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  1. Monkey business

    posted by Rebecca Keenan | 0 Comments

    Monkey business

    Feb142010

    Along with Nina from Albergo for Backpackers, I walked from the elephant sanctuary to Monkeyland where I met Lara. She’s the marketing manager for both Monkeyland and Birds of Eden.

    We walked out into the Monkeyland forest where we recorded a podcast interview. It ended up being a pretty long interview as Lara had some really interesting things to say but I’ll get it edited up in no time once I’m back in the office.

    Monkeyland is, in very simple terms, a safe haven for monkeys. Those who have been rescued from circus life, from owners who can’t look after them anymore or other unpleasant situations all end up here. They get to live out their lives in a huge area of indigenous forest while breeding and interacting as they would in the real wild.

    People who visit Monkeyland aren’t allowed to feed or touch the animals. You’re strictly there as an observer, which is how it should be. It was a really interesting trip and I learned a huge amount about monkeys and primates from Bert our guide. This included how to tell what part of the world a monkey comes from by its tail. How cool is that!

    After Monkeyland we went to Birds of Eden, another sanctuary and this one for birds. There are a huge amount of birds in here both little and large, colourful and drab, and all of them are equally fascinating. Charlene took us around Birds of Eden, which is the largest free-flight aviary in the world. Normally you just walk around the park yourself and you can get a very handy little booklet that includes all the different types of birds found here.

    Then we made our way to our 4th and final nature attraction of the day and that was Tenikwa, a cat sanctuary. Here I learned that no matter what age people are they can be incredibly dumb.

    Our guide asked us not to crouch down when meeting the cats as that can rile them up and what did someone do? Crouch down and it obviously upset one of the cats. That’s not cool. It really isn’t. These animals are not here for our amusement, in my opinion. I think there’s a lot we can learn from encountering them at sanctuaries like Tenikwa but we have to be respectful as they’re wild animals.

    Sorry, a bit of a rant there, but that’s something that really bothers me. Anyways, it was really cool to get to see the cats up close like that and learn all about the initiatives happening throughout South Africa to help farmers take non-lethal measures to protect their livestock from cat predators. Very interesting stuff!

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