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In a bid to come up with solutions to the city’s “monkey problem”, a Monkey Business workshop will be held at the Durban Botanic Gardens next Thursday.
The municipality’s Parks, Leisure, and Cemeteries Department is organising the workshop and it is open to anyone concerned about monkeys in the city, who would be willing to contribute to a monkey management plan.
Steve Smit, co-ordinator of Monkey Helpline, a Durban-based NGO that carries out monkey rescues, said if the purpose of the workshop was to understand the situation of monkeys in the city and to educate people about it, then he was in full support.
“There is no monkey problem in Durban. It’s a people problem which stems from ignorance and intolerance. Monkeys are a part of our natural heritage and more importance needs to be allocated to their care. They are under threat and need all the support they can get,” he said.
Smit said the workshop could be an opportunity to enlighten the Durban metro as to its responsibility.
“I’ve been with this organisation for 28 years, and this workshop is the first constructive thing council has done toward helping monkeys,” he said.
But Dawn Magowan from the Animal Protection and Environment Sanctuary (Apes), was less confident about the gathering.
“As much as this workshop sounds like a good idea, the trouble is that it’s all well and good for people to come together and talk about the problem, but nothing ever seems to transpire from it,” she said.
In March, after several Daily News readers suggested culling as a solution to the monkey problem, Smit explained that the vervet population was actually on the decline, and so culling them would harm the eco-system.
“Natural areas suitable for vervets are being eroded by commercial, industrial, residential, and agricultural development, forcing them to live in ever-decreasing areas, making them more visible and creating the illusion that their numbers are increasing.”
The Monkey Business workshop will be held on July 5 at the Durban Botanic Gardens education centre from 9am to 1pm.
Telephone: 031 266 0049 or 031 311 6717 to RSVP, or e-mail: email@example.com.