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!
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…….
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.
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!