Category Archives: Uncategorized

Colin Pringle appointed as new CERCOPAN Director

We are delighted to announce that we have appointed Colin Pringle as the new Director of CERCOPAN. He will take over the top position from current Director Nicolien Schoneveld, who will leave at the end of next month. As the new Director of CERCOPAN, Colin will be responsible for the overall strategic and operational management of the organisation in Nigeria, including programmes in environmental educationcommunity-based conservationecotourismforest conservationresearch and primate rehabilitation. “I have proven ability in a diverse role such as this, and am looking for a long-term commitment with an organisation whose objectives match with my own”, says Colin.

Whilst there was considerable interest in the Director position, Colin’s incredibly diverse conservation career, spanning three decades, made him the perfect candidate for this varied and challenging role. Colin, aged 53, has a degree in Zoology from Southampton University and a masters degrees is Zoology from Oxford. He first worked in Nigeria in the mid 1980’s, and has since worked extensively across Sub Saharan Africa & South Asia in various roles in international development; and in field research, expeditions, and technical advisory positions. As an international development consultant, Colin advised on numerous programmes ranging from Wildlife conflict and refugees in Sub Saharan Africa with UNICEF to Sustainable low-input agriculture for HIV-impacted communities in Zimbabwe through DFID. “My wide experience means I was particularly in demand to address cross-sectoral and complex issues with a common theme of community engagement and management of natural resources & Human health” says Colin.

Colin has also worked as a Senior Project manager for WWF, Senior CITES Wildlife Trade Investigator and is a qualified science teacher. Based at Cornwall College, Newquay and Plymouth University, he lectured on a wide range of Degree level courses including Conservation Science, Animal Welfare, Wildlife and Media degree courses. At Newquay, Colin developed practical links with the zoo, particularly on primate management. He also recently designed and delivered the degree level module in Captive Breeding & Rehabilitation of Wild Animals for Plymouth University. This reflects Colin’s extensive practical and academic background in this area. As Curator of Nepal National Zoo, where primates were central, he collaborated with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to improve the welfare standards of the 3,500 animals, implementing best practice in captive breeding.

One of Colin’s first roles with CERCOPAN will be to represent the organisation at the annual Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance (PASA) manager’s workshop in September. ‘We are absolutely thrilled that Colin will be joining our team” says Claire Coulson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and former Director of CERCOPAN. “He brings a wealth of expertise and experience that will undoubtedly prove of immense benefit in our mission to protect Nigeria’s rainforests for primates and people. We look forward to what the future will bring”.

New look CERCOPAN website, enewsletter and adoption programme!

CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research and Conservation of Primates and Nature) has just relaunched our website at . In addition to the sites entirely d

ifferent look and feel, we have incorporated a whole range of new features, including our completely re-designed monkey adoption programme, online ecotourism booking facilitiesmonthly enewsletter sign up, and in-site blog. The new site will be updated regularly with all of the latest breaking news from Nigeria and has been designed to be  highly interactive with a range of social sharing facilities and opportunities for everyone to get involved.

We hope that the redesign will help us to increase general awareness of the importance and plight of Nigeria’s amazing biodiversity and will enable us to enlist further help and support in our urgent mission to save it.  Please help us spread the word by sharing the link to our site with all of your friends.

We hope you enjoy the new site and would love to hear from you [email protected] you have any comments or suggestions!

Another rent update

Yesterday, a friend stopped by our centre with money he had raised amongst co-workers. This donation of Naira 23,000 (150 US$) will be matched by a generous donor, meaning CERCOPAN will receive 300 US$ for this one donation!

Thank you for these generous contributions, we are very grateful to the people that care so much.

This now brings our total funds raised to US$2,600.

If you donate now, your contribution will be matched also! We are trying to raise as much as we can over the weekend, as it will put us in a better position to re-negotiate the deadline for the payment of the remainder of the rent sum.

To make a donation, you can click on the ‘donate’ button on this Facebook Page (US tax deductible), or go to (UK tax deductible).

