A heavily pregnant, and seemingly injured monkey, found in Schoemansville in Hartbeespoort, was found to have 13 pellets lodged in her body after having been shot with a pellet gun.
Some of the pellets were lodged close to the spine, causing nerve damage, partially paralyzing one of her legs.
Residents, Andrew and Natasha Rough found the monkey, dragging her leg, in Danie Street on Monday and called in the assistance of Greg Strydom, local conservationist and owner of the Chameleon Village Reptile Park, Hartbeespoort Aquarium and Makalani Bird Park.
It was presumed that the monkey might have been hit by a car and had a broken leg. Greg rushed her to a veterinarian where it was discovered that 13 pellets were lodged in the pregnant monkey’s body, two close to the spine.
“She is suffering nerve damage, causing the dragging leg,” Greg said. “Because she is heavily pregnant, the pellets could not be removed. She will have to have an operation and at this time it will endanger her life and that of the baby.”
“The bullets will cause lead poisoning and she will eventually suffer a slow and terribly painful death.”
Greg said the monkey was expected to give birth within the next two weeks. “At the moment I am looking after her at home to make her comfortable and see that she eats. She is receiving anti-inflammatory medication and pain killers to relieve her discomfort and pain. However, we are trying to use as little as possible medication to protect the baby. After the birth, and if she and the baby are healthy, the monkey will be operated on to remove the pellets. If all goes well, we will then start with rehabilitation.”
People who are shooting monkeys with pellet guns are warned that it is illegal to fire a pellet gun in a built-up area. It is also in contravention of the Animal Protection Act, and perpetrators will face a heavy penalty.
“Firearm owners should also keep in mind that should you be caught shooting with a pellet gun in a built-up area, the licences of other firearms will also be revoked.”
Linda Spencer-Coye, chairman of the Hartbeespoort Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) said it is extremely cruel to shoot animals with a pellet gun, causing suffering and eventually a slow death. “They will be charged with cruelty to animals and prosecuted.”
Residents are requested to report the shooting of animals with pellet guns.