More than just a convenience

Nicolien Schoneveld : February 5, 2013 6:35 am : CERCONEWS

Agoi Ibami public toilets

Agoi Ibami Community Based Organisation (CBO) has just completed the construction of three public toilets, using funds awarded by the CERCOPAN small grants programme. According to UNICEF “lack of toilets is the cause of an estimated 2 million preventable deaths a year, mostly in children killed by a variety of dysentery-like intestinal ailments”. Human excreta is linked to the transmission of a number of infectious diseases including typhoid and cholera, and poses a serious health risk to the 10,000 people living in Agoi community where open defecation is the norm. This project follows a similar toilet construction project successfully completed by neighbouring Owai CBO in September 2012 under the same scheme.

The construction of three toilets in each of the communities is clearly not sufficient to solve a problem of this magnitude, but it’s a start. Both CBO’s are very proud of their achievements and hope their success will inspire other community groups to raise funds and follow suit. As the small grants programme was also set up as a training exercise to build the capacity of the CBO’s to conduct a needs assessment, formulate a proposal, manage a budget, submit a final report and produce an expense account, they have now also acquired the skills needed to apply to external donors and capture funds to expand this project. We are very thankful to IUCN France for funding the larger scale project that made both the training and grants possible.

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Cementing our relationship

Nicolien Schoneveld : February 5, 2013 6:33 am : CERCONEWS


We would like to say a big thank you to UNICEM Nigeria for their generous donation of 50 bags of cement for our primate rehabilitation and community conservation programmes. As an organisation based in a harsh tropical environment, whose infrastructure includes 2 offices, 2 education centres, a 1.5km nature trail, 30 m high tree platform, and accommodation for volunteers, local staff, tourists and 173 monkeys – we certainly use a lot of cement! Furthermore, we also provide considerable construction assistance to our our three partner communities, setting up alternative livelihoods projects, providing expertise and materials for development projects and undertaking large scale projects such as the community centre we constructed for Iko Esai in 2011.

This is not the first time UNICEM have shown their support for our work, contributing both funds and building materials in the past. The cement from this donation will be used to undertake extensive urgent repairs on our primate enclosures in Calabar and Rhoko, to construct an abattoir in Agoi Ibami, and complete the renovation of Iko Esai’s abattoir. The abattoirs will provide a steady domestic meat supply, reducing pressures on wild animals in the forest while providing a source of protein and income for vulnerable community members.

In-kind donations such as this are extremely important to CERCOPAN and ensure that we are able to stretch our limited funds as far as possible. If you or your organisation are considering making an in-kind donation to CERCOPAN, please contact us on info@cercopan.org



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Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Nicolien Schoneveld : February 5, 2013 6:19 am : CERCONEWS

Kim NouwenThis month, we welcomed Kim Nouwen, who replaces former volunteer Laetitia Coret as Calabar Sanctuary Manager. Kim  has a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Husbandry and a Masters Degree in Animal Sciences from Wageningen University. She completed an internship at Monkey World and conducted research on the vocalisations of wild orangutans in Borneo, Indonesia. Kim’s main responsibilities will include the staff management in CERCOPAN’s rehabilitation centre in Calabar; maximising the welfare of our captive primates; and the financial administration of our programmes. We are excited to welcome Kim to our team, and look forward to working with her!

Sadly, it was also time to say Goodbye to Chris Hamley our Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) coordinator after he completed his one year long term volunteer contract . Chris has worked closely with our patrol rangers to improve their skills, contributed significantly to the Non Timber Forest Product database, and helped both Owai and Agoi Ibami to create land use management plans. We would like to thank Chris for all of his hard work and effort and wish the very best with his future adventures!

Would you like to volunteer with us? We currently have long-term vacancies available and would love to hear from you.


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CERCOPAN hosts New York researchers

Nicolien Schoneveld : February 5, 2013 5:55 am : CERCONEWS

Putty nosed guenon

CERCOPAN recently hosted Professor James Higham and post-doctoral researcher William Allen from New York University, who are compiling a database of the facial patterns of different guenon species as part of a study of guenon facial pattern evolution. With more than 80 guenons in our care, including the only group of Sclater’s guenons and only adult male Preuss’s guenon in captivity in the world, CERCOPAN proved the perfect place for them to start.