Another rent update

Another 31,920 Naira raised – so in total we have raised US$ 1,330 towards our rent payment!

We are awaiting the decision from the landlord on how many more days he will grant us… and continue fundraising in the meantime.
Thank you everyone for your kind messages and support!



Will our monkeys become homeless again?

We would like to make an appeal to all of you out there who supports CERCOPAN in our mission to save Nigeria’s monkeys and their forest homes.

This year we have faced an enormous struggle to secure the money to care for our monkeys. While we have received grant funds for the community and education work, finding money for monkey food and rent has been much more difficult.

TODAY we have to pay the annual rent on our Calabar rehabilitation centre where we care for 111 monkeys…. and despite intense efforts over the past months to raise the rent money in time, we don´t have it.

We have to raise a total of 1,650,000 Naira; equivalent to US$ 11,000, 8,250 Euros, or 6,600 GBP.

If we cannot make the rent payment, we are at risk of being evicted. Our monkeys have lost their forest homes before – if they lose their home at CERCOPAN, however, there will be no place for them to go. Please, if you can, make a contribution to help us to make the rent payment so that we can keep our operations going. Every donation, no matter how small, will help us out.

Thank you… we are grateful to have your support!


Nigerian Students learn conservation skills at Rhoko Camp

An update from our Education Coordinator, Daniel Roper-Jones!

In July four students from the Nigerian CRUTECH University arrived at Rhoko Camp. After introducing myself as the Education Coordinator, I gave them a brief tour of their living quarters and cooking area, and introduced them to the other volunteers and researchers at camp. They told me they were participating in a forest management and conservation program with their university, and had been assigned to spend several months working with different conservation organisations in order to gain practical field skills. After several weeks working with Forestry Commission in Cross River National Park (CRNP), the students had joined up with CERCOPAN’s Education Officer Abakum Aidams Bassey, and came up to Rhoko Camp. Here they would spend several weeks learning about all the different things we do, and how we do them.

The students in the Education Centre

Under Abakum’s guidance, the students began. They worked with our keeper staff to learn about the challenges, importance, and skills needed to care for primates and conduct primate rehabilitation at an isolated forest camp. They accompanied our day and night patrol officers to learn about forest monitoring, protection of our core area, and how to conducted simple wildlife surveys. They worked with our research assistants on our monthly phenology study, honing their already quite comprehensive plant identification skills, and on our primate behavior studies where they learned how to use different behavioral data collection methods such as scan and focal follows.

During their last few days at camp I was free to take a more active role in their education. I spent several days training them on some of the most practical skills anyone can gain; orienteering, mapping, compass use, and GPS use. We spent the first day going over how to use a map and compass. These were new skills to them, and there was a bit of a learning curve before they were comfortable with the techniques. But they were highly enthusiastic to learn, and worked tirelessly until they were all comfortable shooting bearings, and transferring information between maps and the real world or real world and maps. We ended the first day by doing a number of compass challenges and mapping exercises, and I assigned them a small homework assignment to see if they had retained the things they had learned that day. They worked together and completed the assignment perfectly.

Daniel teaching the students invaluable skills

The next day was spent learning some of the practical uses of mapping and compass in conservation work. Using a compass and tape measure the students established a botanical plot of ten meters square, and practiced some of the skills they had learned during their time in CRNP such as plant identification and measuring the girth, height, and DBH (diameter at breast height) of all the trees within their plot. Then we used a map and GPS to set up a 50m transect, and practiced doing simple wildlife surveys along the line with the compass.

On the last day I led the students along our nature trail. The students took notes on all of the different things we usually talk about along the walk, and asked countless questions about the forest and the wildlife that lives here. We ended at the open-topped mangabey enclosure where we met Dr. Lisa Lane, our camp manager and research coordinator. There we practiced designing an ethogram for a behavioural study; a list of behaviours of interest along with their accompanying definition. The students all came up with many different behaviours they observed our monkeys engaging in.

