Category Archives: Saving endangered monkeys

And they call it…Putty Love

Felicia and Wizkid hugging

As you may remember, two small putty-nosed monkeys called Felicia and Wizkid were brought to CERCOPAN last December. One of them, Felicia, had been formerly abused by factory workers and was not using one of her back legs properly. Everyone at CERCOPAN was very concerned about the small monkey, as we were afraid that the leg might be paralysed. We took Felicia for an X-Ray to find out what was wrong, but to our surprise, nothing unusual was evident.

Wizkid

Initially, Wizkid would carry his new friend around in their enclosure, since she was not using her leg properly. Austin, our vet nurse, also took great care of Felicia, giving her leg massages and antibiotics. Over the weeks, her leg gradually improved and she began to move independently. Felicia now walks so well, it’s hard to imagine the condition her leg was in when she was brought to us! Whilst we are still not sure what rendered her leg unusable,  we are all very relieved that everything worked out well and are sure that her recovery was due in no small part to Austin’s efforts and the support of her best friend.

Wizkid no longer needs to carry Felicia around, but the pair still spend most of their time clasped together, hugging. Once they are old enough to be moved to a family group, we will ensure that they remain together. Felicia is still a little more reserved than Wizkid, who as you can see likes to put his face as close to the camera as possible, but with time we are sure he will bring her out of her shell.

 

 

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

Rhoko Rains Result In Stressed Staff But Merry Monkeys!

Everyone at CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research and Conservation Of Primates And Nature) told us that the rainy season in Rhoko Forest is something of an experience in itself. Take the struggles of just living in a remote environment and add enormous downfalls of rain and violent storms causing trees to fall, roads to completely change to cascading water, and just the general annoyance of your laundry NEVER properly drying – then you’ve got rainy season in one of the world’s wettest places! A few nights ago we experienced the first real storm of the rainy season and it was very impressive – lightning struck right next to our main hut, rain pounded our aluminium roofs so loudly we could not hear each other yelling, and trees fell all around us. In the morning we awoke to what I can only describe as scenes of complete devastation! The first storms of the rainy season are always the worst, as all the trees with weak and damaged limbs tend to fall at once with the weight of the water and force of the wind- and this certainly had happened.

In the morning, we received radio messages from our fantastic patrol and primate keepers that trees had fallen on our primate enclosures over night and all our 50 strong group of Red-Capped Mangabeys had escaped! Luckily, their quick work and sharp thinking meant that by the time we arrived at the enclosure (our progress was hindered by having to clear multiple trees along the road just to get our truck down – thank goodness for machetes), our team had managed to tempt the entire group back into their enclosure – never underestimate the power of bananas! Unfortunately though, the tree has severely damaged our fence and repairs are currently in progress to get it fully secure, although it will likely need to be replaced at the damaged point in the near future.

Staff worked tirelessly to clear the road and ensure the truck was able to pass through

With this disaster under control, we moved our attention to the mona enclosures adjacent to our main mangabey enclosure. Two massive buttress trees had fallen to rest on Etimbuk & Twiggy’s enclosure, and were straining the structure enormously. The two Monas however, were having a great time as the trees had brought a smorgasbord of insects for them to munch on and we had difficulty tempting them into a satellite to keep them safe as we worked on the tree removal. Luckily, this event happened on the last day our volunteer, Joe Brophy, was at camp. Joe is a tree surgeon based in the US and was able to help our team safely clear these massive trees – in the process teaching us a lot about the way trees fall, move and how we can clear them. Thanks Joe! Unfortunately, our work did not end here, as we received a message that a tree was blocking the road to the village from our camp. Our team jumped in the truck and sped off to clear the road for all the locals who depend on it to get to their farm and back.

Hard working staff cleared the trees with Joe’s expert help – although the monas were enjoying all the new insects they were finding!

