Primate Pest Management

In Diani, three species of monkey are considered pests: baboons, sykes and vervets. Yet it remains a love-hate relationship. Hotel management recognises that the monkeys are a significant tourist attraction, and in private homes people enjoy watching the monkeys.

Baboons, sykes and vervet monkeys often do damage in hotels. Pest behaviour includes destruction of property and taking food from kitchens, off the buffets and tables and out of people's hands.  Unfortunately, threatening, scratching and biting of staff and guests has occurred causing management of the hotels concern over having the monkeys on their property. Colobus monkeys, owing to their different dietary adaptation, are the only species that do not cause problems as they stay in the tree canopy due to their diet of mainly leaves.

In the monkeys’ defense, hotels and homes have been built in what is traditionally their home range. Development has greatly reduced the number of food tree species in the area. This is coupled with an increase in the birth rate, compared to truly wild troops, as human food and rubbish is readily available which requires considerably less expenditure of energy to access and the foods have a higher calorie value than wild forage.

Primate pest behaviour is also enhanced through the enticement of monkeys to approach people for photos through the offering of food. Hotels are particularly vulnerable because they serve food in open areas and at specific times of the day. This regularity changes the routine of monkeys in order that they can best take advantage of the situation.

To resolve this problem, Colobus Conservation conducts ‘Primate Pest Assessments’ and follow-up management workshops with hoteliers. Topics during these workshops include the value of monkeys (ecologically and socio-economically), monkey psychology, deterrents, waste management and individual roles in conservation.

Diligent implementation of certain methods can also minimise monkey pest issues by dealing with the root cause. These include:
Short term aims:

  • Removal of artificial food sources for monkeys
  • Reduce financial losses and damage of hotel property and improving food hygiene management using humane deterrents  to monkeys
  • Provide systems for educating staff and tourists to reduce the monkey/human conflict

Long term aims:

  • Stabilise a smaller population of less habituated monkeys providing quality eco-viewing without harmful interactions to hotel guests and staff
  • Reduce liability of hotels by decreasing the risks of negative interactions between guests and monkeys.

Homes
In homes, typically food availability from open doors leading to the kitchen is the main issue encouraging primate pest behaviours.  It is important to remember that monkeys can open fridge doors, cupboard doors, turn doorknobs, undo zippers and open bags.  They also often recognise the difference between a real and fake snakes so hanging a plastic snake in your kitchen will not be a deterrent for long.

The root cause of monkey pest issues (as with other types of pest issues such as rats and cockroaches) is easy access to food sources.

Please CONTACT US for further support on addressing any pest monkey concerns you may have.