Meet New Ambassador – Hannah Van De Loo

cercopanorg : February 4, 2014 8:58 pm : CERCONEWS

CERCOPAN Ambassador HannahThis month we were delighted to accept a new ambassador to our growing team. Here’s a short introduction from Hannah:

My name’s Hannah Van De Loo and I’m a Primate Keeper at Twycross Zoo in the UK. I have been working with Primates for nearly 3 years and have loved every minute of it. My passion for Primates started visiting zoos when I was younger and grew from there. I began my zoo career as a Trainee keeper at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in the UK. It was great to learn basic knowledge about Primates and gain a better understanding of these amazing mammals. I then decided to do some work experience at a few zoos, including Twycross, to gain more knowledge.

My original Primate Keeper role for Twycross Zoo was to cover for someone on Maternity leave, but after a few months I was lucky enough to get the job permanently. I have now been working for the Zoo for over a year and I absolutely love it! I have been given some great opportunities, including taking charge of enrichment rotas for the section and training various species of primates including guenons. I am also on the committee for the 2nd International Animal Training Conference being held at the Zoo. Of course one of the most exciting opportunities was becoming a Primate Keeper at the world primate centre, it’s a great privilege and I am very grateful.

I am thoroughly looking forward to assisting CERCOPAN with fundraising, helping sell merchandise and maybe even designing some! I would also love to run quiz nights and I am hoping to go out and visit the charity in Nigeria and see the Primates that I am helping. I think that CERCOPAN is doing a great job in conserving threatened primates and I cant wait to help them make a difference.

Thank you :)


If you would like to get involved and become an ambassador, please contact us at info@cercopan.org for more information.



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Monkey Puzzles

Greg Dickens : February 4, 2014 8:40 pm : CERCONEWS

Monkey puzzle enrichment CERCOPANSomeone once said that a person’s universe divides into halves: The bright and noisy half in front of the eyes in which are things like food and shelter and the world, and the darkness behind the eyes in which dwell such things as love, fear, interest and boredom. As an animal’s intelligence increases, so does its capacity for boredom. Boredom and unanswered frustration decrease animal welfare and can lead to depression, which increases illness and can lead to death. For highly intelligent animals such as primates, it is just as important that psychological needs are met, as it is that base body needs such as food and shelter are satisfied. Luckily, monkeys are curious creatures and find interest in many things, not least in each other. For this reason, keeping the CERCOPAN monkeys in groups enables social interaction and they themselves become “habitat enrichment” for each other. However, this only partly meets the psychological (and physiological) need for interesting things.

To further satisfy the primates need for mental stimulation, I have been very busy designing puzzles for them. Many zoos and sanctuaries have taken to providing their monkeys and apes with toughened touch-screen computers and the like. Obviously, such devices would last about 19 seconds in the high dust/humidity environment of tropical Nigeria. In their stead I have used defunct office equipment to construct the first generation of puzzle feeders to confuse and interest the monkeys here. Although they provide less variability than an IPad, they do offer the incentive of food, which always increases interest! The first feeders have been in place a few days now and the second generation began testing yesterday. I am currently collecting ideas for the third. Hopefully, if I can balance easy use by keepers and low-maintenance with a level of complexity that will interest (but not enrage) the intended monkeys, these will provide a benefit long after my time at CERCOPAN has come to an end.

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A Big Thank you to Phoenix Zoo!

Colin Pringle : February 4, 2014 7:47 pm : CERCONEWS

Phoenix Zoo LogoWe are delighted to announce we have received a Phoenix Zoo Conservation & Science Grant that will help us in the next stage of our Reintroduction of threatened Mona Guenon into our Rhoko Rainforest Protected Area.

With Phoenix Zoo support we shall enhance the three semi-wild enclosures we have in the rainforest, containing separate groups of Mona Guenon. The enclosures are spaced out to suitable territory sizes for the troops on release, and to prevent them becoming too used to humans and so encourage them to rely on wild food & integrate into the jungle.

We are delighted to announce we have received a Phoenix Zoo Conservation & Science Grant that will help us in the next stage of our Reintroduction of threatened Mona Guenon into our Rhoko Rainforest Protected Area. With Phoenix Zoo support we shall enhance the three semi-wild enclosures we have in the rainforest, containing separate groups of Mona Guenon. The enclosures are spaced out to suitable territory sizes for the troops on release, and to prevent them becoming too used to humans and so encourage them to rely on wild food & integrate into the jungle.

We shall provide enrichment to increase natural behaviours and to prevent dependence on humans. So we and others can learn from what we do, behavioural observations will be made.

As Phoenix Zoo state:

‘Priority is given to proposals that demonstrate a measurable, common-sense approach to conservation and science issues, appropriate research methodologies, effective knowledge sharing and capacity building strategies, ex situ support of in situ conservation, and active involvement of local communities’

Our project meets all of these criteria, and we are very happy to begin this first collaboration with Phoenix Zoo, eventually leading to the reintroduction of this remarkable primate made locally extinct by high hunting pressure & deforestation. That CERCOPAN has worked with our community partners to create the conditions for a successful release is a real achievement that we are proud of.

