Category Archives: Life

CERCOPAN’s facebook fun (I mean fan) page

Despite the slow internet speeds in the African continent (or no net at all!), CERCOPAN has become very technically minded!  Now, in addition to our Wildlife Direct blog and our website www.cercopan.org CERCOPAN can be found to have a strong presence on Facebook.  Facebook, that has taken the world by storm in recent years, have pages dedicated to charity causes and CERCOPAN has been the proud owner of one for 8 months now, having over 750 members and having raised $175.  However now, in addition to that, we have just started a CERCOPAN fan page and it has lots of exciting topics to be investigated!

Look out for our cause page icon above, featuring Mickey the red-eared guenon

Look out for our cause page icon above, featuring Mickey the red-eared guenon

Not only can you flick through a wide range of our photos, several previously unseen, any time you wish that include the monkeys, Rhoko camp and forest, our World Environment Day celebrations, and many other categories soon to come, but you can also participate in surveys (currently to vote on what to name our new baby mangabey), start discussions with us and other fans on a variety of topics, sign up for our monthly Enewsletter, and be transferred to our shop to buy CERCOPAN products including adoption packs and posters!  Plus you can even access our Wildlife Direct blog from there though our networked blogs link!  We soon hope to bring video footage to it too so you can see the monkeys and our team in action! 

Vote on what to name Quality's new baby on our facebook fan page (Photo copyright of Oskar Brattström)

Vote on what to name Quality's new baby on our facebook fan page (Photo copyright of Oskar Brattström)

Why don’t you check it out and make further suggestions on our discussions board on what you would like to see up there?  It’s a work in progress so we would love your feedback!
Keep your eyes open for this image as its our fan page logo!

Keep your eyes open for this image as its our fan page logo!

Pica, our cute baby mangabey, proving herself one tough cookie!

Back in June Peace, a female mangabey from Callistus’ group, had her first ever infant, Pica.  Pica, a beautiful baby girl, arrived just 2 weeks after the birth of Marvelous; a bouncing baby boy, born to Mercy.  As Peace’s first infant, she was rather unsure how to look after Pica and seemed confused as to what her motherly duties involved.  As the first few weeks passed, her mothering instincts began to develop and improved somewhat, but unfortunately, as we carefully observed the pair we could see that Peace was still not fulfilling some of the important jobs she needed to do.

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Peace and Pica: at times her mothering instinct kicked in. 

Peace easily lost interest in Pica, and so Pica spent a lot of her time riding around on the back of her older brother, Marley.  These two got on famously and Marley was always there to lend a helping brotherly hand!  She really enjoyed playing with him and he enjoyed playing with her, unless he wanted to play-fight with some of his older friends!  When Marley was not around though and Peace wasn’t interested, we had the problem that, in this prolonged wet season we are experiencing here in Cross River State, Nigeria, there was no-one to shelter Pica from the elements.  Being so small she felt the cold easily and when there was no-one to cuddle up to when she was wet, the staff at CERCOPAN began to worry.  In addition to this we had noticed that Pica was not putting on weight like Marvelous, who was only 2 weeks older.  As we continued to pay close attention to Peace and Pica’s relationship, and the nursing behaviour of the pair, we eventually came to the conclusion that the best course of action was to remove Pica from the group and hand-rear her until she was strong enough to return.  It was a tough decision and always a last resort here at CERCOPAN.

  Despite the vast experience CERCOPAN volunteers have in hand-rearing rescued, orphaned infant monkeys, Pica proved to be somewhat more difficult.  Never before had we had the problem of the mother still being in the vicinity and in ear-shot of the infant.  Pica refused to eat while she could hear her mother, and the two were continually trying to communicate with each other.  Our best option was to take Pica to our volunteer living-quarters two doors down the road and here she became much more settled.  Now she is a happy little monkey who loves lots of attention when she’s fed. She runs around the room where her travel box is being kept, climbing and jumping off the furniture.  She is putting on plenty of weight and we are really happy with the progress she is making.  We can’t wait for the time when we can reunite her with her mother, her brother and the other members of her group.

By Amy Baxter, Mangabey Research Coordinator, temporary Finance and Office Manager

Photographs by Sam Trull

 Pica after she has rolled in mud or food!

Pica, after having rolled in either mud or food!

CERCOPAN’s rescued bush dog in full health and shaking visitor’s hands!

