Tag Archives: Cercopithecus nictitans

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!

Urgent appeal – Crisis Situation

It’s a sad fact that charities and organizations across the world are suffering the knock on effects of the global financial crisis. Donors are drying up and support from individuals is lessening as people look to solving problems closer to home. CERCOPAN tries not to rely on appeals of this nature but we have found ourselves unexpectedly forced into an extremely difficult situation. We have had to tighten our belts considerably in view of the fact that unrestricted funds for operating costs such as monkey food, enclosure repairs and utility bills are just not forthcoming at present.

We are still supported in educational and rural livelihood development projects, for example, but these funds are assigned to the activities the funding organizations have specified. Our desperation at this time is the need to find funds simply to continue our day to day operations so that we can honour these commitments and most importantly give the food and care that our rescued monkeys require. We have been cutting expenses in peripheral areas for some time now and have put all we can personally into making sure these demands are met, however, something can always tip the balance.

Yesterday we received a demand for the rent on the property where our Calabar office and education centre stand; in which we house all of the primates not currently in our forest based site. This annual rent has doubled without warning and is required to be paid by the end of next month. Unfortunately we have no right to appeal this increased demand; in the future we would have no such threat to our existence having agreed to move permanently to a free undeveloped site on the University of Calabar’s grounds. We have funding proposals out being considered at the moment to finance this move; but face an imminent and debilitating crisis if we cannot find the necessary money to keep us in place until then.

We are continuing to try exhaustively all avenues of funding we can hope to raise from here but we have reached a point where we need to ask our readers and supporters to help us if at all possible, through whatever means you may have at your disposal, to raise the funds required to continue our work in this difficult time.

Thank you from everyone at CERCOPAN for taking the time to read this.

Claire

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Baby Sclater’s guenon – CERCOPAN houses the only known captive Sclater’s guenons in the world.

Join our Facebook cause

CERCOPAN is now a Facebook Cause!

For those of you who are regular Facebook users, why not join ….

We hope to encourage informal discussion and to post regular news items on the facebook cause page as well as on the blog.  I hope to see you there!

Here is the link: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/308596/68398117?m=6987e7df

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Thanks Christine, Brenton and Brigitta!

Everyone here at CERCOPAN would like to send a sincere thanks to Christine, Brenton and Brigitta for their recent donations.  Thoughtful people like you, keep CERCOPAN running.  Every dollar counts and helps us to care for each of our monkeys, especially by keeping them fed.  As you can see, they really do appreciate it!  As always, please stay posted for more updates and pictures.

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Maya, CERCOPAN’s rescued baby putty-nosed guenon

By: Sam Trull

Our newest orphaned arrival here at CERCOPAN finally has a name…Maya!  When she first arrived here on May 26th she was estimated to be only 6 weeks old and didn’t even have her white “putty nose” yet (see picture in previous post).  She was rescued from a local market where someone was trying to sell her for a profit after undoubtedly killing her mother.  Very shy and scared on her first day here, Maya has since become very outgoing and while she mostly enjoys the comfort of my arms, she has taken quite well to having play sessions on the couch with anyone who will give her attention.   

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It is so much fun watching her grow up and learn.  Each day she gets stronger, bigger and wiser.  She has recently started taking quite large leaps, making keeping her in-line quite difficult.  She is so curious, always wondering what different things taste like, trying to put everything in her mouth after touching it with her hands and staring at it for a second.  She is also becoming much more confident during her play sessions.  Initially, barely leaving me to venture out onto the couch, and then returning to the safety of my lap after each step.  She is now running all up and down the couch with increasing velocity and only checking in with me for a quick running leap into my arms or to have a wrestling session with my fingers. 

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Wanting to give her the attention that she needs, but still be able to keep up with all my other daily tasks often requires that she sit upon my shoulders while walking around the office or working at my desk.  Taking advantage of the sudden close proximity to my head, Maya often starts to groom me by rummaging through my hair or nibbling on my ears.  To say that this is adorable is an understatement and while I will be happy on the day that she joins one of our putty groups here in Calabar, I know that it will be hard to let her go.  I look forward to sleeping a little more and having cleaner clothes, but I will miss her calling for me, snuggling into my chest and most of all knowing that I am doing everything I can to make up for the tragedy she has already experienced at such a young age. 

