Make Me a Monkey

200447 mins

Regarded by many as little more than vermin, vervet monkeys in South Africa have been dying out and are now an endangered species. Each year, thousands of vervet monkeys are trapped and sold to labs for medical research. Baby monkeys are also taken from the wild and kept as pets -- until they become too big, boisterous and dangerous. Due to the misconception that they destroy fruit crops, vervet monkeys are systematically eradicated by farmers.

It turns out that vervet monkeys are essential to the ecosystem and are vital for seed dispersal. Take away the monkeys and you take away the regeneration of acacia trees, which many African animals rely on for food.

Thus the “broken” monkeys can have a vital role to play in the wild – provided they can be taught how to be real monkeys again! Just how do you take old discarded pets, orphaned and injured animals and make them wild again? First you get them to a dedicated rehabilitation center and then you go about the arduous task of teaching them the monkey facts of life again, a process that can take several years.