This young Vervet Monkey in all likelihood has a precarious future. She belongs to a troop of monkeys that survives on the fringes of a suburban area that is surrounded by a commercial plantation of eucalyptus trees. She has done well to survive this far as the mortality rate of baby monkeys is high.

There is not much that is edible in the plantation and so monkeys include suburban gardens in their foraging routes. This necessity can bring them into conflict with humans who resent their presence. In contrast, a small minority of people feed monkeys by hand, which has the unfortunate effect of habituating monkeys to people and leading them to associate people with access to food, which all too often ends up badly for monkeys.

We strive for a middle way. We plant indigenous plants in an attempt to create a wildlife-friendly garden where visiting creatures, including monkeys, can forage. Our veggie garden has monkey-proof fencing (including the “roof”) and this arrangement works well.

Purple-crested Turaco and Vervet Monkey eating the fruit of an Umdoni tree

If wild birds, such as this Purple-crested Turaco (formerly Purplecrested Loerie) eat flowers, fruits seeds and plants in the garden, we are pleased, and that applies to monkeys too

We do not approach the monkeys visiting our garden and keep our distance, but we do not chase them either. We also discourage our dogs from chasing them. As a result, monkeys visiting our garden are chilled and peaceful, as can be seen in the top photo in the rather quizzical expression of this youngster glancing in my direction.

When photographing monkeys I use the LCD screen to focus the zoom lens and I hold the camera as low as I can. I find that if I hold the camera up to my face to use the viewfinder, it frightens the monkeys and they duck out of sight. I assume they make an association between a camera pointed at them like that and a gun, and that association tells its own story.

There is only one post this week while I am away on holiday. I will catch up with blogging on my return.

Posted by Carol 

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