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Because of CERCOPAN Maya has a ‘mother’, she has a safe place to live, all the food she could want and most importantly, because of CERCOPAN, Maya has a chance. 

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Food for thought

by Dani Mancini

As my time at CERCOPAN goes by, I am finding myself being given more daily duties and responsibilities and, after returning from the bush to CERCOPAN’s centre in Calabar, I was only more than happy to be given the daily duty of feeding the infant monkeys throughout the day. 

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Bella

There are many different groups of young monkeys who all need a milk supplement to their normal fruit diet in order to continue developing properly. Amongst the monkeys I have been put in charge of preparing milk for are 6 juvenile monas, 1 juvenile red tail, 1 juvenile putty and our newest baby orphan putty, all of whom range from just a few months old to around 4 years. In the wild, the monkeys we have here at Cercopan would continue nursing for a few years after birth so, when in captivity, it is important to continue to supplement their diet in the same way to ensure they do not miss out on any of the essential vitamins and minerals they require for growth.

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Dani giving infants milk  

The milk given to the monkeys is made from the vitamin rich powdered milk, Nan, which is given at 2 hour intervals throughout the day between the hours of 9 and 6. In order to imitate the milk the infants would naturally receive from their mothers the milk is served lukewarm and, for the youngest of our infant monkeys, in a little milk-bottle to simulate their mothers’ teat. The best part about being able to feed the young monkeys here is that it is the perfect opportunity to get to know each individual personality. I always try and take a few moments to stay and watch the infants when they feed as it is the most fantastic way of learning first hand  just how unique and complex each individual can be. I’ve also gained a slight amount of trust from the infants – one of the young monas, Tina, now even insists on giving me a little groom each time I go to deliver her group’s milk!. It has also shocked me just how intelligent these young monkeys are, if there’s a way of getting to the milk before they are supposed to, they will find it. Even the monkeys in neighbouring cages hatch cunning plans to steal the infants’ milk. Billy the one eyed mona, who neighbours the young red tail, for example, has found a way of reaching through his cage mesh to get to the milk bowl next door. And when he’s got it…he certainly isn’t prepared to let go!  Whilst all volunteers here at CERCOPAN are more than willing to invest the time needed to dish out these milk supplements, I am growing to understand that it is proving to be a huge financial strain. Each day the young monkeys work their way through a whole tin of Nan and, given that it is a high cost item, it is one of CERCOPAN’s largest food expenditures. It is, however, integral to our young infants’ development that we continue to enhance their diets in this way so in some cases, cut backs are having to be made elsewhere. 

However, I have to add that the more time I spend here, the more I am inspired by how much NGOs such as CERCOPAN can achieve with so little funds and, whilst I am volunteering here, I am determined to do all that I can to help.

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 Bella and Jerry

New arrival!

All here at Cercopan are delighted to announce some wonderful news: one of our resident Mangabeys, Mercy, has given birth to healthy baby infant! The new arrival, who’s sex is yet to be determined, was born during the early hours of Wednesday 10th June without any complications and has been progressing well since. Mercy has proven herself to be a very watchful and attentive parent, as has the baby’s father, Callistus, who is being duly protective. We are all exceptionally pleased with how well the baby has been integrated into the group so far. Brother, Marley, has been seen grooming the child as has the unrelated Mangabey, Peace, who is also due to give birth any day. We will be keeping a watchful eye on this special new arrival to ensure it continues to progress so well and eagerly anticipate the birth of Peace’s infant within the next few days. We have posted a few pictures of the baby Mangabey below but keep checking the blog for further pictures and updates!

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A Personal Account Of This Year’s World Environment Day

Story by: Daniella Mancini
Pictures by: Sam Trull

It’s approaching dawn on Friday 5th June and my mind floats peacefully through a dream filled sea. Thoughts of the past few forest trekking, monkey feeding, bush researching days filled my mind as I lulled gently further into a restful sleep. Suddenly, amidst the bananas and mangabeys that have thus invaded my subconscious, the dulcet tune of Mozart’s 5th Symphony begins to resonate through the trees. That’s strange. I’m used to the sweet ticking of crickets and the mild hum of sand flies; I didn’t know there was a natural classical overtone in the wild too; my dreams must be playing tricks on me. The tune gets louder and louder and within just a few minutes the sound is inescapable….damn. It’s my alarm. I forgot. It’s 5am and time to drag my weary head out of bed to travel to Calabar for World Environment Day. This had better be worth it.

