Concern for troop of monkeys following M4 reopening

DURBAN-based animal rescue organisation, Monkey Helpline, has urged motorists using the M4 Ruth First Highway, between uMhlanga and eMdloti, to be extra vigilant due to a troop of vervet monkeys crossing the busy highway.

A section of the road (between uMhlanga and Sibaya) which had been closed for eight months led to an increase of several wild animals, moongoose, duiker and monkeys using the highway to cross over to the uMhlanga Lagoon and Reserve.

However since the start of last week, when the road reopened following repairs, a total of nine monkeys had been hit and killed on the stretch of road, said Carol Booth of Monkey Helpline.

“The urban wildlife have gotten used to being able to reclaim this part of their territory. They have once again started crossing the freeway and not having to worry or stress about the fast moving cars travelling along the road. With the road once again open to traffic, the wildlife are being annihilated on this fast moving stretch of freeway. We desperately need to set up overhead bridges for the monkeys on this stretch of road and with so many animals crossing here daily, signs need to be erected and the speed limit reduced.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen nine monkeys from one particular troop killed on this stretch. I’m appealing to motorists frequenting the highway to be on the lookout especially as they are getting used to the fact that the road is now unsafe and dangerous to cross. We are also working with a local student who is conducting a study on the use of monkey bridges and our hope is put one in place on this stretch. Of course we would have to work with the City and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife about the possibility but we feel this could be one way to save the monkeys,” she said.