Monkey Helpline starts petition to regulate airguns
Durban - THE Monkey Helpline has started a petition to regulate ownership and possession of airguns because of the number of animal deaths they cause.
Monkey Helpline founder Steve Smit said they rescued in excess of 1 000 vervet monkeys annually, close to 100 a month.
Injuries range from broken bones, head trauma, massive tissue damage, blindness, life-threatening bite wounds, poisoning, burns and more.
These injuries are caused by dog bites, being run over by motor cars, shot with lead or steel pellets from air guns, electrocution on non-insulated, high-voltage power lines and transformers, and being trapped or snared.
“More than 80% of the monkeys rescued have lead or steel airgun pellets in various parts of their bodies,” Smit said.
“Airgun-based violations of the Firearms Control Act and the Animal Protection Act, as well as various relevant provincial laws and municipal by-laws, rarely result in successful prosecutions. There are no conditions that need to be complied with if a private individual already owns or wants to purchase and use an airgun. It requires no license and makes it impossible for the law about the use of airguns to be enforced in any meaningful way.”
Smit said last week there was a spate of incidents.
“One particularly upsetting case was of a 15-year-old schoolboy shooting a male monkey while it sat in a tree. Sign the petition. The monkeys need your support.”
Co-founder Carol Booth said they received reports of monkeys being shot daily. On Saturday, a pellet-gun user was being sought in the Queensburgh area.
“This cowardly criminal took aim and fired a lead pellet into the back of a lactating adult female monkey, leaving her paralysed and dragging her limp legs behind her.”
Meanwhile, more than R6000 has been pledged towards a reward for information on a person who shot a monkey in Morningside.
On Thursday, Cyclesphere Cycling founder Greg Albert said he found the monkey on Oxford Road. The monkey died a few hours later. She was shot twice with a pellet gun.
Abert then posted a R1000 reward on his Facebook page.
The post was shared 932 times and had raised R6000 by Sunday.
"The reward now stands at R6000.00 which is amazing. I was notified by Steve and Carol from Monkey helpline. I help them when it's in my area to save them the trip from Westville . A resident phoned them to report the injured monkey. We have been given two leads we are following up. It is Amazing to see the community coming together to stand against animal cruelty. No animal deserves to be shot and die such a painful death. By people adding to the reward shows that community won't stand by while somebody is injuring and killing the monkeys,"Albert said.