Tag Archives: charity

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.