Monkeys in failing Nigerian sanctuary to find new homes or be released to wild

 CERCOPAN has provided safe haven and rehabilitation for monkeys.

“Pyow! Pyow! Hack, hack, hack!”

That’s the call of the Putty-Nosed Guenon, a West African monkey.

Loosely translated, it means “Let’s get out of here!”

An exit from their current surroundings is just what a group of primates are waiting for in the forests of Nigeria near the border with Cameroon. 

These monkeys currently live in a sanctuary that provides care and rehabilitation for orphaned or seized monkeys called The Center for Education, Research and Conservation of Primates and Nature (CERCOPAN).

Unfortunately, in 2014 a primary donor stopped providing the sanctuary with much needed funding. As resources dwindled, their ability to care for the monkeys and to do planned releases into the wild began to vanish.

Robotta and more than 300 other monkeys have been saved and nurtured by CERCOPAN.By early 2015 the trustees of CERCOPAN had exhausted their personal financial resources keeping the facility running. They found themselves with almost 150 monkeys, including Putty-Nosed Guenons, Red-Capped Mangabeys and Monas, they could no longer afford to care for.

Several NGOs reached out for help on their behalf, and an international task force was created.  It is composed of experts from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Wild Futures, Lilongwe Wildlife Center and others.

The task force quickly sent a specialist to Nigeria to assess the situation, and together we devised a plan to responsibly release as many animals as possible to the wild.

CERCOPAN is working with other organizations in the region to find permanent homes for the monkeys that can’t be released because they aren’t native to the area, lack the skills to survive or have illnesses which would put wild populations at risk.

In the meantime, IFAW continues to work hand in hand with the task force and sanctuary to see that all of the monkeys are well cared for while they await transfer to new homes or reintegration into the wild.

--MW

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