Tag Archives: putty-nosed guenon

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.


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.



‘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.

Catherine with chicken coop.jpg

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’ 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.


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

World Environment Day – Let’s Stand Together!

Wildlife Conservation Messages.jpg

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!

Wildlife Our Heritage.jpg

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.

School receiving prize at World Environment Day.jpg

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.

World Environment Day 2009.jpg

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!

Colourful World Environment Day costumes.jpg

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!

Jungle Adventure part 2

The third day was supposed to be the last and we looked forward to a shower and a tastier meal, but a lot of surprises and events were waiting for us in the hours that followed.   We left early, carrying our loads, which were thankfully lighter than the first day.  My shoes were dry from the fire, but this became irrelevant after the first river we had to cross.  The rain had stopped in the morning though and the level of streams and rivers had decreased substantially.

Exactly like the day before, the nice, easy trail didn’t last and we soon had to short-cut some hill slopes and dense areas.  After about 2 hours of trek, the only wildlife tracks we had found were red river hogs footprints, although they were in very large quantities. We had passed several hills rich in Coula edulis, also known as Gabon nut, a tree that produces fruits appreciated by chimpanzees, confirmed by Osam’s anecdotes about chimpanzees killed in this area around 5 years ago.

We had travelled through the major hills and the topography had become smoother when we heard branches shaking.  We stopped, unloaded our bags, and approached quietly.  There were monkeys around, but it was difficult to estimate the number or to see them particularly well.  We could clearly see red-eared monkeys, probably because they travel under the canopy making them easier to observe.  The monkeys were moving from North to South and it seemed they had not seen us.

Soon after this sighting the path disappeared again.  We looked for it a while but decided to give up and go back to Agbor Iyamba.  As soon as we made this decision, Osam recognized a bushmango tree where he had met 2 people in the past when he was hunting, and while he was lost on an elephant trail. We found the trail close to the tree and we followed it.  A few minutes later, branch movements and shaking attracted our attention.  Monkeys were to our right side and we could see fast movements in the trees but we couldn’t distinguish them.  It seemed that they finally detected us, as three powerful threat booms were followed by a series of hack calls, making us realize we were in the presence of mona monkeys.  Immediately after the adult male mona calls, putty-nosed piows, another type of alarm/threat loud call, came from the same location.  There were mona AND putty-nosed monkeys, close by the red-eared monkeys we had seen before.  All were moving to the South, just like our trail. We stayed quiet and followed our track for a few minutes until we stopped again.


Putty nosed guenon

A strange unfamiliar sound, like scratching, was produced close to us.  Osam, reproducing his ex-hunting strategies, took off his sandals, crouched slightly, and approached where the sound was being emitted.  I stayed behind so as to not scare whatever it was, and waited in anticipation.  After a few minutes, the sound had stopped and Osam came back to me, illuminated by a large smile.  “Mangabey ! Red-capped mangabey, just like the ones we have in camp!” he said.  His description was precise enough to put out any doubt in my mind.  Osam had approached the sound and saw a large monkey on a branch, very close to the ground. The animal didn’t see Osam and he approached while the monkey was scratching at a big fruit.  Osam saw the grey/black back, and the tail with the white tip.  Then the monkey suddenly turned himself in the direction of Osam, saw him, and ran away.  Then Osam had clearly seen the white belly, the chestnut colored head, and the prominent black muzzle before the monkey could flee.


Red capped Mangabey       

We continued and arrived at a location where a shed had previously existed before being destroyed as it was too close to the Cross River National Park.  Here we were just on the boundary of the park.  We took a quick, well deserved rest and then carried on our walk.  Only 5 minutes after we left, familiar contact calls made us stop.  We could very clearly see mona monkeys foraging in the lower canopy.  There were movements on the ground too, and more monkeys higher in the trees.  Red-eared monkeys could be seen and it looked like the same mixed-group as before.  We had all advanced in the same direction and location.  Another red-capped mangabey was seen at that point but, even with so many eyes to see us, it still took some minutes before the monkeys detected our presence.  Then they all moved away, creating a lot of confusion in the trees and in our minds, while we tried to work out what species went where and how many of each there were.  In this situation, it is difficult to spot all the monkeys, and usually it is good to concentrate in one area.  Most of the monkeys were fleeing to the South, but some scattered in others directions.  I could spot the monas at 60 or 70m in front of me, about 30m high.  They passed one by one along a branch that I could see clearly through the vegetation, counting  11 of them.  All these sightings were extremely exciting, but it had delayed our progress a lot and now it was close to noon and we were still very far from camp.

