Monkey in Town

By Gershwin Fielies

On the 5th of March one of our rangers received a call from a resident of the local community Slangrivier, about 25km from Witsand regarding a monkey being spotted in one of their large blue gum trees. Our ranger, Gershwin Fielies, went out to investigate the situation.

As he arrived lots of residents were at the scene out of curiosity, it was an unusual situation because it was the first time that someone had spotted a monkey in Slangriver. At first it was very difficult to spot the monkey and identify it since it was sitting very high and was trying to hide itself. Eventually our ranger got a sneak peak of it and was able to identify which species it was. It was identified as a blou aap or vervet monkey ( Chlorocebus pygerythrus).

After identifying it our ranger tried to contact Cape Nature Riversdale to inform them about the situation unfortunately they couldn’t be reached as it was Sunday. Our ranger informed the resident that he couldn’t get hold of Cape Nature and that he will be contacting them the following day. He told the resident to tell people not to disturb the monkey as they planned to catch it with the assistance with Cape Nature.

Monkey in town. Photo credit: Gershwin Fielies

The following day our ranger got hold of Michael Hanson of Cape Nature and explained the issue. Michael told Gershwin that he will be organising a trap cage for it and that they would set it up later on during the day. Later that day Gershwin and Michael visited the site where the monkey was and set up the cage. They managed to get some fruit and peanuts, a monkey favorite. They explained to the residents how the trap cage works and asked that no one get too close within that area so as not the deter the monkey from entering the cage. They fully understood and were very cooperative. After everything was set it was a case of waiting for the clever monkey to enter the cage. According to the residents and neighbors though, our monkey wasn’t that stupid as he was not entering the cage but still eating the fruits from the outside.

Gershwin followed up each day after work to monitor the situation and nothing yet. He kept on putting out fresh fruit and hoped that it would eventually enter the cage. On day three our ranger Gershwin got home after work and about half an hour later he was bombarded with excited kids shouting “The monkey! The monkey!” realising that the monkey must have entered the cage.

Gershwin went to the site and saw a lot off residents had surrounded the cage in curiosity.

The monkey was in cage and ranger Gershwin contacted Cape Nature to inform them that the monkey in town had finally stepped in the cage.

About fifteen minutes later Llewellyn from Cape Nature Grootvadersbos arrived and took the monkey safely away and into the mountains. The residents thanked Gershwin from the Lower Breede River Conservancy Trust and Cape Nature for resolving the monkey in town issue.