Unfortunately, we also received a message that a tree had fallen on our community centre construction, a project currently underway at CERCOPAN. Again, our team arrived to remove the tree and assess the damage caused. The tree has caused extensive damage to the roofing structures that are just in the process of being built, and this has yet again set us back in our project budget and time line.

The fallen tree broke several beams of wood on the community centre

In our haste to secure the primate enclosures, we did not even notice the medium sized tree that had fallen on Sylvain’s (our Research Coordinator) hut – luckily he was in Calabar at the time! The clear up from the storm still continues but further rains (and extra costs) have hindered our progress and we still have 5 more months of rain to come! If you would like to help our camp survive the remaining wet season and make repairs, (plus ensure dampened staff at least don’t have dampened spirits!), then any donations will be gratefully received and put to good use.

Hanging out with the Mangabeys

One of the best things about having new Rhoko Managers is new blogs from new perspectives. At the moment, everything at Rhoko is exciting and exhilarating for us, as we’ve had many new experiences we couldn’t even dream of! Although we are incredibly busy running Rhoko, we always try to visit our primate enclosures everyday to observe our group of mangabeys. They are surprisingly big and powerful animals and the soap-operas of their families are fantastically entertaining.

Grace with Red Capped Managabeys

Grace with Red Capped Managabeys

A few days ago, Alex had his first encounter inside the mangabey enclosure, which can be a really intimidating experience. Conducting a fence check due to a bad storm the previous night, Sylvain, our research coordinator and Alex went into the enclosure. I stayed watch outside to spot any males sneaking up on them while they were working. Within 5 minutes of being inside the enclosure, the dominant and quite aggressive male, Clyde, decided to investigate this new, unfamiliar face who had entered his group, literally! He climbed onto Alex’s leg and pulled his beard, looked at his face and yanked his hair before satisfying himself that this person was not a threat and walking off to patrol his domain. Following Sylvain’s expertise, Alex stayed still and avoided eye contact and the encounter was intimidating but safe and enlightening. We look forward to many more encounters with these very special creatures!

Grace

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!

February CERCONEWS out now!

Finally the February edition of CERCONEWS is available!

Follow this link to download your copy today!

http://www.cercopan.org/Downloads/CERCONEWS_FEB_10.pdf

CERCONEWS FEBRUARY 2010

How your donations in 2009 helped CERCOPAN

Dear CERCOPAN supporters,

Thank you again for all your support in the past difficult year. We would like to give you an idea to where the $4288 you raised last year went within the organisation.  This amount could pay for a month and a half of monkey food for our 160+ monkeys.  This includes daily fruit, vegetables and nutritious leaves, fish, groundnuts, eggs, and specially cooked monkey cake and moi-moi.  Moi moi is a Nigerian dish made from ground beans, herbs and water.  Within this is also milk and nutrend, a nourishing formula mixed with water and given to young or unwell animals.

putty-nosed-guenon-eating-orange.JPG

Putty nosed guenon eating orange

Those who contributed towards veterinary care helped pay for vital drugs, medical tests, disinfectant, and equipment including babies milk bottles, gloves, surgical blades, facemasks and thermometers.

cercopan-vet-nurse-conducting-faecal-analysis.jpg

Vet nurse Austin conduting  faecal tests for internal parasities

Additionally, a lot of people contributed to the rent Calabar premises which was due at a time when we discovered several regularly received grants were cancelled, due to the fiacial crisis.  Without this money we would have surely closed and we are very grateful to all who helped us, during this difficult period.

In 2009, CERCOPAN gained 13 primates through rescues:  7 putty-nosed guenons, 3 mona guenons, 2 red-eared guenons, and 1 red-capped mangabey.  We have also had 7 successful births in our red-capped mangabey pre-release group, contributing towards the conservation of this species.

holly-the-mona-monkey-rescued-in-2009.JPG

‘Holly’, one of  the mona monkeys rescued by CERCOPAN in 2009

For the support we received this year we would like to thank

Andrew H, Anna C, Antonio C, Bethany G, Boccagna E, Bryony A, Cathy R, Carl B, Carol Z, Cynthia G, Deborah C, Elizabeth Y, Erik H, Erin E, Harry V, Hope O, Ji-in L, Julie T, Katherine M, Karen L, Karen M, Linda H, Ludovic L, Maciej G, Mark H, Mary H, Megan H, Mr G, Phillip R, Pirjo I,P L, Rebecca B, Robin C, Rupa B, Samantha E, Sara P, Sherri S and Tonia W.