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Hunting…for parasites!

Greg Dickens : February 4, 2014 11:32 am : CERCONEWS

Searching for parasites under the microscopeOne of the first things I wanted to do on arrival at CERCOPAN, was to survey the numbers and types of parasites being carried by the monkeys. This allows the formation of a baseline, so that we can compare the results before and after any future changes, such as improvements in food or enclosure hygiene. It was also good “shake-down” test for the newly updated veterinary laboratory.

Over the course of three days, faecal samples were taken from every enclosure and tested in two ways: Firstly, direct microscopy, which is exactly as it sounds, and is the best way to find moving things like ciliated micro-organisms; Secondly, egg flotation. This combines the sample with a sugar or salt solution, that is precisely tailored to make worm eggs float, while allowing pretty much everything else to sink. It has the advantage of concentrating any eggs in the sample to make them easier to find, but the disadvantage of being a tricky mixture to perfect. Luckily, the CERCOPAN vet nurse, Isabelle, is well skilled in this area and had a perfect flotation solution prepared in minutes. Shortly after, we had our first egg finds and began identifying species of worms and other parasites.

It is important to check each primate group more than once for parasites, due to sporadic egg shedding. Having now checked every enclosure twice, we are aware of the parasite load in the population and have identified the groups that require immediate treatment, and those that just require a close eye in the future.

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CERCOPAN HQ Receives Important Nigerian Guests

Amy Baxter : February 4, 2014 9:31 am : CERCONEWS

Akwa Ibom officials visit CERCOPANLast week we received some very distinguished guests at our Calabar sanctuary: a party of officials from Akwa Ibom and the cities of Lagos and Abuja. The party were visiting the Cross River State Governor, His Excellency Senator Liyel Imoke, for a weekend-long series of meetings. While the Governor was busy with preparations and his other duties, the party of 50+ people were observing the monkeys in our care and learning all about the biodiversity in Nigeria. Several of them had been hoping to visit ever since seeing one of our many appearances on TV.

Our Education Assistant, Martina, was rushed off her feet as one bus load arrived to be given the tour, swiftly followed by two more! The rest of the staff filed in to help organise groups and spoke individually to those who wandered away from the crowd to ask questions. Although the group were on a tight schedule they observed all of the 6 species we rehabilitate and received a comprehensive talk on why monkeys should be in the forest rather than kept as pets or eaten as bushmeat.

Many of the visitors were particularly taken with our Sclater’s guenons, which are found in Akwa Ibom state and are completely unique to Nigeria. CERCOPAN  has the only group in captivity in the world. The visitors from Akwa Ibom, were surprised to discover that they were the only people on the planet to live alongside this amazing species. As always Balagete, our captive Pruess’s guenon, was also a firm favourite and the visitors were amazed by the human-like characteristics and behaviours displayed by our red-capped mangabeys. We hope all members of the group will go back to their corresponding homes and spread our conservation message.

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Annual Thanks

cercopanorg : January 11, 2014 7:58 pm : CERCONEWS

Pippi Longstocking

  • At the start of the new year, we would like to give a massive thank-you to all of our supporters from the past year. Without the help from both individuals and grant funders CERCOPAN could not have achieved everything that it has to date – eliminating the awful suffering of monkeys in captive conditions due to the pet trade, and helping prevent the destruction of entire blocks of important biodiverse rainforest within Cross River State. Often throughout the year we bring you news of our grant-based activities and a big thank you to the funders that provided them, but we want to take this opportunity to thank all the individual supporters who gave one-off or regular donations throughout the year to help us continue on our mission. Thank you:

•  Heather MacIntosh
•  Jane Sibley
•  Joe Guise
•  L K McDermid
•  Diane Steel
•  Chelonia Limited
•  Jennifer Seale
•  Patrick Webb
•  Lina Fransson
•  Nicholas B
•  Atlas Locums Ltd
•  Chris Wright
•  Tunde Morakinyo
•  Kristian N
•  And many anonymous donors!

School visit Calabar

If you would like to help CERCOPAN by donating in 2014 you can do it through several avenues. One-off and subscription payments can be made through our website at www.cercopan.org. To use Gift Aid in the UK our supporters can donate via http://www.everyclick.com/cercopan/info (click on the blue button that says ‘Give Now’). Our US friends can make tax deductible donations via our US partner National Wildlife Humane Society (NWHS) here http://www.humanewildlife.org/cercopan.html, and do please make sure you check out all the good work that NWHS are doing while you are surfing their site!

