Tag Archives: rehabilitation

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.

Compassionate conservation symposium photo.JPG

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.



Donate to CERCOPAN via the National Wildlife Humane Society

Just within the past few weeks we have established a promising new alliance with a like-minded conservation organisation in the United States. The National Wildlife Humane Society (NWHS) is dedicated to reducing suffering among captive and non-captive wildlife.

Patrick Webb, President, founded the Top of the Rock Wildlife Sanctuary in 1990, in Arkansas, U.S.A. Species such as tigers, mountain lions, jaguars, and the snow leopard have been rescued within the US, and brought to the sanctuary to receive specialised long-term care. But in addition to providing sanctuary for non-US-native threatened and endangered species, the organisation also promotes wildlife conservation groups that share its vision of a more humane world for wildlife.

NWHS invited CERCOPAN as one of two organisations based in Africa to feature on their website as an alliance partner. In addition to the publicity NWHS can provide for us on the other side of the Atlantic, the website also provides the means for donors to provide monthly or one off federal tax-deductible donations to CERCOPAN, both mailed and on-line.

It’s a great bonus to us to have an active advocate for our cause on another continent, and this step forward fits right in with our strategy to continue to rapidly expand our publicity using the latest on-line media. We were also delighted when our Director, Claire, was invited to serve on the NWHS Wildlife Advisory Council to provide both primatological support and field-based environmental conservation experience to NWHS.

Read more about NWHS’s work in wildlife care at www.humanewildlife.org and visit CERCOPAN’s page at http://www.humanewildlife.org/cercopan.html

National Wildlife Humane Society Logo.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!

Can you identify CERCOPAN’s rescued mystery bird?

By Sylvain Lemoine

Whilst CERCOPAN primarily aims to rescue and rehabilitate monkeys orphaned by the bush meat trade, on occasion other types of wildlife are brought in to CERCOPAN in need of our help….

On the 23rd of January I arrived at the office and noticed Abakum, our Education Officer, in an animated discussion with a man in our Education Centre. I overheard him explaining why wild animals don’t make good pets and so, assuming he was just giving the usual explanation about CERCOPAN’s mission, I carried on walking and entered the office. I barely had time to type a sentence however, when Abakum marched triumphantly into the office……brandishing a juvenile bird of prey!!!

Bird of prey sunbathing in it's new spacious enclosure

Bird of prey sunbathing in it's new spacious enclosure

The bird’s owner, ironically called ‘Wisdom’, had brought the bird to CERCOPAN hoping to sell it. He had taken the bird from the parents’ nest and had also tried to catch a second slightly larger individual but thankfully it had managed to fly away. Wisdom had taken care of the bird for a month, catching lizards and rats to feed it and consequently was looking to make a sizeable profit for his efforts. After a thorough explanation of the serious consequences of the animal trade from our education officer however, Wisdom freely and willingly handed the animal over, having realized the error of his ways.

Since arriving at CERCOPAN our new boarder is doing very well and tucking greedily into the dead rats and other meat we are providing daily. As hawks and other birds of prey are generally natural predators of monkeys, we have the bird completely separated from our primate residents. We will also gradually reduce the birds contact with humans over the coming weeks to un-domesticate it and once this process is complete, the bird will be released back into the wild.  We are still struggling to identify the bird as the color patterns on juveniles are highly variable, but we think it may possibly be an African Harrier Hawk. If any one out there can conclusively identify the bird we would love to hear from you!

Can you identify our mystery bird?

Can you identify our mystery bird?

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.


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.


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.


‘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

CERCONEWS January edition out now!

The new edition of CERCONEWS is out today. Please download using this link cerconews-january-2010.pdf


Thank you for your support and Happy New Year!

First of all, I would like to say a big thank you to all of our readers who donated over the Christmas period; Christine C, Kevin C, Hope O, Cathy R, Karen L and Brenton H. As always, your support is much appreciated, by the staff, volunteers and the monkeys your donations are used directly to help.  I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas.


Rudoph the Red Eared Guenon

The end of the year is always a time for reflection, and as 2009 draws to a close, I am of course reminded of the difficult times we experienced this year and how close we actually came to losing our premises as a result of the financial crisis. With that in mind, I would once again like to thank all of our readers and the staff at Wildlife Direct for their unwaivering support during those particulary tough months, without your help, 2009 may have ended on a much bleaker note. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my CERCOPAN family; the wonderful staff and volunteers at CERCOPAN, all of whom worked tirelessly to keep things running and raise funds, who gave up days off, worked long into the night every evening and were always there to lift my spirits and make me smile. I could not ask for a better team.

