Tag Archives: Nigeria

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.

 

 

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

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.

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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

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.

Spidermen in Rhoko!

Within the last month, Joe Brophy, a professional tree climber volunteering in Rhoko site, has trained one of CERCOPAN research assistant, Usor Arong, in climbing techniques.

Usor, who is from Iko Esai community and previously was a NTFP gatherer, is familiar with climbing trees but in a very traditional manner, escalading large climbers to access to upper branches in order to collect “Afang”, a local leaf used in many Nigerian recipes. Usor actually broke his leg few years ago from a fall after an unfortunate encounter with a snake at the top of a tree!

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Jo entering the tree platform

The techniques taught by Joe are quite different and safer, using ropes to access the various levels of any tree. But how to install a rope 30 metres high from the ground without taking any risk? This is where “Robin Hood” skills intervene. We are using a huge bow to send an arrow attached to a string above a large branch, then we just have to set a rope at the extremity of the string, pull the string until the rope passes over the branch, and fix the rope to a tree at the bottom.

Usor really enjoyed the bow but then lost a bit of his courage when he found himself for the first time sitting on a harness swinging on the rope 20 meters above the ground. Nevertheless, Usor managed to climb very well even on the first occasion. Several climbing sessions were then organized where Usor became more and more confident in this exercise. The most exciting moment for Usor was the ascent of the “tree-platform”, a metallic circular walkway installed 30 meters high around a massive tree trunk. The platform is one of the most popular attractions at Rhoko and gives a splendid view of the forest. Only a few indigenes of Iko Esai have ascended the tree to the platform and Usor was really proud of his performance.Jo + Usor climbing.JPG

Jo training Usor to Climb

Entertainment and fantastic views are not the only reason for climbing trees in Rhoko, the practice also allows the researchers to collect fruits, flowers and leaf samples from the canopy, as part of the long-term phenology study undertaken being undertaken in the Core Area.

Progress of the research and acquirement of new skills for our local staff is the perfect combination to fulfill CERCOPAN mission and to enhance our relationship with the surrounding communities. A big thank you to Joe for bringing his skills and enthusiasm to Rhoko and to Sherrilltree company for donating vital equipment.

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Usor wearing equipment donated by Sherrilltree

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!

How your donations in 2009 helped CERCOPAN

Dear CERCOPAN supporters,

Thank you again for all your support in the past difficult year. We would like to give you an idea to where the $4288 you raised last year went within the organisation.  This amount could pay for a month and a half of monkey food for our 160+ monkeys.  This includes daily fruit, vegetables and nutritious leaves, fish, groundnuts, eggs, and specially cooked monkey cake and moi-moi.  Moi moi is a Nigerian dish made from ground beans, herbs and water.  Within this is also milk and nutrend, a nourishing formula mixed with water and given to young or unwell animals.

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Putty nosed guenon eating orange

Those who contributed towards veterinary care helped pay for vital drugs, medical tests, disinfectant, and equipment including babies milk bottles, gloves, surgical blades, facemasks and thermometers.

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Vet nurse Austin conduting  faecal tests for internal parasities

Additionally, a lot of people contributed to the rent Calabar premises which was due at a time when we discovered several regularly received grants were cancelled, due to the fiacial crisis.  Without this money we would have surely closed and we are very grateful to all who helped us, during this difficult period.

In 2009, CERCOPAN gained 13 primates through rescues:  7 putty-nosed guenons, 3 mona guenons, 2 red-eared guenons, and 1 red-capped mangabey.  We have also had 7 successful births in our red-capped mangabey pre-release group, contributing towards the conservation of this species.

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‘Holly’, one of  the mona monkeys rescued by CERCOPAN in 2009

For the support we received this year we would like to thank

Andrew H, Anna C, Antonio C, Bethany G, Boccagna E, Bryony A, Cathy R, Carl B, Carol Z, Cynthia G, Deborah C, Elizabeth Y, Erik H, Erin E, Harry V, Hope O, Ji-in L, Julie T, Katherine M, Karen L, Karen M, Linda H, Ludovic L, Maciej G, Mark H, Mary H, Megan H, Mr G, Phillip R, Pirjo I,P L, Rebecca B, Robin C, Rupa B, Samantha E, Sara P, Sherri S and Tonia W.

Special thanks for their continued support throughout this year go to:

Brenton H

Brigitta S

Christine C

James M

Jennifer S

Kathy S

Kevin C

Kristine K

Wanda H