Tag Archives: Cercopan

Reintroducing Robotta

Robotta the Red Eared Guenon CERCOPANThe last few weeks at CERCOPAN have been very difficult, after beloved Red Eared guenon ‘Robotta’  became very ill and seemed unable to move her back legs. As soon as we noticed the first symptoms, she was moved into the office for constant observation and we began a course of medication and extreme TLC. In complete contrast to mangabeys, when guenons fall ill, they tend to become depressed and not want to eat or drink, which makes them feel even worse and want to eat even less.  Our challenge is therefore to keep them eating and drinking no matter how sorry for themselves they feel. Thankfully we have a few tricks up our sleeve – baby food made with milk and honey, smoothies made with all of their favourite fruits, foods that are of interest as they have never encountered them before and a list of the things we know each animal likes best. If the monkeys wont take the food themselves, we encourage by hand feeding, syringe feeding and presenting different options throughout the day until we succeed – sometimes I think they start eating simply because they realise it is the easier option as we are even more stubborn than they are!

Robotta and Rudolpha interact through the mesh

When Robotta first arrived at CERCOPAN, she was so sick we thought we would not be able to pull her through. She surprised us all, when after a period of intensive care not only did she make a full recovery, she quickly became the largest and most dominant baby in quarantine! Thankfully Robotta had the same response to treatment on this occasion and within a matter of weeks was fit, active, using her legs and ready to return to her group. As she was away from the other red-eared guenons for some time however, we had to slowly reintroduce her. This is because when you remove any monkey, even it is only for a few weeks, the dynamics of group can change and the primate may not receive the warm welcome home you would expect.

As a first step we placed Robotta in the satellite of the enclosure, so all animals could interact through the mesh. After a couple days of observations, we let Robotta out into the group but quickly removed her when Rudolpha and Flexi, began giving her a hard time. With Robotta again separated,we  introduced Rudolpha independently and by the end of the day they were mutually grooming one another.  Flexi, the youngest of the group, is still not sure what to think of Robotta’s return, but we are sure he will come around over the next few days and thankfully life in the Red eared group will return to normal.

If you would like to help us care for the Red Eared Guenons at CERCOPAN, please consider adopting Robotta’s group today http://cercopan.org/adopt/

 

 

Thank you from CERCOPAN (and Obugu Fine!)

Obugu Fine Sclater's Guenon CERCOPAN

Today was a special day, because thanks to a very kind donation, we were finally able to go ahead with renovations on an enclosure for one of our Sclater’s guenons, Obugu Fine. Obugu Fine lived with his best friend Ben for over 12 years, until we lost Ben to illness at the end of last year. Initially we left Obugu alone in the enclosure they had shared, as its design did not allow for slowly adding a new friend and we had no other free enclosures where we could rehouse him.

A couple of months ago, Obugu was becoming very lonely and we finally managed to free up some space and move him to an older enclosure closer to other animals and with more potential for an introduction. Unfortunately, whilst this enclosure had two parts making it ideal for our purposes, one part needed extensive repairs. We were therefore forced to place our plans on hold pending funding and restrict his movements to the good side of the enclosure.Wood for repairs of Obugu Fine enclosure CERCOPAN

Whilst primate rehabilitation is the cornerstone of our project and has impacts that extend well beyond the welfare of the individual animals we save, it is by far the most difficult aspect of our work to fund. The global financial crisis has made it harder than ever before to undertake the constant construction and repairs needed at our sanctuary and so a donation like the one made for Obugu means the world to us. Thanks to this generous personal donation, we have been able to buy all the wood, platforms, mesh, nails and other materials we needed to go ahead with our plan. After we repair the enclosure, Obugu Fine can not only enjoy all the extra space, but also the company of female Sclater’s guenon, Braylee! We will keep you updated on the progress of the introduction over the coming months.

If you would like to help our primate rehabilitation programme and the 170 animals in our care, please consider donating today.

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.

 

 

My first weeks at CERCOPAN

 

Kim Nouwen in the forest

I am  very happy to introduce myself to all CERCOPAN supporters as the new Calabar Sanctuary Manager. My name is Kim and I am from the Netherlands. I have been very passionate  about primates, since taking my first internship at Monkey World Rescue Centre in the UK. Primates have something special that intrigues me: they are very clever, energetic and every one has a completely different personality. With primates, there is never a dull moment!

During my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry and my Masters degree in Animal Sciences in the Netherlands, I always looked for possibilities to work with primates abroad. I was therefore delighted when I was able to conduct my masters research on the vocalisations of wild orangutans in Borneo, Indonesia. I spent eight months at a remote research site in a protected forest collecting vocal data by following the orangutans from dawn till dusk.

Kim with CERCOPAN staff

After graduation, I started working at an international animal welfare organisation as a campaigner and volunteer coordinator. Although I enjoyed the work, I missed working with primates and the feeling of truly contributing to the conservation of endangered species. Besides, I wanted to gain more hands on experience in the field. Well, I am certainly getting that at the primate sanctuary of CERCOPAN! My work as a manager mainly involves the management of 15 local staff,  financial administration of our programme and making sure all our primates receive the best care possible. I am very excited to get to know every individual primate we house at CERCOPAN and already feel that I am contributing my experience where it matters most. CERCOPAN undertake great work and I am am very proud to be a part of it.

Together with our other staff, I will post regular blogs to keep all our supporters up to date on the latest news here in Calabar.

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 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

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.

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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 www.cercopan.org or follow us on our facebook fan and cause pages.

‘Laying’ the foundations for good health and family financial stability in rural Nigeria

CERCOPAN has worked in its host village of Iko Esai for 10 years but, as of 2010, we have also expanded our alternative livelihood community work to over 100 people in Agoi Ibami, a neighbouring village. One of the larger projects targeting women is poultry farming for egg production, which can be done effectively at household level.

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Caroline with her partially completed enclosure

Eggs are an excellent source of healthy protein which are difficult and expensive to buy at village levels due to the poor state of access roads to external markets. Local chicken breeds do not produce high quality eggs for consumption and so CERCOPAN, with funding from BNRCC (Building Nigeria’s Response to Climate Change), has provided assistance to 15 women in Agoi Ibami to purchase agricultural layers that can provide a long term source of income and household protein.

As no one had tried rearing agricultural chickens in rural areas before CERCOPAN’s community conservation manager (Rachel Hemingway) bought two chickens to determine whether they would thrive and lay on locally available foodstuffs. Happily Fatty, one of the chickens, has started to lay high quality eggs already that are being given out to women in the village to encourage this type of farming.

Fatty.jpg

‘Fatty’ chicken, the experiment on locally available food

As with all our work CERCOPAN cannot continue to finance and expand the livelihoods programme without the generous support of individuals and groups from around the world, who we rely on entirely. Please visit our website www.cercopan.org for more information on how to support us. Also check out our facebook fan and cause pages for more pictures, downloads and updates.

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Some of the children who will benefit from our expanded livelihood programme

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!

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.