Director Colin Pringle Attends Annual PASA Manager’s Workshop

Colin speaking at Managers workshopAs my first official engagement as the new Director of CERCOPAN, I attended the annual PASA Manager’s Workshop, this year at ChesterUK, courtesy of Chester Zoo. It was a baptism of fire in many ways!

PASA – the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance was co-founded by CERCOPAN, and is responsible for maintaining the highest standards of care and rehabilitation for the huge number of primates saved  by the members of the Alliance from the pet trade or bushmeat hunting. So the Managers represent their Sanctuaries from across Africa, and come together to share experiences and to ensure policies and practices are doing the job of helping the Monkeys & Apes in the 22 organisations.

From Nigeria in the West to Kenya in the East, and all places in between, the managers took time out of their packed schedules to gather together. Firstly the three day meeting was simply hard work. We met promptly at 8am, and never finished before 11pm due to urgent discussion groups that dealt with issues that came up. Breaks were only to get a cup of coffee to bring back to the table, and discussion continued throughout lunch and dinner.

My first impression on meeting everyone was how friendly they were – and I was welcomed into the PASA family with enthusiasm. My second impression was how noisy they were! Everyone was talking, contributing, and with ideas and opinions to share with the group. Very quickly it becomes obvious that these are dedicated people, with the strong personalities necessary to build and shape a primate sanctuary in sometimes difficult circumstances. I felt very privileged to join them, and learnt a huge amount.

The business of the workshop focussed on how PASA can be organised to support the member sanctuaries in their work, with updates on improving veterinary work and on the educational outreach essential to our mission. A massive amount was covered, for example our concerns about people posting pictures on Facebook and ensuring that these are not misunderstood relative to handling primates, in recognition that they are wild animals and not pets. We explored how to improve law enforcement to stop mokeys and apes being taken from the wild in the first place. A whole range of policies were agreed on, and a new structure to ensure that PASA provides maximum support to us all in our essential work.

So, tired but very fulfilled, I am proud to have represented CERCOPAN in this impressive gathering, particularly in promoting the welfare and care of monkeys, who sometimes get overlooked within the overall process. I look forward to working with the Managers and PASA organisation in the future, and building CERCOPAN within it’s mission


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