It is with hope and positivity we look to the New Year and it is already promising to be a monumetal year in the history of our orgnisation and the vital work we undertake. In 2010, we are set to expand our tourism and community programmes, perform a second release of rehabilitated mona monkeys, increase protection of our research area, complete the construction of the Iko Esai Community and Tourist centre and most important of all, begin construction of our new HQ at the 11 hectare wooded site donated by the University of Calabar. I hope you all continue to follow our progress here at Wildlife Direct and will celebrate these advances side by side with us.

I wish you all the very best for the New Year from everyone here!

And once again, Thankyou.



CERCOPAN staff Christmas party

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.


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.


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.


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.


Mottie today, awaiting his return to the forest

One more endangered baby monkey rescued in time for Christmas

A few days ago, not long after settling our new Managabey into his enclosure at CERCOPAN HQ, we received a phone call from one of our security staff informing us that an endangered baby red-eared guenon was being kept as a pet at a bar.  Our primate care staff immediately dropped everything and got ready to go with the Director, Claire, for a rescue attempt.  With one of our trucks out of action and the other at our forest site, getting there and back would be a problem.  Normally staff would travel on an okada; a bike taxi that can usually be seen weaving between vehicles and passer-bys.  These bike taxis have just been banned within Calabar City centre and this has made a huge impact on our work and daily operations, seriously inhibiting rescue investigations and adding considerable costs to monkey food and construction/maintenance materials.  Taxis have been introduced, but at the moment there are very few in operation and so Claire and the staff were forced to stand at the top of the road and hail a passing vehicle and offered the driver money to take them to get the monkey.


Red ear upon arrival at CERCOPAN

The Red Ear was in a very rough area of town and as Claire, Matthew, Abraham and Joshua walked through the dusty streets carrying the travelling box, a noisy crowd began following behind them. They arrived at the bar to find a small red-eared guenon, about a year old, dangling spider-like on a rope tied to the ceiling. The monkey was able to climb up and down the rope and sit in the rafters, but unfortunately was unable to reach the floor and so was just hanging there, several inches from the ground blocking the entrance of the bar. The Staff quickly identified and approached the owner, whilst Claire went to check the monkeys health and comfort him. It soon transpired that the bar owner had bought the monkey that morning and as a result he was very angry at the thought of giving the animal to CERCOPAN unless we planned to compensate him for his loss of money. CERCOPAN never gives money for a monkey as it encourages the idea that it is a profitable market and may result in people taking more monkeys to deliberately try to sell them to the organisation.  Tension began rising and the bystanders started shouting a CERCOPAN staff, exclaiming that if Claire had not been there they would have ‘beaten’ them. Eventually, Claire and the staff managed to calm the crowd and it was agreed that we would go together to visit the dealer who sold the man the monkey earlier that day.


Baby red ear being comforted by Claire

Some of the more vocal members of the crowd from the bar piled into one vehicle while our staff climbed back into the vehicle they had commandeered, with the driver now clearly wondering how he had managed to get himself into this situation. After a few minutes they arrived at the dealers compound and tense negotiations once again began in earnest. Once the dealer handed over the money he had received that morning the bar owner and his friends left, however, this compound itself had it’s own lively and not too gracious pack who were not happy about the idea of an uncompensated removal of this red-ear monkey.  Claire, practiced at these types of negotiations, remained composed and friendly despite being yelled at by the crowd. She eventually managed to separate and calm some of the most vocal individuals, whilst the staff continued to concentrate on the dealer. After three hours of explaining to all that keeping monkeys as pets in Nigeria is against the law and how a monkey does not make a good pet, the dealer finally took Claire to one side and asked her to send someone back for the animal an hour later when the crowd had dispersed.

It turned out the dealer had been very fond of this little red-ear monkey and had actually treated him very well in comparison to many other cases we have seen.  We feel very lucky to have rescued him at that time as the conditions he was found in at the bar would have made him very sick very quickly.  He is especially friendly and seems to have been trained to lie back very baby-like, enjoying nothing more than a good belly rub.  He loves to take huge leaps between furniture and especially loves jumping on a human from a great distance then leaping straight back off again.  This playful, inquisitive nature has also resulted in many books, cups, pens, and anything else available being carried across the room – not too carefully I may add! Now in quarantine, he has undergone his first TB test and after 14 weeks will be moved in with 2 other red-ear guenons (Mickey and Jerry) that are of a similar age.


The new baby red ear having his belly rubbed

The two new additions bring us to a grand total of 158 monkeys now in our care, and with prices increasing for Christmas and the transport issues also adding additional costs, we are once again feeling the strain. Your donations and support really are so important and enable us to continue to provide the best possible care for every single monkey that needs our help. You can also give your support by purchasing a CERCOPAN gift or monkey adoption for your friends and family this Christmas.  Please visit our shop today at


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