Category Archives: love and friendship in monkeys

Angelica

Angelica is one of our newest orphans, she arrived late August (see August 24th article). She is a female Red Eared Guenon, only found in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria.

She was found by rangers from Iko Esai’s surveillance team when they were patrolling the community forest. Angelica was tied to a hunting shed, but no hunter was around and her mother was nowhere to be seen – likely she has been killed for meat. The rangers brought Angelica back to our forest camp, Rhoko. There she was looked after by volunteers for a couple of days, and was sent to Calabar with the truck to receive proper medical attention and care. At first, she was hardly using her rear legs and we were afraid she might have a permanent injury, but this turned out not to be the case. She now uses her legs correctly.

Angelica, a few days after she was rescued

During the first days in Calabar, Angelica was very shy and needed a lot of attention. She had to be carried by someone (a substitute mother) at all times, and would start screaming and crying as soon as you would (try to) leave her alone! The only moments of rest for her caretaker was when she was asleep! After 5 days she became more confident and started to wander a few meters away on her own. After a week, a Mona guenon orphan was brought to us, Evie, and they were put together. Evie, being a bit bigger and extremely playful, was a bit “too much” for Angelica at first, as she did not like Evie’s jumping displays. Eventually, Evie understood that Angelica was not up for games, but only for cuddles! And they became very close friends. Actually, Angelica seems to have taken Evie as her new mother, clinging onto her belly the way baby monkeys do with their mothers. Her removal from her real mother has definitely traumatised her, and she is now panicking at the idea of losing her “second mother”, Evie. If we separate them even shortly, she will scream and will not stop calling and looking for Evie until they are reunited! She is a strong minded little monkey, she knows what she wants (whether it be Evie, or a hug from her!) and lets everybody around her know it too 🙂

Angelica (left) and Evie (right) cuddling

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!

Endangered Red Capped Mangabey rescued from appalling conditions

We were very pleased here at CERCOPAN to observe some positive responses to our education outreach program last week when, shortly after our Education Officer conducted an environmental education lesson, he received a call from one of the students who had seen a monkey being kept as a pet.  The school was new to our outreach program and this was the first time any student had received a lesson of this kind. The boy was extremely keen for us to rescue the monkey with all he had been taught about the problems keeping them as pets.  It can be hard to assess which tactics of CERCOPAN’s multi-dimensional approach make the most difference to our conservation cause, but this clearly showed that some of the messages in our educational outreach programme were being taken on board and changing attitudes.

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The new Mangabey is very thin and malnourished and has bald patches all over his fur

Although the village was relatively close to our forest site, it was still quite a distance from our Calabar rehabilitation centre. Abakum, our Education Officer, initially travelled to the village on public transport to investigate the situation and plan the confiscation. He met our forest site Community Liaison and Education Officer there and the pair began searching for the monkey while calling the student who had given the information.  Sadly they discovered the student had travelled out of the village due to an emergency and, although he had hoped to get back in time, the afternoon quickly passed and our staff were forced to return home without any further information.

Determined to rescue this suffering indivudal, Abakum returned on his day off while visiting family close by as he hoped to at least gather some information on the whereabouts of the individual.  He finally located the house, with the help of the student, but the family had gone away to farm for a few days.  Frustrated yet again at not returning with the monkey, Abakum spoke to neighbours on the best time to catch the family at home and began planning a return.  It was on this trip that he discovered the monkey was a small mangabey who was kept outside on a harness when the family were at home and brought inside the house when the family was farming.  At least now we knew what we were expecting to bring home when we eventually did get a chance to talk to the family.

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The new mangabey enjoying his new surroundings

Finally we had a successful trip when Abakum and Austin (our Vet Nurse) managed to meet the family at their home and negotiate the release of the monkey in to our care.  The mangabey was being kept in a room full of smoke where the family were processing cassava into the local food item garri, and our staff were particularly worried about how this would be affecting his health.

Eventually we secured the mangabey and he travelled back to our headquarters where he could be given the best possible care. Upon arrival he was examined, but it has been very difficult to determine his age as clearly malnourishment has severely stunted his growth.  There was not a dry eye amongst the bystanders watching when we released him into his new enclosure and he readily tucked into his food as though he had not eaten for days. Since arriving at CERCOPAN though his gentle nature is shining through; enjoying nothing more than a bowl of milk and a good groom from keepers, he is intrigued by all the other primates around. He is already a favourite amongst the staff and volunteers and I am sure he will be equally popular with others of his kind once he has passed his tests and can be introduced into a group.

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 Our new friend tucking into some papaya

New babies flexy and delight rescued by CERCOPAN

by Amy Baxter, Temporary Office and Finance Manager

CERCOPAN is pleased to announce that we now have two new additions to our monkey residents!  Saved from an uncertain fate, two young putty-nosed guenons, Flexy and Delight, were rescued by staff and brought to our Calabar compound.  We had a tip-off from a secondary school teacher who visited CERCOPAN with his class not long a go.  While he was here we explained to the class why primates shouldn’t be kept as pets and told them that it was even against the law in Nigeria.  After this short visit to our site, he walked past a compound where he could see two young putty-nosed guenons and he immeditely came to CERCOPAN to inform us.  We were very pleased that our educational messages were successfully absorbed and it gives us great hope for the future that we can continue to change the opinions of Nigerian residents!

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His information indicated that the owner sold monkeys commercially and so we were even more concerned and determined to rescue the pair and to stop any more trade.  Our Education Assistant, Martina, stopped by the compound on the way to work to investigated the situation further.  She was very concerned upon arrival about the number of ‘area boys’ close by, a group known to be involved in criminal activities and often very dangerous.  She left without entering the compound but could see one putty-nosed guenon from where she stood.  Our bravest lads decided they would all go together to confiscate the putties, feeling strength in numbers was the best pproach on this occasion. They had expected a long debate with the owner to persuade him to give up the pair, but the whole situation turned out to be much easier than expected…….

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Vet nurse Austin with Flexy and Delight

The owner knew CERCOPAN and had visited in the past as he loved monkeys.  He recognized Martina immediately and said he had expected to receive a visit from us at some point.  Our staff asked him is he knew keeping monkeys was against the law and he did, as did his wife who had been nagging him to take them to CERCOPAN for some time!  He had planned to go but had become so attached to the pair, that he had been postponing the visit.  He admitted that had previously  traded in monkeys, selling them for about 8000 naira each (approximately ?30) but had often kept them for a while before selling them to enjoy their company.  When our team had arrived the monkeys were running around the compound, having escaped from their enclosure, but were quite happy to stay around the family home.  They were playing in the trees and climbing on the roof, not a bit disturbed by this large group of people watching their antics.

While arranging the hndover of the monkeys with the owner, we discovered one of them didnt actually belong to him. They had been placed together by the two separate owners to keep each other company.  He was very hesitant to give up the second animal, explaining that the other owner would think he had sold the monkey to make money. The next hour was spent trying to contact the other owner and then negotiating with him and his family. Eventually, our staff finaly talked him into releasing the monkey into our care and Flexy nd delight were brought home to CERCOPAN. They are a friendly and confident pair, even around humans.  So much so that they didn’t even need a travel box on the car journey home, cheerfully clinging to each other and Egu, our head keeper’s, arm.

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Now they are waiting at CERCOPAN for their medical tests so they can be moved in to a big group with other puttys.  We have 3 other young puttys and 1 slightly older individual already waiting to move out from quarantine and they will form one big happy group once Flexy and Delight are ready.  They won’t be without their guardian though, making sure they all stay in line; Double Chief, an old male, with be put in charge of the nursery group and will make sure no one misbehaves!

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!

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