I should introduce myself for this all to make sense. My name is Daniella and I am a 19 year old British student staying here in Nigeria for two months as a volunteer for Cercopan. As someone who’s never been involved in conservation work before, I was advised by Rhoko’s manager, Richard, that World Environment Day would be a fantastic way to go and see firsthand just what conservation really means to the Nigerian people, particularly the Nigerian youth, of today. Eager to find out how Cercopan’s work reaches out to society, I was thrilled to accept the invitation. If only we didn’t have to leave so early. Like I said, I really hope this is worth it.

Three hours pass and before I know it we arrive at the cultural centre in Calabar where the day’s events were to take place. Still rather bleary eyed, I stumble out of the truck into a giant car park where, before I could even say ‘environmental awareness’, my tiredness was knocked out of me with the quickest of blows. Out in front of the truck was wave after wave of colour, hoards of children had grouped en masse dressed in the most fantastically imaginative costumes ready for a parade. The rhythmic pulse of a drum beat echoed around us and children danced like they had no other purpose in the world but to dance. They danced as though the rhythm of the drum had taken over their very soul, a dance that came from deep within and told the most extraordinary story. Culture, history and pride entwined and mingled into one unified expression, it was a breathtaking scene.

Girl dancing at carnival

Then the carnival began. Line after line of dancing troupes paraded around the streets of Calabar waving banners promoting the plight of Cercopan and the importance of being environmentally aware. The streets came to an absolute standstill as the masses of eager school children rhythmically processed around town. Above the drum of the instruments, poignant chants and messages could be heard. The air was electric, the atmosphere engulfing. You couldn’t help but be sucked into the excitement of it all. Heck, I even had a little dance and a chant myself. The procession lasted for the best part of an hour under the relentless heat of the Nigerian afternoon sun yet not even that could dampen the spirit of these passionate youths. As the sun rose higher, the children merely danced and cheered harder stopping only for a quick “snap, please” and then dancing off as I fumbled around rather pathetically with my camera. The whole parade really was the most exhilarating of scenes.

school performance

When the parade had ended we returned to the cultural centre where the children were to march back into the car park group by group and give a final performance in front of a panel of judges. I then realised that the schools were competing for the coveted, “Best in carnival” prize. One by one the schools marched back into the car park putting on theatrical and sometimes very traditional shows, body popping their way to the finish line and their reward – a much needed drink of water. Never in my life have I seen such impassioned young people, the sheer pride they had at representing their school was nothing short of inspirational and I was left in awe at their absolute determination. Coming second place was not an option; they were in it for the win. But more than that, these children were proud to be a part of World Environment Day. They were proud to spread the word of something they clearly felt was massively important. And it worked. The general public came out en masse to see what the parade was about and as such, Cercopan were able to deliver hundreds of information leaflets to those who may otherwise have been unreachable.

Signs with a message

After a small break the children were ushered into a large hall where a panel of Nigerian high rankers in the environmentalist world gave speeches educating the young people even further on the topic of environmental conservation. The children sat through each speech intently, understanding the absolute importance of, not only being educated in the importance of wildlife preservation themselves, but relaying that information to their elders and neighbours back home. It seemed Cercopan truly was spreading its conservational branches right into the very heart of society in the hope that this generation will be the catalyst of sustained change and development for the future.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more electrifying, Cercopan’s Acting Operations Manager, Jerry Akparawa announced it was time to declare the winners of the prizes: Best banner, Cleanest school and, the highly anticipated, Best in Carnival. Whilst I’m normally a bit of a sceptic on such things (a cynic, I’ve found, is a very British thing to be) there was no doubt in my mind that the awards Jerry had organised were perhaps what enthralled the children most. Even if I had tried I couldn’t have anticipated the reception the awards ceremony would achieve. Counting down in the normal fashion from 3rd to 1st, a number of awardees handed out the prizes, each time arousing the most fantastically euphoric roar of joy from the winning participants. As each winning school was announced the entire hall would erupt into a frenzy, the children jumped up and danced, the runners up offering equally hearty congratulatory cheers and dances in return. It was the most incredible sight. I realised at that moment that, so long as Cercopan and other conservation charities continue to target young people, there will be long and sustained change in the future. The young people I met during World Environment Day left me in no doubt that the mindfully active young Nigerians of today are receptive and ready to make changes and it is for this reason that the work Cercopan is doing with them right now, is undeniably essential.

