common pesticides are extremely bad for your health and our wildlife’s health by
causing respiratory weaknesses and cancer. Indigenous gardens don’t have to be messy
but can look absolutely beautiful. A combination of indigenous and exotic planting is
good, but when buying new plants, try to find an indigenous option before buying an
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