As soon as we couldn’t see monkeys anymore, we continued on the journey and the rain started.  Not a light rain, but a strong shower worthy of any visions we have of the wet season.  Soaked in a few minutes, we walked for an hour before reaching a shed.  Unfortunately, this shed was only a shadow of its former self- no roof; no shelter for us.  Just the time to take a GPS point, which was a good 15min in this weather, and then we were back to walking.  The trail was easy to follow until we took a fork to the North.  This trail was mainly grown over so we had to cut our way through, which took a long time. We finally arrived to Ebin Iyura, a shed used for logging activities before logging was banned by the state. Logging sheds have a floor made of planks, whereas hunting sheds are much more rustic.  It was 3.30pm and we were about 5 hours from camp.  Again, each halt was short as the lack of time was praying on our minds.  The next trail fortunately was well maintained and we reached Rhoko river around 5pm without difficulties, except for the rain that was still pouring down.

Rhoko river is usually large, but what was in front of us looked like something else.  Maybe 25m wide and brown with earth, it ran extremely rapidly forming whirlpools in places, and carrying huge branches downstream.  Because of the darkness of the water, we couldn’t figure out how deep it was and where the “normal” bank should be.  We planted a stick on the edge to work out if the level was decreasing or still growing, and waited.

The rain had stopped and the Rhoko river was decreasing, but slowly. Too slowly.  Rhoko, as the major river on this side of the forest, had received the water from many adjacent streams, and was not forming an insurmountable natural barrier.  There was a shed on the other side of the river, called Ocambay, and we were only 30m from it, but blocked by these natural elements.  Night was falling.  Osam knew of another long abandoned shed on our side of Rhoko and we decided to verify the state of it. Unfortunately, we had to pass yet another stream that turned out to not even be running because it was too close to Rhoko, but instead had reached a stationary level over 2m.  Despite that, Osam could cross this stagnating, brown and forbidding water.  He crossed by a fallen tree still raised just above the water.  I waited on the other side until Osam came back, announcing there was no shed anymore.  Then we headed back to the edge of the river Rhoko.

The only solution was patience.  We set our wet camping mats on the ground, took off our wet clothes and tried to rest.  Osam fell asleep quickly but there was no way for me.  The ground was sloppy and I continually slid down slowly, finding myself off the mat.  The darkness and the night fell while the entire forest dripped water, even after the rain had stopped.  Consequently, between water drops, the cold, and the slope, I barely could find any sleep.


Sleeping next to the Rhoko River

Finally, at 2.00am, when Osam and I were too cold to rest any longer, luckily, the water had seriously decreased.  We could see the bottom of the river, which was still very powerful.  We figured out that the river was more than 2m high when we had first arrived, but now was only 1m.  Osam used my head-light, while I used my mobile phone for light, and we had to walk along a flooded tree trunk for 15m up the river and then fork onto a fallen tree trunk to reach the other side. Osam was standing without any problem on the trunks, while I had to crouch to avoid the heaviness of my load from carrying  me into the water.  Eventually we made it but it had taken us a good 30minutes to cross!

We stayed in Ocambay shed for the rest of the night.  A hot meal and warming fire in the shelter gave us so much relief.  We left in the morning and made it back to camp within 3 hours, exhausted but happy to conclude this weekend’s adventure.