It was a wonderful experience working with a group of young Nigerians so committed and interested in the field of conservation. They have now finished their time at Rhoko Camp, but will continue to work with Abakum at our primate sanctuary in Calabar, learning about sanctuary management and more details about caring for primates in captivity. I wish them all the best and hope they continue to work towards the protection of Cross River State’s incredible wildlife and forests.

CERCOPAN volunteer wins medal in World Championships

Pushing monkeys off the front page for a change, this story is about Sylvain our Research Coordinator in Rhoko camp. After 16 months in the bush, Sylvain recently went on vacation. Instead of heading straight home to family and friends, he took a plane first to Thailand to compete in the 25th World Championships of Sepak Takraw!

Sylvain In Thailand

Sylvain at the Sepak Takraw championships

Huh? For those of you not from South-East Asia, you may not appreciate what a highly skilled and fanatically popular sport Sepak Takraw is. To an outsider it appears to be a sort of tennis-football played on a badminton court following the rules of volleyball. The small plastic ball is kept in the air using any part of the body except your arms. This leads to sensationally acrobatic play, with the top players demonstrating astonishing flexibility and agility as they spike the ball from great heights with their feet.


Germany- Iran Sepak Takraw match

Sylvain is a core and highly-valued member of the French International team and was playing in his third World Championship. Three people are on court during the game, and the level of strength in depth in France is such that….well let’s just say that if Sylvain had failed to get out of bed on some of the days they would have been disqualified for not fielding a full side.

What they lack in quantity, they clearly make up for in quality as the French side won through to snatch the bronze medal in their category. During an entire week of competition, Sylvain and his team performed against the best Sepak Takraw teams in the world, Thailand and Malaysia being the strongest, and the French team left much more experienced, and determined to train harder and return next time to continue their climb up the world rankings.

Sepak Takraw is a growing sport which aims to become Olympic one day. As Sylvain trains back in the bush, children admire and imitate him…who knows, one day they may form a Nigerian team which would constitute the first African team ever playing this amazing sport!

Environmentally friendly litter

CERCOPAN has yet more exciting new additions to the growing family of pigs in Iko Esai village with the birth of four more healthy babies to our newly acquired female ‘Punch’. This project is proving to be an excellent flagship for our efforts toward alternative livelihoods in the communities surrounding Cross River National Park. Alternative sustainable livelihoods are a vital part of our larger goal to reduce reliance upon the dwindling rainforest resources and increase the financial and physical health of people in the area.

New baby pigs.jpg

The newest babies at 2 days old

The Iko Esai Ubhena farm co-operative made further improvements to the pig sty facilities to prepare for the babies, adding a new extended roof and cementing the floor of the ‘nursery’ to ensure the best possible welfare conditions for the piglets. The group is planning to develop a good breeding stock of females before commercial sales begin to ensure a constant and sustainable supply of protein for the village.

As with all CERCOPAN’s efforts, this project and others like it are only possible with the support of generous individuals and organisations around the world. CERCOPAN is entirely non-profit making and is managed by a dedicated core of international volunteers in conjunction with our fantastic Nigerian staff. If you wish to help us to continue touching lives please visit our website and donate today . Find us at or follow us on our facebook fan and cause pages.

Compassionate about Conservation

Since CERCOPAN started to rescue Nigerian monkeys in 1995, the welfare and well-being of the orphans has been our ultimate priority. Over the years, as the project grew, primate conservation and forest protection became obvious objectives, leading to the formation of a partnership in 2000 with Iko Esai community to conserve their community forest and reintroduce rehabilitated primates there. These two main facets of our work, Welfare and Conservation were at the heart of the Compassionate Conservation International Symposium organized in Oxford at the beginning of September. CERCOPAN representatives Sylvain Lemoine (Research Coordinator) and Zena Tooze (CERCOPAN founder) attended the symposium to present the results of our first reintroduction of Mona monkeys and to discuss its benefits and consequences for the welfare of guenon Cercopithecine species.

