One hundred vervet monkeys were removed from the Umsizi Umkomaas Vervet Monkey Rescue Centre in KwaZulu-Natal where they were being kept illegally in poor conditions, on Monday, 29 March.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) successfully captured the animals from cages at the centre and charged the owner with contravening two sections of Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974.
The woman was also slapped with a R1500 fine and could face a possible prison term of up to six months.
In a statement, Musa Mntambo from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said the owner of Umsizi Vervet Monkeys Rescue Centre had been given 21 days’ notice on 4 February 2021 to remove the monkeys. She did not comply and was accordingly charged with breaking two sections of Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974.
“The two sections that she failed to adhere to are; Section 80 (1) of the Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974 which states that ‘No person shall keep in captivity any indigenous mammal or exotic mammal, except in terms of a permit granted under subsection 2 of section 84 and in accordance with the conditions, if any, imposed under subsection (3) of that section.’
“And Section 213 (4B) which states that ‘Any person who fails to comply with any lawful demand made by any Officer or honorary Officer under this Ordinance, or wilfully gives any false or misleading information in pursuance of such demand shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred rand, or in default payment, to imprisonment for any term exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment’,” read the statement.
The teams removing the monkeys said they were cramped in five enclosures, most of which were covered in faecal matter and thick sludge.
“In one enclosure next to the kitchen, there were multiple monkeys housed in an extremely small (3.5m x 2m) and dark outdoor area with no sun availability and no perches (except for one beam which was attached to broken and rusting steel mesh). The team had to clean their boots multiple times in order to prevent slipping while catching,” said Mntambo.
The cages had obvious health and safety concerns. There were large nails sticking out of the walls, rotting roofing and broken floor boards.
“One monkey caught its cheek on an exposed nail which created a small superficial cut along its cheek.”
According to Ezemvelo Game Capture Unit, the monkeys will be disposed of in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Guidelines for the Placement of Confiscated Animals. These guidelines include:
• returning confiscated animals to the wild;
• returning confiscated animals in captivity and