Special thanks for their continued support throughout this year go to:

Brenton H

Brigitta S

Christine C

James M

Jennifer S

Kathy S

Kevin C

Kristine K

Wanda H

CERCONEWS January edition out now!

The new edition of CERCONEWS is out today. Please download using this link cerconews-january-2010.pdf

cerconews-january-2010-cover.jpg

One more endangered baby monkey rescued in time for Christmas

A few days ago, not long after settling our new Managabey into his enclosure at CERCOPAN HQ, we received a phone call from one of our security staff informing us that an endangered baby red-eared guenon was being kept as a pet at a bar.  Our primate care staff immediately dropped everything and got ready to go with the Director, Claire, for a rescue attempt.  With one of our trucks out of action and the other at our forest site, getting there and back would be a problem.  Normally staff would travel on an okada; a bike taxi that can usually be seen weaving between vehicles and passer-bys.  These bike taxis have just been banned within Calabar City centre and this has made a huge impact on our work and daily operations, seriously inhibiting rescue investigations and adding considerable costs to monkey food and construction/maintenance materials.  Taxis have been introduced, but at the moment there are very few in operation and so Claire and the staff were forced to stand at the top of the road and hail a passing vehicle and offered the driver money to take them to get the monkey.

red-eared-guenon-baby-2.jpg

Red ear upon arrival at CERCOPAN

The Red Ear was in a very rough area of town and as Claire, Matthew, Abraham and Joshua walked through the dusty streets carrying the travelling box, a noisy crowd began following behind them. They arrived at the bar to find a small red-eared guenon, about a year old, dangling spider-like on a rope tied to the ceiling. The monkey was able to climb up and down the rope and sit in the rafters, but unfortunately was unable to reach the floor and so was just hanging there, several inches from the ground blocking the entrance of the bar. The Staff quickly identified and approached the owner, whilst Claire went to check the monkeys health and comfort him. It soon transpired that the bar owner had bought the monkey that morning and as a result he was very angry at the thought of giving the animal to CERCOPAN unless we planned to compensate him for his loss of money. CERCOPAN never gives money for a monkey as it encourages the idea that it is a profitable market and may result in people taking more monkeys to deliberately try to sell them to the organisation.  Tension began rising and the bystanders started shouting a CERCOPAN staff, exclaiming that if Claire had not been there they would have ‘beaten’ them. Eventually, Claire and the staff managed to calm the crowd and it was agreed that we would go together to visit the dealer who sold the man the monkey earlier that day.

red-eared-guenon-baby-3.JPG

Baby red ear being comforted by Claire

Some of the more vocal members of the crowd from the bar piled into one vehicle while our staff climbed back into the vehicle they had commandeered, with the driver now clearly wondering how he had managed to get himself into this situation. After a few minutes they arrived at the dealers compound and tense negotiations once again began in earnest. Once the dealer handed over the money he had received that morning the bar owner and his friends left, however, this compound itself had it’s own lively and not too gracious pack who were not happy about the idea of an uncompensated removal of this red-ear monkey.  Claire, practiced at these types of negotiations, remained composed and friendly despite being yelled at by the crowd. She eventually managed to separate and calm some of the most vocal individuals, whilst the staff continued to concentrate on the dealer. After three hours of explaining to all that keeping monkeys as pets in Nigeria is against the law and how a monkey does not make a good pet, the dealer finally took Claire to one side and asked her to send someone back for the animal an hour later when the crowd had dispersed.