New babies flexy and delight rescued by CERCOPAN

by Amy Baxter, Temporary Office and Finance Manager

CERCOPAN is pleased to announce that we now have two new additions to our monkey residents!  Saved from an uncertain fate, two young putty-nosed guenons, Flexy and Delight, were rescued by staff and brought to our Calabar compound.  We had a tip-off from a secondary school teacher who visited CERCOPAN with his class not long a go.  While he was here we explained to the class why primates shouldn’t be kept as pets and told them that it was even against the law in Nigeria.  After this short visit to our site, he walked past a compound where he could see two young putty-nosed guenons and he immeditely came to CERCOPAN to inform us.  We were very pleased that our educational messages were successfully absorbed and it gives us great hope for the future that we can continue to change the opinions of Nigerian residents!


His information indicated that the owner sold monkeys commercially and so we were even more concerned and determined to rescue the pair and to stop any more trade.  Our Education Assistant, Martina, stopped by the compound on the way to work to investigated the situation further.  She was very concerned upon arrival about the number of ‘area boys’ close by, a group known to be involved in criminal activities and often very dangerous.  She left without entering the compound but could see one putty-nosed guenon from where she stood.  Our bravest lads decided they would all go together to confiscate the putties, feeling strength in numbers was the best pproach on this occasion. They had expected a long debate with the owner to persuade him to give up the pair, but the whole situation turned out to be much easier than expected…….


Vet nurse Austin with Flexy and Delight

The owner knew CERCOPAN and had visited in the past as he loved monkeys.  He recognized Martina immediately and said he had expected to receive a visit from us at some point.  Our staff asked him is he knew keeping monkeys was against the law and he did, as did his wife who had been nagging him to take them to CERCOPAN for some time!  He had planned to go but had become so attached to the pair, that he had been postponing the visit.  He admitted that had previously  traded in monkeys, selling them for about 8000 naira each (approximately ?30) but had often kept them for a while before selling them to enjoy their company.  When our team had arrived the monkeys were running around the compound, having escaped from their enclosure, but were quite happy to stay around the family home.  They were playing in the trees and climbing on the roof, not a bit disturbed by this large group of people watching their antics.

While arranging the hndover of the monkeys with the owner, we discovered one of them didnt actually belong to him. They had been placed together by the two separate owners to keep each other company.  He was very hesitant to give up the second animal, explaining that the other owner would think he had sold the monkey to make money. The next hour was spent trying to contact the other owner and then negotiating with him and his family. Eventually, our staff finaly talked him into releasing the monkey into our care and Flexy nd delight were brought home to CERCOPAN. They are a friendly and confident pair, even around humans.  So much so that they didn’t even need a travel box on the car journey home, cheerfully clinging to each other and Egu, our head keeper’s, arm.


Now they are waiting at CERCOPAN for their medical tests so they can be moved in to a big group with other puttys.  We have 3 other young puttys and 1 slightly older individual already waiting to move out from quarantine and they will form one big happy group once Flexy and Delight are ready.  They won’t be without their guardian though, making sure they all stay in line; Double Chief, an old male, with be put in charge of the nursery group and will make sure no one misbehaves!

Rescued baby monkey heals quickly with expert care

Exactly a week ago, CERCOPAN staff rescued an as yet un-named infant putty nosed monkey female (see previous blog) with a seriously injured left hand.  In only a week, this young monkey has transformed from a traumatized little girl, into a confident and adventurous individual!  Not wanting to encourage too much movement of her hand she stays in a travel box most of the day, but does come out for play sessions around the volunteer office and living room, stopping occasionally to rest on the back of one of our chairs (see picture below). 


Truly a character, this monkey knows no fear!  She leaps around so happy to be free! Climbing everywhere and trying to use her broken hand.  She is also very vocal, and makes it known to me frequently when I am not paying her enough attention.  Enjoying the reassurance that my arms provide, she jumps into my chest every time something scares her or I call her back from a dangerous feat!  I can tell already, her progress is going to be interesting, and we will surely keep everyone posted!  Thanks to all for helping to support CERCOPAN, because of people like you we are able to take care of little monkeys like her. 

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.



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


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.