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Special mention absolutely must go to Cercopan’s Acting Operations Manager, Jerry Akparawa. The sheer scale of event he achieved this year on such a low budget was astounding and the impact that it will have made is colossal. Whilst events like World Environment Day must, I’m sure, be impossibly difficult to organise, he achieved an indisputable success. One which I’m sure will be the first stepping stone on a long journey of change for the young Nigerians of today.
Jerry dancing at carnival
So, after all my moaning in the morning, was it worth it? More than anything I’ve ever been involved in before. I was touched, moved, inspired and overwhelmed by what I saw on World Environment Day, not least at the thought that such a small charity as Cercopan could have achieved such giant things. Whilst it is true that no man can move an island, it also remains that when a group of people think big despite all the odds, the outcome can be more than anyone would have ever dreamed possible. It struck me on World Environment day that, if Cercopan did not exist, environmental conservation education in Cross River State would be drastically different.

It leaves me with nothing other than to say that World Environment Day was an incredulous success. The more charities like Cercopan reach out to the very core of communities as was done during this event, the more likely things are to change. If any potential volunteer is wondering whether to come out to Calabar and do some work with Cercopan I can’t encourage you enough. The work that this charity does is invaluable and, particularly after seeing Cercopan’s might in full force on World Environment Day, I am proud to be here now myself.

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Another big thank you !

We would all like to say another huge thank you to Wanda for her kind donation to Cercopan in May. As always, your donation was greatly appreciated and has been put towards helping to feed and care for all of our monkeys including our newest edition, a baby orphaned putty. We have posted a picture of our new baby putty (who is yet to be named) below. More information and pictures to come about our special new arrival so keep checking for updates!

New baby orphaned female putty

New Office and Finance Manager at CERCOPAN

After fourteen great months, our Office and Finance Manager Kristine Krynitzki has decided to leave CERCOPAN and set off for pastures new. Although extremely sad to see Kris go, we wish her every luck as she begins the next chapter of her career, with plans of returning to university to begin studying environmental law in her home country, Canada.

The task of finding a replacement for such a valued member of staff has been a long and difficult process; however we are pleased to announce the appointment of our brand new Office and Finance manager, Sam Trull.

Sam, aged 28, has already had a long and established career within the field of primate conservation. With over twelve years of experience under her belt and an overwhelming passion for the cause, Sam was the perfect candidate for the job. Beginning work aged 16 at The Duke Lemur Centre in North Carolina, she progressed to the post of Primate Technician and Enrichment Co-ordinator while finishing her undergraduate study of Zoology and Anthropology in her home state. Wishing to advance from this point, more specifically as a primatologist, Sam began a post grad study in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes the following year.

Academic accomplishments aside, Sam has also participated in field research prior to arriving at CERCOPAN. Her first experience was in the Bahamas working on a team studying the Bahama parrot during March 2007. Sam then went on to carry out a pilot study surveying for aye-ayes in Betampona Reserve in Madagascar just 6 months later in the fall of 2007.

According to Sam, working for CERCOPAN is the next step in her career as a primate conservationist and she is delighted to have been given the opportunity,

“I’m thrilled to be working with an in-situ conservation project like CERCOPAN. I think the combination of primate rehabilitation, community education, research and forest preservation is a great multi-faceted approach to addressing conservation issues in Nigeria.”

Sam is due to stay at CERCOPAN for a year and, just three weeks into her stay, is already well on the way to being a fully trained CERCOPAN Office and Finance Manager. We wish both Kris and Sam lots of luck for the future.

Sam with new orphaned baby putty