The VMF has over many years developed and pioneered a new approach to the rehabilitation of orphaned vervet monkeys. In 1998 we announced our unique rehabilitation programme that incorporated the use of large electrified enclosures that are natural, and by using introduction enclosures, we had formed within this natural system, large viable troops, that would be re-introduce into protected vervet forest reserves.
Our rehabilitation centre is designed to handle orphaned vervet monkeys of all ages and more specifically designed to cope with large numbers of babies that become orphaned each year this has been made possible with international volunteers and gap year students getting involved . Babies are easily assimilated into our programme and we try to get as many of them out of the hands of the public and into our care.
To date, we have successfully rehabilitated hundreds of babies. They were rehabilitated and raised within a natural environment and retained a high degree of their natural fear of humans. Our programme can return an orphaned baby monkey back into a wild state in four to eight weeks, this is achieved by introducing a baby to a female in one of our resident troops living in natural environments at our centre.
Our protocol is to treat every monkey as an individual. Monkeys are highly intelligent primate mammals and they need expert handling which is achieved by qualified handlers, volunteers and long term staff and the success of this programme is due to this fact.
The monkeys we handle come from different backgrounds and thus have been brought up in different environments and therefore are treated differently through their acclimatization period before they can be integrated into a troop structure. For example, some grow up in homes, others in cages, some are well cared for while others are abused, some suffer from malnutrition from having been fed the incorrect diet when a baby etc.
There are factors we have no control over such as – the numbers of monkeys that get handed into our care, the age groups as well as gender of the monkeys that come into our program. As numbers can vary we are flexible and more importantly we have the knowledge and can adapt wherever possible to ensure the best mix possible.