An animal rights activist has issued a warning to the public after responding to a troop of monkeys that had been poisoned in a Durban suburb.
Steve Smit‚ founder of the NGO Monkey Helpline‚ and his partner‚ Carol Booth‚ were called to a home in Queensburgh on Sunday night where seven dead monkeys and a dead hadeda had been found in a suburban garden.
An eighth adult female vervet was found barely alive‚ with a baby clinging to her. She died on the way to the vet.
Smit said autopsies had shown that the monkeys had been poisoned. “They had black and blue granules in their stomachs.” The poison has been identified as Temik. It can be inserted into fruit or bread or mixed with porridge. It causes rapid organ collapse.
According to Gauteng vet Dr Larry Kraitzick‚ Temik which is also known as Aldicarb‚ is a deadly pesticide which has been known to used in rhino poaching. One teaspoon of the poison will kill a rhino.
Smit said: “It is colloquially known as ‘Two Step’ because people say you take two steps and die‚” said Smit. He added that the risk of getting caught is high and the consequences are severe. “The animal that ingests this will die within 50 metres of the poisoning so there’s a strong likelihood that the poisoner can be identified. It is also illegal in terms of the Poisons Act.”
The latest incident comes after four monkeys were found dead in Hilton a week ago and 14 monkeys were poisoned to death in Hibberdene in March.
Smit has urged the public to contact the helpline regarding the presence of dead monkeys with no obvious wounds. “Poisoning of monkeys is unethical cruel and illegal‚ perpetrated by people with no regard for the law and with no compassion.”
Experts believe that the widespread distribution and use of Temik is not necessarily linked to registered distributors‚ but to the illegal selling of Temik as a “domestic rat poison” at bus depots in South Africa.