DURBAN - Upon the inception of the national lockdown in South Africa due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) has treated its highest number of Vervet Monkeys in 40 years.
The majority of the wounds that the monkeys sustained were bullet wounds, broken bones and internal bleeding.
Communications and Marketing officer for CROW Alexandra Kögl, revealed that more than 30 primates have been admitted to the centre during March and April, with only a handful of them surviving the ordeal.
“In most cases, a pellet gun was used. Unfortunately, this is part of a growing trend at CROW where we are admitting dozens of more monkeys than ever before,” added Kögl.
“We believe this sharp increase is directly linked to the lockdown and the public’s fear of getting infected with Covid-19. But there is no evidence to suggest that it can be transmitted from being around animals - domestic or wild.”
Although tensions are high and frustration levels grow stronger due to the lockdown regulations being imposed, Kögl says people should not use animals as a means of purging.
“All living things, even animals must be treated with respect and tolerance as we go through this challenging time in our country,” she said.
She said if someone is spotted using a pellet gun on a monkey, the SPCA should be notified.
“You can also go to the police. Even though a person does not need a licence to own an air-gun, the use of it is regulated under the Firearms Control Act,” said Kögl.
The lockdown has posed as a likely reason for this sort of behaviour but still does not justify harming animals, according to Meg Wilson of the National Council for SPCA.
“People are now at home more and have an increased likelihood of interacting with monkeys.”
“Monkeys are perhaps frequenting areas more often as more food is available because people are home and their houses are unlocked. Do not feed or harm them, if they have no benefit for being on your property they will move on,” added Wilson.
To bring justice to the current cruelty the monkeys are facing, Wilson stated that if any animal was to suffer in any way by a human, they will be charged with animal cruelty and prosecuted in terms of the Animals Protection Act.
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