Saving Baby Irene

12th Jul, 2017

Written by Chandré de Bruyn, Marketing Officer at CROW (Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife)

Baby Irene, a Vervet monkey, was rescued by a passer-by after being subjected to terrible cruelty by uneducated children, which resulted in severe wounds and shock...

Dragged along the street by her tail

On Wednesday, 15 May 2017, Kevin Rundle was driving through Mtunzini, KZN, when he spotted a group of young boys dragging a baby monkey along the road by its tail. Naturally, he stopped and jumped out to save her. Kevin insisted that they let her go, not giving up until they did so.

The terrified animal made a dash into the bush and was only found the next day alongside a nearby dirt road, exhausted, injured and in shock. In her pain she actually went right up to Kevin in order for him to help her.

It had been a steaming hot day and the tar along which she’d been dragged had heated up, causing severe burn wounds to her feet. She also had two puncture wounds that had become badly infected and she was dehydrated, a potentially fatal situation for a young monkey. The monkey, estimated to be around three-and-a-half months old, was whisked off to the CROW Intensive Care Unit.

The recovery process

The tiny, grey Vervet spent the next 10 days in intensive care. Her wounds were treated by applying burn ointment, and she needed bandage changes three times a day. Slowly, but surely, she improved until she could move around and the spark was back in hr eyes.

CROW named her after our Empangeni depot’s Irene Liversage, who rushed this little one to Empangeni Veterinary Hospital, where she was treated by Dr Geoff until she could get to CROW.

Once she could leave intensive care, Baby Irene went into a separate enclosure until she was strong enough to join the rest of the nursery group of ten baby monkeys. There, the little ones can grow stronger with others of their age group until they can be joined by older babies; eventually, this group will move to the bigger enclosures as a troop.

A future for Baby Irene

As primates are social animals, it’s important to build a sustainable troop with adult males, females and juveniles. It takes about three to four years for a troop to settle in properly.

The ultimate goal is for a bonded troop of around 28 monkeys to be released on a farm where regular supervision is conducted to update CROW on the progress of the troop. The troop will be monitored to ensure that they’re adapting well.

On behalf of CROW, we would like to give a big thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of Baby Irene.

How you can help animals like Baby Irene

CROW is always in need of safe release sites around KwaZulu-Natal for the release our wildlife. If you know of any, or can assist, please give CROW a call on 031 462 1127.

Without the support and vigilance of the public, CROW would not be able to achieve what we do.

About CROW

CROW (Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) is the only wildlife rehabilitation centre in Durban registered to work with all types of indigenous wildlife found in KZN. Every year CROW rescues, rehabilitates and releases over 3000 orphaned, injured and displaced wild animals. As a registered non-profit organisation, CROW is 100% reliant on donations from the public.

For queries and more information, please contact CROW’s Marketing & Communications Officer, Chandré de Bruyn, on 031 462 1127 or email