Durban - The culprit behind the shooting of a vervet monkey with a pellet gun on a Durban golf estate faces criminal prosecution - and a R100 000 fine.
In a notice to residents of Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate 2, the management board also offered a R10 000 reward to anyone with information leading to the successful prosecution of the shooter.
This came after a female vervet monkey was found shot in the chest and suffered for two weeks before she was located, according to the notice.
A resident spotted the monkey two weeks ago and called in Monkey Helpline founder, Steve Smit.
Speaking to the Daily News on Thursday, he said he received the call in the early evening notifying him of what a resident thought was a sick monkey sitting in her garden.
“When we got there it was dark and the monkey had run under the deck.”
When he and fellow rescuer, Carol Booth, shone their torch under the deck, the monkey took fright. Smit said the monkey was moving with great difficulty as she scurried into the garden before being caught between a shrub and a wall.
“Carol caught her by the tail. She was in a bad way.”
The board said the monkey was so thin, her bones showed, as she was starving and in pain.
Smit said she had barely any lung capacity. The pellet had pierced her lungs.
With the prognosis poor, she was euthanised.
Yvette Farinha, of the Estate 2 management association, said they were outraged by the incident, especially because it had happened before.
“These are terrible and heinous acts and as a conservancy, it hurts us to the core.”
Smit agreed, saying they had had a continuing battle with air gun shootings at the estate for years.
“What angers and really irritates me more is that the estate is on their (monkey’s) ancestral land.
Most of the people there are pro monkeys, but there are those few who deliberately and vociferously resist our efforts to educate people about monkeys and call for them to be trapped and relocated,” he said.
Farinha said they knew of at least four troops permanently residing in different parts of the estate.
“They can be trouble, but they are animals, and it’s in their nature,” she said.
“But we ensure that every new tenant or owner goes through a process of awareness during orientation. We even provide a pamphlet from the Monkey Helpline, but there are still people who commit these absolutely cruel acts.”
Smit lauded the Estate 2 board for the reward and fine, saying it was a huge step forward in the protection of the animals from unscrupulous criminals.
He said pellet guns were dangerous, with the potential to kill a human being.
A pellet could go right through the skull of a fully grown monkey.