  As many of you may remember, a few months back we rescued a bush dog, Ticky, from appalling conditions in our host village Iko Esai.  She was found under a broken umbrella in the pouring rain, covered in sores and being home for a vast number of parasites including ticks, fleas and worms.  She was too weak to even stand and we discovered the reason was because she had been removed from her mother before she was ready to finish nursing.  Sylvain, our mona research coordinator, gently carried her back to our camp along the difficult 30 minute bike journey, through flooded rivers and with thunder crashing around our ears.  It was there we began to nurse her back to health and she started her Ticky being nursed on her first evening at Rhoko camp after being rescuednew life as our camp mascot, surrounded by love and care.

Ticky being nursed on her first night at Rhoko Camp, after ger initial rescue 

 In our last ‘rescued dog’ update we announced she was firmly on the road to recovery and we are pleased to say she has now finally reached her destination!   Her patchy fur has fully grown back and all her wounds are healed.  She has put on plenty of weight, with a big belly hanging around her spindly little legs!  Her true character is shining through and she is excelling at her guard dog duties, taking her cue from our older camp dog, Simon.  Perhaps her bark isn’t quite as threatening as Simon’s, with its squeaky tones intermingled with low growls, but she is always on the lookout for passers-by.

  Her strength has grown even more and now she runs around camp, following us to our huts and playing with us in the grass.  She still tries to play with our older dog, Simon, but he has decided he’s a bit too old for these games and tries to find a quite spot where he can continue to be a grumpy old man.  I think he also gets jealous, as he’s a big dog and is unable to climb onto anything comfortable like a chair (although he was caught having pushed into Sylvain’s hut and asleep on his bed once)!  Ticky, on the other hand, has found one of our cushioned chairs particularly comfortable, and has become an expert at climbing up various small boxes to get on to it!

  Ticky without her patches and chewing on volunteer clothes!

Ticky; patch-free and chewing the clothes of our volunteer, Sylvain.

The other week our camp manager, Richard, bought back some tasty treats from the city for our guarding duo in the form of two large bones.  Both are nearly as long as Ticky herself and she struggles to get a good bite with her small mouth.  For some reason though, which ever bone she is gnawing on is not as tasty as the one Simon is chewing, and so she always tries to muscle in on his!  He’s not too pleased about this but is showing more tolerance as the days go by!

CERCOPAN rescued bushdog, Ticky, with her new bone the same length as her!

Ticky trying to get her little mouth around such a big tasty treat! 

  In addition, we have begun general training with her.  She understands ‘sit’ even if she doesn’t always follow the order, and we are trying to teach her ‘stay’, as she regularly tries to follow us in to the forest.  Our favourite one though, and I think hers is ‘paw’, where she lifts up her paw to shake hands.  Perhaps not as practical as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’, but much cuter and it is becoming a very popular welcome with our visiting tourists!

By Amy Baxter, Mangabey Project Coordinator and temporary Office and Finance Manager

Monkeys that could be featured on Oprah.

by Kristine Krynitzki

A new family has recently been brought together here at CERCOPAN and we all could not be happier about it. If you’ve ever seen a “second chance” episode of Oprah you’ll understand why. These episodes feature great people who have suffered from some terrible hardship and are then given a fantastic surprise that changes the course of their lives forever. I in particular, remember a show dealing with the rebuilding of houses for victims of Hurricane Katrina in the US. I remember vividly how I felt when I witnessed the renewed hope and strength on the faces of people who had suffered hardship. Well that’s a similar feeling we all here at CERCOPAN get when we pay a visit to the new mangabey group put together in one of our newly built enclosures.

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After almost two months of construction, Abonema, Murphy and Osuwake (who you may remember from earlier blogs) joined with Emem, Jacob, and Nya (who were all animals that were struggling in other groups) in a new enclosure. The first three were ecstatic at the newly found space and luxuries they found themselves amongst, having spent the last few months in quarantine as new arrivals to CERCOPAN. Emem and Jacob also seemed delighted having been moved from our largest mangabey group where they had both been cast as low-ranking outsiders and were bullied by other members of the group. Nya had been moved several times over the years, having been bullied wherever she was placed and so it was a pleasure to watch her immediately settle into her new home and make friends. We had previously been forced to regularly separate all three animals from their groups during feeding to ensure that they were able to attain sufficient food, as the dominant animals would steal from them and limit their access to the most nutritious food (as would also be the case in the wild). Well not anymore. Now is a time of second chances. To the new group, each member has brought with them a special quality unique to themselves and together they have created an outstanding group dynamic. All animals eat well without the need for separation at meal times, they sleep huddled together, groom one another and play happily, no longer social outcasts. Nya seems to have adopted babies Murphy and Osuwake and the three are inseperable. Just a brief glance over their way and you can see the newfound happiness radiating from within. They truly are everyones favourite group and like Oprah, make absolutely compelling viewing.   

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Murphy eating Moi Moi

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Foraging in the new enclosure