The High Wire Act

Morning erupts here on the Kunene River with ebullient energy – the bird chorus is chirpy, full of range and volume.  Sounds like a herd of elephant is marching over the tin roof.  I shoot out of bed, armed with camera to see a troop of agile vervet monkeys scampering through the camp.

Little faces peer intently through the leaves – some are bold, others shy and they’re alert anticipating being chased off.  Then comes the high wire act as they make a dash across the power cables.   The previous evening the tree squirrels showed off their athletic moves on the same wire and we delighted in their balancing act doing showy moves with their elegant tails.  The monkeys shimmy across in an instant, perfectly balanced and surefooted.

The property has fruit trees but it’s the campers with accessible food supplies who are the real attractants.   Even though there are notices up at every campsite with rules not to feed the monkeys, the advice is often ignored.


16 thoughts on “The High Wire Act

  1. The wording in your story paints a vivid picture of this encounter with the monkeys. I could see it unfolding in my mind’s eye. Liz- how clever to place the photos after the story- I pictured the wire differently and was impressed by the perspective you used. (Seems universal that people ignore the no feeding signs… here, on the coast, it’s elk.)

    1. Thanks for your comments Jane. They moved so quickly and I was excited to see them in action. Their tails were used as a counterbalance, they are so athletic. I’m getting better at setting fast shutter priority speeds – but more often than not fumble the shot through not anticipating their moves.
      This lack of respect towards feeding wildlife is so disappointing!

      1. And often dangerous. What irritates me the most is when people disregard the warning, get hurt, and the “offending” animal is put down…

  2. Did you notice that the hands and faces of these vervets are lighter in colour than the ones here in South Africa, Liz? They’re from a different subspecies; Malbrouck’s Vervet Monkey, and actually these are the first photos I have seen of them!

  3. I love the photo of the vervets with the bougainvillea! Same old problem with humans who think they’re entitled to get close with wild creatures without causing any harm, t’s so self centred.

    1. Most happy to have captured them in the colourful backdrop :). The group of campers feeding them were Russian speaking and quite oblivious to the harm they were causing. Selfish and ignorant! Pictures up in wildlife areas warning not to feed the jackals and hyenas!

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