Compassionate conservation symposium photo.JPG

Sylvain and Zena at the Compassionate Conservation Symposium

The main objective of the Symposium was to bring together conservation and welfare science which although naturally interconnected, have tended to be entirely discrete due to welfare’s focus on the individual, and conservation’s focus on populations. The Compassionate Conservation approach states that “the well-being of individual animals should be considered when making conservation decisions”. This philosophy is very much in line with CERCOPAN’s vision and it is very apparent to our staff that all of our monkeys are different and that they each respond differently. Whilst this seems obvious when considering primates, which are thought intuitively to be ‘more conscious’ than other animals, it also appears to be true for many other species of animals, from the simplest to more complicated.

For two days, researchers, conservationists and specialists in welfare science presented their various projects at the Symposium and discussed ethical issues arising from making conservation decisions. A common point of view was that no animal should suffer under any circumstances, and that the well being of individuals should always be a key consideration in any conservation research project. The idea of a compassionate conservation will hopefully show that science can be used to serve individual animals and that empathy and sympathy can go hand in hand with biological science.

We are very grateful to AAP for providing the necessary funding to our team to attend this conference.

Bingo was her name-o

Now that rainy season is upon us, the general mood of staff, volunteers, and monkeys in Calabar is a little glum compared with the recent sunshine-filled days of dry season. Damp staff clean out enclosures where soggy monkeys peep down from under their roof shelters, and everyone is waiting and hoping for some sun to brighten their day.

Last week however, a little ray of sunshine entered the compound in the form of a tiny, mischievous putty-nosed guenon, who was brought in by a concerned member of the public. After seeing the little orphan terrified and alone at a market, the gentleman had felt so sorry for her, that he bought her immediately and carried her straight to CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research and Conservation of Primates and Nature) to give her a better life.

The man had carried the baby to us in a small cardboard box and on seeing me, he opened the lid and the tiny creature cautiously peeped out her head. The sight of several pairs of human eyes and the backdrop of primate enclosures filled with animals all staring at her was overwhelming and she she quickly lept out and hid behind her rescuers legs.

Nervously Bingo peeks out from behind her rescuer’s legs.

Egu, our head keeper quickly brought over a plate of food and I tried to tempt out the nervous infant; hoping to win her over with some tasty treats. As fear slowly gave way to hunger, she gradually tiptoed out and stood in awe of the big plate of food put before her. It wasn’t long before she plunged face first into fruit, now completely oblivious of everything and everyone around her! Being so young, in the wild she would have just started moving on to solid food and so the softest fruits were the first to disappear.

Seeing so much food Bingo dives in head first.

We are not sure how long she had been away from her mother, who was likely shot for bushmeat leaving the infant alone in the clutches of the hunter. She was in very good condition however, so it is likely that it was only days before.

After hearing fellow putty-nosed guenon calls, Bingo tries to find her voice.

Once she had her fill of fruit, we brought out some milk, essential to all young orphaned primates for healthy development…..and loved by monkeys of all ages!. She gulped down the milk and now completely at ease, began bouncing all over me as if we had been best friends her whole life!

Milk is a firm favorite amoung all monkeys and helps Bingo feel more relaxed.

Before leaving, her rescuer named her Bingo. We explained to him that in the future if he ever saw another primate in a market he should not buy the animal as doing so encourages trade, rather he should report to CERCOPAN so that we can go and confiscate the orphan.

As we walked Bingo into the office, which will be her home for the next few weeks, outstretched arms appeared from every passing enclosure as all our resident adult females indicated that they wanted to be the one to hug and care for the tiny infant. Bingo must go through quarantine before being introduced to a group, but as all of our monkeys seem so desperate to mother her, she will certainly have no problem fitting in anywhere!

If you want to help CERCOPAN continue to provide a refuge for monkeys like Bingo, please support our cause today. As a non-profit organisation we rely fully on donations by caring people such as yourself to feed our ever growing primate family. With over 160 monkeys currently between our two sites we have so many mouths to feed and we just cant do it without you.

With yet another mouth to feed, CERCOPAN really needs your support!