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Support that Counts

cercopanorg : January 11, 2014 7:50 pm : CERCONEWS

Forest Patrol (CH) Rufford

This month saw the completion of two key 2013 grants that we received. They have contributed hugely to our success in protecting the endangered Nigerian rainforest that remains, and in our discovering more about the wildlife living within it! Prins Bernhard Natuurfonds, and Rufford Small Grants (along with additional grant funds throughout 2013) enabled 24/7 forest patrols of CERCOPAN’s core area and weekly 4-day patrols into extended community forest areas to prevent and police illegal activity. And in addition to guarding the area, our patrols take data on species distribution and activity. This work builds up a picture of wildlife ranges and population estimates. With the data gathered CERCOPAN was able to produce the first primate distribution map for the area, and this now allows us to coordinate our patrols to best protect these home ranges.

Furthermore, engagement and capacity building within local communities has enabled the villages themselves to protect and manage their resources in a more sustainable way. Activities supported in 2013 included the production of community Land Use Management Plans (LUMPs) facilitated by CERCOPAN. These LUMPs provide the baseline for the communities to monitor and manage their use of the land and forests.

CERCOPAN’s long-term phenology study is an on-going research project that was also supported by these grants. The study monitors the fruiting and flowering of a range of flora within CERCOPAN’s Core Area. This data is important for understanding the lifecycles of many relatively understudied flora species and how these might in turn affect the wildlife that is reliant upon them for food. Results already indicate that certain species do not fruit and flower every year, while individual trees within a species may be on a different fruiting cycle to each other. By studying these patterns we are gaining knowledge about food availability in the forest and forming ideas about the number of primates an area can support. Knowing times of high food availability will also help us decide on the best time of year to reintroduce our prepared primate release groups into the forest when they will learn how to forage for themselves.

Rufford Primate Distribution Map Jpeg sharpened

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Thank you Columbus Zoo and IPPL

cercopanorg : January 11, 2014 4:44 am : CERCONEWS

IPPL and Columbus logosWe are delighted to announce that we have received grants from both Columbus Zoo and the International Primate Protection League (IPPL)  to support the care and rehabilitation of the  nearly 200 rescued monkeys housed in our sanctuary in Calabar and our Rhoko rainforest Research station. It is surprisingly difficult to raise funds to provide the nutritious and varied diet our animals need; and to maintain veterinary support and facilities. IPPL and Columbus Zoo not only help to fund these vital aspects of our work, but are also two of our longest-term supporters. We cannot thank them enough for their help over the years. Their support could not have arrived at a better time given that in January we will be joined by volunteers Isabelle  Theyse, a highly experienced veterinary nurse, and Greg Dickens, a practising veterinarian. We have already used some of the Columbus funds to purchase urgently needed drugs and equipment from the UK that will arrive with Greg next week. We will keep you updated on Isabelle and Greg’s work at CERCOPAN in future editions of CERCONEWS.

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Iko Esai Headteacher Publishes Book on Ecotourism

cercopanorg : January 11, 2014 3:09 am : CERCONEWS

Mr Hanns with Amy and Colin at book launchDecember saw the launch of a book on Ecotourism by Iko Esai Secondary School Headteacher Mr Hanns. The book, aimed at secondary school level students outlines how communities can benefit from Ecotourism, whilst protecting their wildlife and natural resources for future generations. It includes a number of case studies, including CERCOPAN’s project in Rhoko, and investigates the future potential for tourism growth in the state. Mr Hanns hopes it will help students look beyond the short-term gains that can be accrued from forest exploitation and embrace the principles of conservation for a greater gain in the long-term.

The event attracted a large crowd, with several CERCOPAN staff and many Iko Esai community members present. Our Director, Colin Pringle, and Trustee, Amy Baxter, were seated at the ‘high table’ with distinguished guests. We felt very honoured to be asked to attend the event and celebrate Mr Hanns and would once again like to congratulate him on the publication of his first book.

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Cross River State holds first ‘Green Ball’

cercopanorg : January 11, 2014 2:32 am : CERCONEWS

Colin TV appearence green ballEach year, Calabar is the centre of Christmas in Africa – with a month of daily events including the continent’s largest street carnival. As part of the State’s growing environmental commitment, this year a ‘Green’ Ball was added to the busy line-up. It is hoped that the ball will become an annual, environmental event, to raise awareness about conservation and draw attention to the regions unique biodiversity.

CERCOPAN was delighted to be invited to take part in the event, which was attended by many distinguished guests including His Excellency Senator Liyel Imoke (CRS Governor). In addition to speeches from Environmental organisations and political figures, there were a wide variety of performances from Rwandan Drummers, Nigerian pop stars, and a range of other singing and dancing acts.

CERCOPAN Director Colin Pringle had the opportunity to speak on national television about the importance of Nigeria’s rainforest habitats. In addition, our staff manned an informative display in the foyer, where we had a constant stream of visitors. The event proved to be the perfect platform not only to extend our message beyond the State’s borders, but also to directly engage influential residents and excite them about conservation. The ball was a big hit with everyone and it has already been decided that next year’s Christmas celebrations will have an even stronger ‘green influence’. We hope to join the Green Ball Steering Committee to help the government as much as possible to make the next event an even greater success.

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