YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.
Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome
Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet
where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put
together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator
for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well
as while you're on your placement and on your return home.
The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide
and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching
Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all
we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome,
elegant and beautiful country.
WHAT IT TAKES TO RESCUE, REHABILITATE AND RELEASE MONKEYS
Conflict between man and primate can have a devastating effect on troops with Vervet Monkeys often being killed by farmers and traditional hunters, attacked by dogs and killed by cars leaving orphaned babies behind that need caring for until ready to start Phase 1 of their rehabilitation for eventual release into the wild.
Members of the public and other conservation organizations often bring the babies in knowing they will be in the best hands for constant monitoring and bottle feeding and care. It is a time consuming job as these mischievous little creatures need caring for just like human babies and without mothers someone has to do the job.
And that is where volunteers come in after being trained by the monkey experts on how to do it. This care by their human minders goes on until the babies reach roughly 3 months old. Then the long and slow rehabilitation process starts. It is imperative that this is done properly so as to ensure a successful release. It's also very important that in the final stage human contact is kept to an absolute minimum to reduce any possibility of human imprinting that will jeopardise a safe and successful release.
Phase 1: Once the babies reach 3 months, the Project will begin Phase 1 of their rehabilitation by moving the babies into an enclosure with other babies of similar ages. Here they will still get human contact and can still be bottle fed but will start to be weaned off human contact so that they will start identifying more with their own kind - other Vervet Monkeys. They will also start learning more “monkey business”, enjoying fruit, scratching in the ground, grooming each other and exploring branches and the use of their prehensile tail.
Monkeys are extremely social creatures with set social structures. For their own well being, they do best with others of their own kind. This is another reason why they do not make good pets.
pHASE 2: Phase 2 is the when the group of youngsters have now started bonding and are moved into the pre-release enclosure. Human contact will be cut down even more and no bottle feeding will take place and the monkeys will start to learn to feed and scrounge for themselves.
Phase 3: Phase 3 is the most important stage where the same troop, which have now built their social structures, are moved to the release enclosure. Once again human contact is reduced even further so that the monkeys do not identify with humans and thus, once released, will stay far away from them. The release troop can be made up of anything from 25 to 30 monkeys.
The release will take place in a safe secure area far from human settlements and with plenty of food, water (did we mention Vervets are one of the few monkeys that like to swim?) and natural vegetation in the vicinity - normally on a nature reserve. To release a troop, all the necessary permits need to be in place too and the Vervet Monkey project is backed by the SPCA with this. As an organization, they are is permitted to release Vervet Monkeys in the KwaZulu-Natal province after a full rehabilitation process has taken place. This rehabilitation can take up to 4 years and it's for the troops own well-being that it is done properly with the correct procedures.
Latest Achievements: In the last baby season (September 2015 to March 2016) the Vervet Monkey project rescued and cared for 16 baby Vervet Monkeys orphans and 1 baby baboon (who was then transferred to the relevant authority for care and to be rehabilitated with a baboon troop).
They have 10 enclosures for the various stages of rehabilitation which are constantly supplied with fresh branches to stimulate climbing and lots of fresh fruit and water. The last troop release was at the end of 2014 and the next rehabilitated group is due for release in December 2016.
There is also an enclosure for non-releasable ex-pet monkeys who cannot be released but will remain safe at the Vervet Monkey project for their full lifetimes. Monkeys are extremely cute, especially when young, but they are wild animals and make terrible “pets” so eventually they end up being a problem for their owners. They have behavioural issues like urinating and biting and, unfortunately, as they have been kept for so long with humans, that human contact is imprinted on them. These ex-pets who have been now surrendered to the Vervet Monkey project will never be able to be released as they have no fear of humans. That in itself will be a death sentence for these monkeys if released. As man is the biggest threat to monkeys, it is imperative that they do not associate themselves with humans in any way whatsoever to keep them safe. All the non-releasable monkeys in this enclosure are sterilized so no breeding occurs as breeding captive monkeys does not fit into any conservation plan at all.
Volunteers will be urgently needed for the next baby season, which starts in the South African spring (September) to care for the rescued orphans. Volunteers can also take part in the next release of the rehabilitated troop due in December, if not a little earlier