Tag Archives: Red-capped mangabey

‘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

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!

Endangered Red Capped Mangabey rescued from appalling conditions

We were very pleased here at CERCOPAN to observe some positive responses to our education outreach program last week when, shortly after our Education Officer conducted an environmental education lesson, he received a call from one of the students who had seen a monkey being kept as a pet.  The school was new to our outreach program and this was the first time any student had received a lesson of this kind. The boy was extremely keen for us to rescue the monkey with all he had been taught about the problems keeping them as pets.  It can be hard to assess which tactics of CERCOPAN’s multi-dimensional approach make the most difference to our conservation cause, but this clearly showed that some of the messages in our educational outreach programme were being taken on board and changing attitudes.


The new Mangabey is very thin and malnourished and has bald patches all over his fur

Although the village was relatively close to our forest site, it was still quite a distance from our Calabar rehabilitation centre. Abakum, our Education Officer, initially travelled to the village on public transport to investigate the situation and plan the confiscation. He met our forest site Community Liaison and Education Officer there and the pair began searching for the monkey while calling the student who had given the information.  Sadly they discovered the student had travelled out of the village due to an emergency and, although he had hoped to get back in time, the afternoon quickly passed and our staff were forced to return home without any further information.

Determined to rescue this suffering indivudal, Abakum returned on his day off while visiting family close by as he hoped to at least gather some information on the whereabouts of the individual.  He finally located the house, with the help of the student, but the family had gone away to farm for a few days.  Frustrated yet again at not returning with the monkey, Abakum spoke to neighbours on the best time to catch the family at home and began planning a return.  It was on this trip that he discovered the monkey was a small mangabey who was kept outside on a harness when the family were at home and brought inside the house when the family was farming.  At least now we knew what we were expecting to bring home when we eventually did get a chance to talk to the family.


The new mangabey enjoying his new surroundings

Finally we had a successful trip when Abakum and Austin (our Vet Nurse) managed to meet the family at their home and negotiate the release of the monkey in to our care.  The mangabey was being kept in a room full of smoke where the family were processing cassava into the local food item garri, and our staff were particularly worried about how this would be affecting his health.

Eventually we secured the mangabey and he travelled back to our headquarters where he could be given the best possible care. Upon arrival he was examined, but it has been very difficult to determine his age as clearly malnourishment has severely stunted his growth.  There was not a dry eye amongst the bystanders watching when we released him into his new enclosure and he readily tucked into his food as though he had not eaten for days. Since arriving at CERCOPAN though his gentle nature is shining through; enjoying nothing more than a bowl of milk and a good groom from keepers, he is intrigued by all the other primates around. He is already a favourite amongst the staff and volunteers and I am sure he will be equally popular with others of his kind once he has passed his tests and can be introduced into a group.


 Our new friend tucking into some papaya

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.

Truant baby Mangabey returns home

On the 30th September, one of our youngest mangabeys found his adventurous streak and took a trip to the ‘outside world’.  Despite being in a large 1 hectare, semi-free ranging forest enclosure Judim, approximately 6 months old, decided he was ready to explore a bit further afield.  The primate keepers at our Rhoko forest site were very surprised when they arrived one morning to discover the small mangabey climbing the trees outside the enclosure.  It is particularly rare that we have mangabey escapes at our forest site, mainly as their enclosure is so large they are usually quite happy inside, and also because we have an electric fence running around the outside making it particularly difficult to climb out without a little buzz!  The only time we worry about escapes is when a storm has caused a tree to fall on the fence and we have some teenage males looking to find exotic girls from another troop!


Judim our little adventuror!

What was even more surprising about Judim’s escape was that usually he was such a quiet, nervous infant! It is very rare to see him away from his mum, so where this daring notion came from is anybody’s guess!  We think he must have crawled under the electric tape to where the normal metal fence is and then started to climb up, being small enough to not touch the electric tapes about 25cm away.  Once he got to the top I don’t think he realised he would be separated from his mum if he played in the ‘adventure playground’ the other side of the fence. Once he was on the other side and this separation dawned on him he wasn’t too happy, nor was mum for that matter! Both mum and infant started to get distressed, and Judim tried several methods to try to get back in with the other mangabeys.  The CERCOPAN workers who had gone to help tried to reduce their stress by not getting too close and attempting to distract the rest of the group with food.  It would be impossible to pick up the infant and return him to the enclosure without being mobbed by the group, so everyone was forced to wait while Judim worked out a method to return himself.  Eventually, after several different tactics had failed, Judim cimbed a tall tree over-looking the enclosure.  Here he weighed up his options and chances of leaping back in to the enclosure and, with baited breath, the staff looked on. With every other possibility exhausted and now clearly desperate, Judim took the death-defying leap and luckily landed safely in his mother’s arms.  Both mother and Judim were extremely relieved and joyful about being united, but I’m pretty sure Judim got a serious telling off when these emotions wore off!


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.

Congratulations Peace!

All here at CERCOPAN would like to congratulate Peace on the birth of her healthy little baby!  Peace’s infant was born two days ago, and while this is Peace’s first child and she still has a lot to learn, each day she grows more comfortable with her motherly duties.  Born just a few weeks earlier, Mercy’s baby boy is growing quite rapidly and it won’t be long before these two young managbeys are causing trouble together!    Stay tuned for more updates and pictures on this adorable and lively group of monkeys.




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.



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.   


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 



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.


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.


 Bella and Jerry