Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Monkey sanctuary.

South African schools are currently coming towards the end of an approximately 6 week break. One of our treat outings for the holiday was a daytrip to a nearby Monkey Sanctuary. It's about 20 mins drive from Jo'burg, near Hartebeespoort Dam. When we lived in Durban, we were quite used to wild monkeys coming into the homes, stealing fruit. Here in Joburg it's been a while since we saw any.
The monkeys at the sanctuary all live in an enclosed area of lush rainforest-like vegetation. Tours of about an hour each are then taken through the area. You get to see the monkeys really up close. They have all been "human imprinted", i.e. they have lived with humans. Apparently people import them as babies, mostly from South America. Once they grow older, and sometimes more aggressive, they are then brought to the sanctuary.
Some of them adapt well to the wilder environment, and others not so well. There was a twosome that stole some-one's waterbottle right out of his pocket, to everyone's amusement.

One of the water "thieves" then decided to ride along on one of the ladies' head & shoulders. There was no way he was getting off. Another monkey, who was acting very aggressively towards the others was apparently found abandoned by his owners who emigrated to Cuba.
But there are some happy stories too, like the mothers we saw with little ones. Isn't that one too cute! They said that the tell tale sign that the monkeys have adapted well is when they start breeding. I would have uploaded a lot more photo's, but it is taking extremely long. I'm hoping to do a digital lay-out and then I'll upload that at some stage. It was a great outing, I just wished we could have had more time to just enjoy the forest at leisure. It reminded me a lot of Durban's coastal forests.

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