CERCOPAN HQ Receives Important Nigerian Guests
Last 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.