Tag Archives: mona monkey

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.

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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.

www.compassionateconservation.org

www.aap.org

‘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.

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‘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

World Environment Day – Let’s Stand Together!

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With the globally recognised ‘Year of Biodiversity’ upon us CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research and Conservation Of Primates And Nature) has been preparing it’s annual environmental awareness rally based on this biodiversity theme. Every year we have organised the ‘mid-year Calabar festival’ as it has come to be known, with the help of international and local organisations and businesses including Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Ministry of Environment, Cross River Forestry Commission, etc. With a different theme each year, this gives us and national environmental government agencies the chance to spread important environmental messages in a fun and colourful manner across the state!

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With televised broadcasts and over 5000 children participating in previous years, CERCOPAN has covered topics such as ‘Bushmeat can be dangerous meat’, Don’t allow our forests to become empty’, and ‘Wildlife; our heritage’. School participation is one of the main methods we use to get children thinking more about the conservation messages we deliver during our year long outreach programme to over 50 secondary and 20 primary schools. Competitions are carried out and this year we have three: a cleanest school competition to help improve the surrounding areas of local schools; a drama competition where schools are filmed acting out a 15minute sketch based on this year’s theme (the top three will perform on the day); and finally, the favourite among schools, the carnival procession, where schools are judged on the creativity of the parade and its relationship to biodiversity. Competition winners receive prizes to support the expansion of the school and the purchase of new equipment to be used by the children.

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Personally, I am very excited about the day. It is the grand finale of all of our years environmental education work and witnessing children who have grasped the conservation messages we have taught and have a newfound passion for conservation and wildlife gives our whole team a huge feeling of accomplishment. It is also an opportunity to attract media and political attention to the cause so that our conservation messages are spread even further afield and have greater impact.

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If you feel passionately about the environment and would like to support this wonderful event, your donations are most welcome. As 2010 is the international year of Biodiverity we want, more than ever before, to make this a special day to remember!

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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!

A perfect happy ending for one of lifes survivors

Reintroducing monkeys into their natural habitat is the ultimate step to fulfill CERCOPAN ‘s mission.  Some CERCOPAN monkeys have already been released back into Rhoko forest and we plan to undertake more reintroductions in the coming year, including both red-capped mangabey and mona monkey groups.  A release group has already been selected in Calabar and has been bonding as a family for some time now. CERCOPAN research team is still working on adding additional individuals to the group however, prior to moving the animals to the pre release forest enclosure.

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The release group

Mottie, a 9 year old male, was added to group in November. Among all the monkeys I have seen that have unfortunately been snatched from the forest and their families to be kept as pets, Mottie arrived in the worst state. We found out about his plight when someone visited the compound and informed us that their neighbour had a monkey and was tired of it so was about to kill it. Obviously we went to his rescue immediately. He had been kept alone in a tiny enclosure and had been fed nothing but pounded cassava. He was suffering from malnutrition, had lost most of his fur and had an obsession for catching insects, which is obviously how he had managed to survive. When he was brought to our compound, it actually took a while for staff even to recognize what species of monkey he was. Nobody knows how he had managed to hold on as long as he had, but we were absolutely determined to do everything we could to make up for the abuse he had suffered.

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Mottie when he first arrived at CERCOPAN, barely recognisable as a Mona monkey

Thankfully, despite this difficult start Mottie recovered quickly and thrived in the presence of other Monas. He had had his own group with several juveniles and spent his time protecting and playing with them. Among them was Offiong, a juvenile male, who entered the release group just before  Mottie. When Mottie first entered the group, Offiong was by far the most confident of the juveniles with Mottie, since the others were more scared of this large new adult male. After more than a month in the group however, Mottie has bonded with everyone and spends time playing with the infants and threatening anything that comes near his new family.

