February 28, 2001
4:55 AM   Subscribe

are behind a wave of burglaries in the port city of Durban" "The adaptable vervets have become ingenious and efficient raiders who break into houses..." / "The monkeys, about 75 centimetres tall, like to squeeze through security bars and small windows." / "Police have rejected the idea of shooting or poisoning the monkeys, but that does not stop residents from taking potshots at monkeys that feed in their suburban gardens. The gunshot victims - those that survive..."
posted by tiaka (13 comments total)
"They have adapted to the urban jungle as Durban's rapid expansion into a city of 2 million has cut into their forest habitat."

I hope the monkeys terrorize the city, and that any attempt to eradicate them just causes the monkeys to evolve into cunning, unstoppable devils that destroy everything in their path.

Oh, wait. That's how we got humans.

Forget that.

posted by pracowity at 5:09 AM on February 28, 2001

/i> ---- just stopping the italic madness! -- carry on.
posted by Hankins at 5:15 AM on February 28, 2001

I didn't include any italics in that posting. The interface screwed up. It even italicized my 'posted by' line.
posted by pracowity at 5:24 AM on February 28, 2001

tiaka forgot to close the italic. look at the front page of metafilter.
posted by Hankins at 5:30 AM on February 28, 2001


To learn more...Tom Robbins' Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas features an ape who's being rehabilitated from life as a jewel thief. (It's not Robbins' best, but it's a fun read.)
posted by jpoulos at 6:22 AM on February 28, 2001

I live in Minneapolis during the summer. We have squirrel problems, geese problems and deer problems, but never monkey problems. I think it is fair to call them 'problems', as they can create quite a mess... deer are very solid objects when one is travelling at 60 mph in a Geo. I recall a conversation a few years back with someone that lived in rural Hawaii. They had ferral pig problems. Rural Minnesotans are having their livestock killed by wolves, an animal that was nearly driven to extinction not long ago. Now we've got monkeys.

There obviously is an issue between civilization and wildlife, but thus far a decent solution has not surfaced. City workers wrangle up geese from golf courses (some are released elsewhere, others are thrown into a pot at homeless shelters. Really.) only to be met by animal-rights protesters. Some suggest hunting to thin out deer, and that angers still more folks. Monkey control would no doubt be a much stickier moral dilemma than squirrel control, as monkeys have that whole 'almost human' look going for them.

posted by Dane at 7:34 AM on February 28, 2001


To step off topic for a moment, you know the trailer comes online this afternoon, right?
posted by harmful at 8:02 AM on February 28, 2001

> We have squirrel problems, geese problems
> and deer problems,

Animal control through birth control (combined with proper garbage management, fencing, more patience, less greed, and so on) is a good approach to such problems. (More people should also use birth control and stop using their children as unpaid employees and pension plans and so on. There shouldn't be 2 million people in Durban.)

Shooting, poisoning, trapping, or otherwise painfully killing animals whose homes you have invaded and destroyed is not a good approach to the conflict and is not the sort of thing you should expect of an advanced, intelligent, compassionate species.

• The feral pigs in Hawaii are the fault of stupid settlers bringing a foreign species to the islands. For the sake of the overall ecology of the islands, the pigs could be phased out through birh control and humane trapping.

• Deer are a problem mainly when people build a road through trees but are too cheap to put fencing alongside the road. Put up fences (or don't build the damned road in the first place) and the problem is gone.

• Are a few golfers being disturbed by geese? Good.

• Are those big, bad squirrels bothering you again?

Also, farmers need to expect some losses and to be less greedy and unnatural. It is stupid to divert rivers to grow rice in the desert. It is stupid to try to poison every bug that might nibble some of their crops. And it is stupid to reduce huge tracts of land to one major species just so Farmer Brown, Incorporated, can keep a few sheep from natural predators (not as any favor to the sheep, mind you; it's so he can do the dirty work himself and maximize profits).

posted by pracowity at 8:31 AM on February 28, 2001

They have a similar problem in France, where people are illegally keeping Barbary Apes as pets, which are then escaping and attacking people. We talked about it in MeFi a few months ago.
posted by jpoulos at 8:35 AM on February 28, 2001

Actually squirrels are really annoying, they come around and dig in garbage cans, if you live in a house and take out the trash they'll rip all the plastic bags around scattering banana peals, egg shells and that watery goo all over the sidewalk.
posted by tiaka at 8:53 AM on February 28, 2001

"That watery goo"?
posted by rodii at 8:58 AM on February 28, 2001

> "That watery goo"?

Maybe that's what happens when he sees those scary squirrels.
posted by pracowity at 9:17 AM on February 28, 2001

Ha! Yes, whenever you put something in trash bags it mysteriously gets watery goo, I'm guessing it's egg runnings with waters, milk leftover bread crumbs... very yucky stuff. Go and open up a full trash bag with garbage in it.. it's on the bottom.
posted by tiaka at 9:19 AM on February 28, 2001

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