Nevis’ Vervet Monkeys

While many Caribbean islands are beginning to attack the lionfish problem by encouraging people to eat them, in Nevis, some are proposing the same solution to stop vervet monkeys from ravaging the island’s crops [see previous post Voracious, small monkeys bedevil Nevis]. This photo reminds me of my discomfort with most forms of eradication proposed (except, perhaps, neutering). Yes, I admit that, while I am completely aware of the ecological ramifications, I find it hard to resist the “cuteness” of vervet monkeys, I admire the placid elegance of the green iguanas, and I think the ferocious lionfish are breathtakingly beautiful. Alas, I have a soft spot for the [not-so-]discreet charm of the invasive species.

In this photo, Joe Cabey, a monkey trapper, holds a vervet monkey he captured in the mountains in Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis. Thousands of vervet monkeys, which arrived in St. Kitts and Nevis on slave ships from West Africa, have lived uneasily with islanders for three centuries. Now locals are growing frustrated with the primates who are raiding local farms.

See AP photo by Ramon Espinosa at

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