It turned out the dealer had been very fond of this little red-ear monkey and had actually treated him very well in comparison to many other cases we have seen.  We feel very lucky to have rescued him at that time as the conditions he was found in at the bar would have made him very sick very quickly.  He is especially friendly and seems to have been trained to lie back very baby-like, enjoying nothing more than a good belly rub.  He loves to take huge leaps between furniture and especially loves jumping on a human from a great distance then leaping straight back off again.  This playful, inquisitive nature has also resulted in many books, cups, pens, and anything else available being carried across the room – not too carefully I may add! Now in quarantine, he has undergone his first TB test and after 14 weeks will be moved in with 2 other red-ear guenons (Mickey and Jerry) that are of a similar age.

red-eared-guenon-baby-1.JPG

The new baby red ear having his belly rubbed

The two new additions bring us to a grand total of 158 monkeys now in our care, and with prices increasing for Christmas and the transport issues also adding additional costs, we are once again feeling the strain. Your donations and support really are so important and enable us to continue to provide the best possible care for every single monkey that needs our help. You can also give your support by purchasing a CERCOPAN gift or monkey adoption for your friends and family this Christmas.  Please visit our shop today at

http://www.cercopan.org/support

Abused baby monkey leaves CERCOPAN staff deeply saddened

On Wednesday (14th October) despite doing everything we possibly could, we were unable to save a young male mona monkey brought to us at CERCOPAN.  This tiny mona arrived to us in a cardboard box, collapsed in a heap and shaking all over.  The man who brought him in said his brother had purchased the monkey that morning and it had been fine, but during the day it had become like this. As we continued to examine the mona, we found that he had a black eye, a wound on his upper lip, was dehydrated and highly disorientated.

melody-kk.jpg

A mona of similar size to the young male brought in
We questioned the man further, at which point he changed his story and said he had been like this when his brother made the purchase.  Realising we were going to get no closer to understanding the circumstances we carried the mona to our vet lab where our Vet Assistant, Austin, began trying to work out why the infant was shaking so severely, similarly to an epileptic fit.  We were mentally going through all the possible conditions that may have caused these symptoms.  The moment we took its temperature though we understood.  His temperature was 42?C (nearly 108?F). We quickly tried to cool him down,  gently wetting his fur and fanning him.  He was still ‘fitting’, a common side effect to such a high temperature, and we held his hands so he had something to hold on to and so that he felt comforted.  He was making small squeals, not like any normal vocalisation a healthy mona would make, and we could tell he was in a lot of pain.

We managed to get his temperature down to the normal level of 38 ?C and he started to reduce his shaking while becoming more aware of his surroundings.  Relieved that he was becoming more stable we started to look in to the next stage of treatment.  We made up a sugar/salt solution to begin to combat the dehydration and fed it to him with a syringe.  Sadly, not long after, the mona started taking another turn for the worse, this time in the opposite direction with his temperature dropping.

We quickly gave him a hot water bottle and wrapped him up in blankets.  He was beginning to shake again and his whimpering told us he was still in pain. Pandrillus vet Ainare did everything she could to save him but despite all of our best efforts he passed away.  We were all desperately sad but also at least relieved the poor infant was suffering no longer.  A post-mortem revealed massive trauma to the head, likely due to being hit with something or kicked.  All of the staff of CERCOPAN had tears in their eyes and were disgusted that anyone could do this to an animal.

Later that evening the brother, who had originally purchased the mona turned up at CERCOPAN to ‘collect’ his monkey.  We explained to him the circumstances of his death and that, even if the monkey had survived, it would not have been given back to him under any conditions, as is protocol at CERCOPAN.  We gave him  tour of CERCOPAN and spent a long time explaining to him why monkeys should not be kept as pets, and the legal implications of doing so under Nigerian law.  A sad day for all here, but it made us all more determined than ever to educate people about wildlife and to provide safe haven for all of the monkeys out there that so desperately need our help.