16.11.2012 A monkey on the loose in the city centre was in some of the units of the Sederberg Retirement centre. Picture Pieter Erasmus

Pretoria - A monkey calmly sat on a windowsill in the Pretoria CBD devouring a banana he had just stolen from a room at a retirement village, on his foraging mission.

A city resident was surprised by an unexpected visitor when she found the primate in her flat on Froidady. Corrie Odendaal, who lives in Sederberg retirement centre, was shocked to find the monkey in her flat, early yesterday morning.

The monkey was perched on her coffee table and casually peeling a banana. The monkey moved to the windowsill after Odendaal shouted at it. He then started to eat his bounty before leaping out through the window.

Sederberg caretaker Pieter Erasmus also spotted the monkey roaming around the retirement centre and and, at some stage, sitting in the garden. Erasmus grabbed his camera and took a few pictures before the monkey dashed across the road and into the jacaranda trees near the Hamilton Primary playgrounds.

“He was definitely wild and very human shy,” according to Erasmus. He said as soon as he started taking photos and getting closer, the monkey made his getaway with loot in hand.

“Following a monkey through a city is very difficult when you’re in a car or on foot” said deputy director of Nature Conservation Thinus Prinsloo.

Prinsloo said they were aware of the monkey’s presence and that it had been in the CBD since Wednesday. Prinsloo said they had been tracking the monkey, but had been unable to capture it. He said they couldn’t risk darting the monkey in a public area as the dart they used can be lethal to human beings. “So, instead of taking that risk, we will leave the monkey, as it should return to join its troop in the greenbelt once the traffic dies down and there is less movement in the city centre.”

The animal which has been identified as a male vervet monkey was first spotted on the banks of the Apies River in the CBD. Prinsloo said people had helped the monkey’s foraging mission by feeding him all sorts of food. Prinsloo added that this was not a good thing as it might cause the monkey to stay in the vicinity.

Craig Allenby, of the Pretoria Zoological Gardens, said that he had never heard of a monkey roaming around in the CBD. He said they received numerous reports every year about monkey sightings but these were mostly in the suburbs.

Prinsloo said it wasn’t entirely unusual as there was wildlife in surrounding areas and that the monkey could have followed the river into town in search of food.

The monkey was last sighted at about 3pm yesterday near Melrose House.

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