It only took William a few days to gather all of the pictures he needed in, as our mischievous monkeys like nothing better than an opportunity to show off! Even Balagete, our precious but slightly ill-mannered Preuss’ guenon who generally prefers to display the opposite end to his adoring public thankfully decided to flaunt his face on this occasion. James and William then headed to Rhoko forest to photographs of the Mona Monkeys and Red-Capped Mangabeys housed at our forest site.

We would like to thank James and William for including our monkeys in this study and look forward to hearing the results of their research. If you are a researcher and would be interested in conducting research at CERCOPAN further information is available here.


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The results are in…

Nicolien Schoneveld : February 5, 2013 5:22 am : CERCONEWS

CERCOPAN Environmental education programmeIn 2012, CERCOPAN set out to completely re-design the primate conservation education programme. Thanks to a grant from the Captain Planet Foundation, our Education Officer Abakum was able to carry out a pilot of the new curriculum to  measure its impacts and make final adjustments before full implementation. The results were even better than expected, showing that our programme makes a  considerable difference to children’s attitudes towards primates.

A total of 426 students participated in the pilot, filling out pre- and post-education questionnaires. Before the education sessions, 81 students (19%) said they liked to eat monkey meat, and 250 students (59%) stated they would like to have a pet monkey. After the education sessions, these numbers had fallen to 15 (4%) and 42, (10%) respectively.

Analysis of the correct post-education answers to individual questions revealed that students found some concepts difficult to grasp. To ensure universal comprehension, we added additional examples and reworded questions wherever there was any confusion. We hope that this will further maximise the impact of the presented materials.

In 2013, the fine-tuned version of the programme will be rolled out in Cross River State. Our education team, will teach 2,000 school children in Calabar, Iko Esai, Agoi Ibami and Owai the importance of primate and rainforest conservation. We will continue to analyse the impact of our programme through questionnaires and group interviews to ensure that we use the most effective means possible to get the message across.



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REDDY soon?

Nicolien Schoneveld : February 5, 2013 5:18 am : CERCONEWS

UN REDD This month a 3-day workshop was held on Participatory Governance Assessment (PGA) in  REDD+. The workshop, organised by the UN-REDD team and the Cross River State Forestry Commission, was attended by representatives from the communities in the three Cross River pilot areas, as well as NGO representatives. The workshop highlighted issues in PGA at the community level, and sought suggestions from the communities themselves on ways to overcome them. Engagement of communities in the REDD+ activities from the beginning is vital for the success of the project.

We were pleased to see representatives from our partner communities at the workshop. The representative from Iko Esai gave a presentation, during which he mentioned the involvement and support from CERCOPAN in REDD preparatory activities. With REDD+ now moving into the next stage, we are becoming increasingly hopeful that in the near future our community conservation partners will begin to reap the benefits they deserve for leaving their forests intact.




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Thank you, Prince Bernhard Nature Fund!

Nicolien Schoneveld : February 5, 2013 5:16 am : CERCONEWS

PBNF logoWe are delighted to report that the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund (PBNF) has once again chosen to support CERCOPAN’s important work in Nigeria. In 2011, a grant from PBNF enabled the organisation to buy a new Hilux 4-Wheel Drive truck to facilitate our intense conservation operations at Rhoko. The new grant, will again contribute towards our long-term, large-scale Rhoko conservation programme, providing the resources we need to ensure forest protection  in readiness, and as a catalyst, for REDD+ . This multi-donor project includes a range of activities including forest patrol, alternative livelihoods projects, environmental education, capacity building of local Community Based Organisations (CBO’s), tree planting of degraded areas and strengthening of community conservation rules.

Thank you PBNF, we greatly appreciate your continued support.


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New look CERCOPAN website, enewsletter and adoption programme!

cercopanorg : January 25, 2013 5:12 am : CERCONEWS

New CERCOPAN website www.cercopan.org

CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research and Conservation of Primates and Nature) has just relaunched our website at www.cercopan.org . In addition to the sites entirely different look and feel, we have incorporated a whole range of new features, including our completely re-designed monkey adoption programme, online ecotourism booking facilities, monthly enewsletter sign up, and in-site blog. The new site will be updated regularly with all of the latest breaking news from Nigeria and has been designed to be  highly interactive with a range of social sharing facilities and opportunities for everyone to get involved.

We hope that the redesign will help us to increase general awareness of the importance and plight of Nigeria’s amazing biodiversity and will enable us to enlist further help and support in our urgent mission to save it.  Please help us spread the word by sharing the link to our site with all of your friends.

We hope you enjoy the new site and would love to hear from you at webmaster@cercopan.org if you have any comments or suggestions!

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