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Vervet monkeys may look very cute, but these wild animals are definitely not pets. The end result, should someone try and capture them, is mostly the death of the animal.
Allan McMurtrie, an official at the Wildlife Trade and Regulation department in the Vhembe District (of Limpopo province of South Africa), warned members of the public not to try and catch baby vervet monkeys. “Catching it, putting a nappy on it and giving it a banana is not going to help in any way,” he says.
According to Allan, they had to deal with an incident in town over the December holidays where a vervet monkey had been captured. “The young monkey was found on its own in the bush and, without further thought, caught and taken home to be kept as a pet,” he says.
Allan explains that most people do not understand how difficult it is to raise such an animal. They don’t realise what its social and dietary needs are and what it requires as it grows up.
“This monkey, like all primates, needs continual interaction and learns daily from the troop. Not only is it expensive to feed, but virtually impossible to rehabilitate. Humans tend to play on their emotions without thinking of the animal and its wellbeing,” he says.
Allan advised residents, when they come across a youngster on its own in the bush, to rather move away and allow the mother or other siblings to reunite. The youngster has a better chance of survival in its own environment.
“Currently rehabilitation facilities for both vervet monkeys (chlorocebus aethiops) and Chakma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus) are full and they cannot take in anymore,” says Allan.
The unfortunate end for the vervet monkey was euthanasia. “Together with the SPCA we had to make the difficult decision on the life of a helpless young vervet monkey,” says Allan.