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BELLA (middle), with OMOR (right) and RUNA (left)

We have just added two additional juvenile females to the group, Bella, one of our more recent monkeys, brought from Lagos in March 2009, and Sandra, a 2 year old female. The bonding of these juveniles is so far going very well, aided by their young age and the natural instinct of the older individuals to protect the youngsters. There are now 8 animals in the release group, Sandra, Bella, Ikom, Runa, Omor, Offiong, Kemi and Mottie. We hope to transfer them into the forest at the beginning of 2010, a few weeks before releasing them into Rhoko Forest Core Area. We are all excited for the day that Mottie leads his family off into the forest, truly free and able to raise his children in the wild where they belong.

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Mottie today, awaiting his return to the forest

Abused baby monkey leaves CERCOPAN staff deeply saddened

On Wednesday (14th October) despite doing everything we possibly could, we were unable to save a young male mona monkey brought to us at CERCOPAN.  This tiny mona arrived to us in a cardboard box, collapsed in a heap and shaking all over.  The man who brought him in said his brother had purchased the monkey that morning and it had been fine, but during the day it had become like this. As we continued to examine the mona, we found that he had a black eye, a wound on his upper lip, was dehydrated and highly disorientated.

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A mona of similar size to the young male brought in
We questioned the man further, at which point he changed his story and said he had been like this when his brother made the purchase.  Realising we were going to get no closer to understanding the circumstances we carried the mona to our vet lab where our Vet Assistant, Austin, began trying to work out why the infant was shaking so severely, similarly to an epileptic fit.  We were mentally going through all the possible conditions that may have caused these symptoms.  The moment we took its temperature though we understood.  His temperature was 42?C (nearly 108?F). We quickly tried to cool him down,  gently wetting his fur and fanning him.  He was still ‘fitting’, a common side effect to such a high temperature, and we held his hands so he had something to hold on to and so that he felt comforted.  He was making small squeals, not like any normal vocalisation a healthy mona would make, and we could tell he was in a lot of pain.

We managed to get his temperature down to the normal level of 38 ?C and he started to reduce his shaking while becoming more aware of his surroundings.  Relieved that he was becoming more stable we started to look in to the next stage of treatment.  We made up a sugar/salt solution to begin to combat the dehydration and fed it to him with a syringe.  Sadly, not long after, the mona started taking another turn for the worse, this time in the opposite direction with his temperature dropping.

We quickly gave him a hot water bottle and wrapped him up in blankets.  He was beginning to shake again and his whimpering told us he was still in pain. Pandrillus vet Ainare did everything she could to save him but despite all of our best efforts he passed away.  We were all desperately sad but also at least relieved the poor infant was suffering no longer.  A post-mortem revealed massive trauma to the head, likely due to being hit with something or kicked.  All of the staff of CERCOPAN had tears in their eyes and were disgusted that anyone could do this to an animal.

Later that evening the brother, who had originally purchased the mona turned up at CERCOPAN to ‘collect’ his monkey.  We explained to him the circumstances of his death and that, even if the monkey had survived, it would not have been given back to him under any conditions, as is protocol at CERCOPAN.  We gave him  tour of CERCOPAN and spent a long time explaining to him why monkeys should not be kept as pets, and the legal implications of doing so under Nigerian law.  A sad day for all here, but it made us all more determined than ever to educate people about wildlife and to provide safe haven for all of the monkeys out there that so desperately need our help.

In memory of Scoopy

After trying everything possible, we lost lovable character ‘Scoopy’ just after 11pm lastnight. He was a special monkey, very intelligent and gentle and always managed to make me laugh with his hilarious antics. For example, a few months ago he tricked the keepers and managed to escape from his enclosure and evade capture for two days. I was in the garden reading on his second day of freedom, when he appeared from nowhere. He walked straight over, sat in the chair next to me, reached over the table and took my pringles. At first I thought he would run away with them, but he calmly lounged in the chair, flipped the lid, took a handful and placed the tin back on the table.

It ‘s been a very sad day for me and I will miss him a lot. I just wanted to share a picture of him with you all.

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Scoopy – a true character in every sense of the word

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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