A monkey accused of being a witch--seriously?
The sad truth is yes, and it gets even worse.
In late May, a harmless vervet monkey in Johannesburg, South Africa, was burned alive due to suspicions of him being a witch. The horrific beating and slow death took place in front of residents, including young children. The monkey was taken from the tree he rested in and hacked and beaten with garden forks and machetes, before being set on fire.
On the day of the traumatic event, a worried local resident made some phone calls in hopes to save the monkey, but it was far too late by the time help arrived.
Cora Bailey, companion animal advisor for International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and of Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW), explained that this is sadly, a common occasion. "On the day we were asked to help catch the monkey, we received a further two separate calls reporting vervets on the loose," she said. "We couldn’t find either of those monkeys and hope they escaped to avoid similar torment to that of the first."
South Africa has its superstitions when it comes to certain types of animals and many animals suffer because of it. Other than vervets, animals such as owls, frogs, snakes, baboons, and chameleons are supposedly linked to witchcraft if found in human settlements, and they will likely be killed.