One of the rescued monkeys which will be released today.
DURBAN - Six monkeys which have recovered from treatment after being poisoned will return to their troop in uMdloti, north of Durban, on Saturday.

Last weekend, 22 monkeys were rescued after being poisoned, of which 13 died. Of the remaining nine, six will be released tomorrow. The monkeys were fed bread soaked in the chemical Temic, commonly referred to as “two step”, as an intended victim can only take two steps before the poison takes hold.

Steve Smit of Monkey Helpline said the primates had undergone checks on co-ordination, fine motor skills such as their ability to pick up little seeds, their vision, hearing and balance.

Meanwhile, observations by both the NGO’s staff, and feedback given to them by the public, indicate that among the 14 monkeys in the troupe that escaped poisoning, there were only two females carrying out nursing duties, while an estimated five babies were still with the troop.

“There is one young female which would only come into season and breed next year, but she is now carrying a baby. However, she has no milk,” said Monkey Helpline’s Carol Booth.

“Another is a young female which seems to have her own baby.”

The third female is older and full of milk, Booth said, presuming that her infant was one of the 13 that were poisoned.

From today, only three will remain at the Monkey Helpline shelter.

“One, a male, is in such a bad way it cannot sit up.

“Another is a baby that suffered neurological damage when it fell out of a tree onto a stone. These two may well not be able to be reintroduced to the troop and will end up in a sanctuary,” said Booth. The third is not quite recovered.

Meanwhile, two different private investigators are looking for the poisiner and a reward of R40000 has reportedly been offered for information leading to a prosecution.

Since last weekend’s incident, Monkey Helpline has encountered another incident of cruelty to the creatures.

It found a monkey with serious injuries to its mouth caused by a large fish hook which was part of a trap comprising several fish hooks attached to a string.

Municipal workers discovered the creature in pain on Thursday when they peered over a wall in Verulam.

Smit said Monkey Helpline was working with the SPCA to press a charge of animal cruelty.

Independent On Saturday