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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Nairobi State House monkeys evicted
Monkeys
After discovering food the monkeys invited their friends to Nairobi State House
A troupe of monkeys that invaded Kenya's State House and turned it into their new home has been captured and relocated by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers.

Officials at President Mwai Kibaki's official residence sought help from the KWS after the monkeys threatened to cause havoc, with their numbers increasing at an alarming rate.

"Our rangers were called in and managed to successfully relocate the 35 monkeys that had moved into state house from the neighbouring Arboretum park," Ngugi Gecaga, the KWS head of corporate and public affairs told BBC News Online.

The uninvited primates were apparently not posing any major threat to human beings, but the residents and workers were not happy with the prospect of being surrounded by monkeys.

Aroma

The monkeys had been attracted to State House by the aroma of food from the area around the kitchens.

"Once a few monkeys found out that food was available at the State House they went back to the park and invited all their friends," said Mr Gecaga.

"They are very social animals and communicate very easily and very fast."

To deal with the sudden invasion of monkeys the KWS had to liase with the Nairobi-based Institute of Primate Studies (IPS) which provided mass capture traps capable of netting large numbers of animals.

The traps were laid out for between two and three weeks before the monkeys, apparently suspicious of any new objects in the vicinity, decided to taste the food strategically placed inside the mass traps.

"When they entered the mass traps their stay at State House was over," said Mr Gecaga.

Stop feeding

After their capture some of the monkeys were taken to the IPS where they will be used in research, while others were returned to their natural habitat at the Arboretum park.

Fearing that the uninvited guests might return, State House officials have been pleading with people living in the neighbourhood to stop feeding the monkeys so as to keep them away.

"Once they become dependent on hand outs from human beings the monkeys just move in, they discard their natural habitat, and that is why even in the national parks we discourage people from feeding primates," said Mr Gecaga.


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