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Jason's Jive February 2021 By Jason Inanga (Online Exclusive)

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

Happy New Year. Let us jump straight into things. I was wondering what I would write about this month. While pondering, I came across an image on social media. Hilarious!!! There is a picture of a male lion fast asleep and behind it, a monkey can be seen creeping up with a stick to hit it on the head (and then presumably run for its dear life). I laughed for a long time, just trying to picture the lion waking up, then seeing the monkey, and then getting into attack mode.

This took me down memory lane with monkeys. So, we will monkey around this month, and please do not laugh too loud.

On my island of St. Kitts, we have a monkey problem, the green vervet monkey. In some local quarters, it is believed that we have more monkeys than people. Personally, I see them as a nuisance, based on personal experiences.

In 2005 or 2006, I had a garden to the side of my home. For the first time in my life, I was successfully growing cabbage and ooh did they look good. I even had coworkers place orders for some when they were ready for harvest. I had other vegetables also. My next-door neighbor had almost ripe bananas on his tree. (The myth is that monkeys like bananas. Well, monkeys—the green vervet monkeys­­­­­­­­­­­­­­—apparently like fresh shoots of plants.)

I noticed one day that something had messed with some of the plants in the garden. I had no idea who or what. So, I went to a store and for three straight days bought some rat traps, thinking it may be rats. I could not figure out why rats would mess with a garden. After the third day, the staff in the store started to tease me about my sudden interest in rat traps. I explained to them that whatever was happening, the traps were­­­ disappearing, and I had not seen anything near my house.

That was on a Wednesday evening when we had the conversation. Thursday morning, my wife stayed home from work because our son was not feeling well and could not go to daycare. She said at a point the dog got very restless and would not stop barking. Eventually she looked out the window and saw a troop of monkeys sitting casually in the garden, uprooting, and picking at my vegetables. I was livid. They ignored the ripe bananas next door and came after my vegetables. All that work for nothing…carrots uprooted, tomato plants destroyed and more. A retiree had moved back to the island from England and chose to take up gardening as a hobby. He had a nice garden, but eventually he got picked on by the monkeys. His dogs stopped trying to chase them away (frustration I guess). So, he fenced the garden, but they kept coming. He decided to hook up the fence to electricity. It worked briefly, but then the monkeys discovered they could burrow under the fence and gain access to the garden without being shocked. Poor man gave up gardening after that. True story.

Tourists and some of the residents would go to the beach to hang out and take their pet dogs along. The dogs would be on a leash while the owners relaxed on beach chairs under the shade of trees. The monkeys would test th­­­­­e dogs to see how far the leash extended and then would stay on the perimeter and joke around, antagonizing the dogs, which would eventually stop barking and trying to lunge at them. So next the dogs proceed to try and sit and rest. No way. The monkeys would jump from the trees and tug at the dogs’ ears or the tail, or just jump on the back of the poor, tired dog and then scuttle off.

As I end the Jive, please go on YouTube and search “Green Vervet Monkeys in St Kitts, Caribbean” or “St Kitts drunk monkeys.” That’s the Jive.

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