A Note from the Country Coordinator
The October-December quarter has been a busy one.
I am pleased to announce that WAPCA will be the Primate Society of Great Britain’s Conservation Cause of 2017, we have guaranteed support from Tulsa Zoo again and received a generous donation from the Friends of Paradise Wildlife Park. As well as this, WAPCA has secured funds from the profits of the ZSL Roar with Laughter Comedy Night, which took place in November.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to welcome a new member – Africa Alive, and thank them for their support
For next year we have a long list of grant proposals to write and we are hopeful that with more support WAPCA can extend its impact in the field while constantly improving the Endangered Primate Breeding Centre facilities. Please visit our website if you would like to donate, or if you are in Accra look out for our money boxes at Robi's Bar, Wild Gecko, Colours in Africa, a yoga studio in Dzorwulu and Suntrade Beads.
Also this quarter I am pleased to inform you that the development of the forested enclosure for a group of our white-naped mangabeys is underway in Kumasi Zoo. Work has begun on measuring and marking the perimeter, gathering the supplies and sourcing a workforce. Construction will begin at the end of December with completion due one month later. The new enclosure will be a 0.4ha area, allowing the primates to exude their natural behaviours in a large forested environment. We are very excited for the enclosure to be ready and have started training the group of white-naped mangabeys to get them ready for transport. I'd like to express my sincere thanks to Elizabeth Loudon and Guy Gater who have donated their construction expertise and time to make this project happen.
Further construction will be seen at Accra Zoo, at the Endangered Primate Breeding Centre. With kind donations from Landau Zoo and Africa Alive we will refurbish the existing enclosures which will include enlarging one both in ground area and in height. This is in anticipation of two females joining us from Europe, more on this in 2017....
WAPCA has also begun the Against Primates As Pets Campaign, which aims to ensure that people are legally holding primates, are aware of the laws and regulations associated with keeping pet primates and hold the animals under acceptable animal husbandry conditions. Furthermore, we hope to understand more about the motivation behind holding and selling primates throughout Ghana so that we can tackle the root causes of the primate pet trade. WAPCA will work closely with the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana to expand coverage of the campaign across the country.
Other than keeping busy with the above projects, WAPCA was also present at a few events, most notably the West African Rufford Small Grants Conference in Accra. It is always good to spread the word about WAPCA and hopefully gain some more support.
Lastly the end of the year sees us say farewell to our intern Lisa Kopisker. I would like to take the opportunity to thank her for all her hard work and dedication and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.
So overall a busy few months but we not complaining and hope that WAPCA’s good work only continues to grow and foster.
Bye for now,
An Update on our Local Supporters
Another quarter has gone by with the support from many local companies. Here is an update of who has supported WAPCA so generously:
K.K Peprah has donated five wheelbarrows to the zoo. The Accra Zoo only had two wheelbarrows for the entire array of animals housed there, so we thought it was time to add to the wheelbarrow collection and find a sponsor. K.K Peprah was quick to respond and very willing to support the local zoo in any way possible. Amazing
Coral Paints donated an 18l pot of green paint to refurbish the primate enclosures. The Coral Paints contact was surprised Accra still had a zoo and immediately jumped at the opportunity to support it. The 18l pot was much larger than we could have hoped for and many enclosure walls will get a re-paint in the next few weeks with this quality paint.
Brand Synergy has been helping WAPCA with all our printing needs since August. Without question Brand Synergy has completed printing requests for the next day and all for free! WAPCA has Emmanuel and his team to thank for the 100 copies of the new flyer that can now be distributed.
Village Pets and Gardens has been an ongoing supporter of WAPCA and has continuously donated enrichment feed for the primates. The multitude of seeds they supply is a vital part to our training and we are so grateful to have such a reliable supplier!
Another notalbe supporter is Wild Gecko Handicrafts who has supported us in making our brass mangabeys which are on sale at Wild Gecko. A percentage of each sale will go to WAPCA!
Members and International Support
WAPCA is constantly working on writing grant proposals. This quarter we have received great news from the Primate Society of Great Britain who have made WAPCA their Conservation Cause of 2017! Of course, WAPCA is also receiving support from its members and international supporters. A big thank you to all organisations that make the work WAPCA does possible!
Forested Enclosure in Kumasi
Finally, after relocating the plans for the forested enclosure to Kumasi Zoo, construction has begun. Originally the large forested area was planned for the Achimota Forest in Accra, however with the uncertainty linked to the Accra Ecopark being built there soon, it was decided that Kumasi Zoo would be a more suitable option. The site is located within the Kumasi Zoo grounds on a large forested area in which the monkeys inhabiting the enclosure will have the freedom to live in a more wild environment and exude their natural behaviours. The perimeter has been measured out, the first prototype teak poles have been placed and a workforce assembled. Hopefully construction will finish at the end of January and then the new inhabitants can move in. The group of white-naped mangabeys composed of Nuba, Sonya, Togbi, Yao and Afu-marie will be transferred to Kumasi from Accra as soon as possible to start exploring their new home. What exciting times!
As well as the construction on the forested enclosure, Kumasi Zoo is being supported by Elizabeth Loudon and Guy Gater, who will help to design and construct a new baboon enclosure for the three females at the Kumasi zoo, a new chimpanzee enclosure and will further improve the current enclosures. 2017 will definitely be a year of positive change in Kumasi and we so look forward to seeing the animals in their new or updated homes.
An Update from the Field
During October, the monitoring teams patrolled the forests of Edu Suazo, Takinta, Atwebanso and Anwiafutu. The patrols are conducted if there is a tip-off of any illegal activity such as illegal lumbering, hunting or charcoal production. During the patrols, members are brought together from alternative communities, which becomes necessary because it is sometimes not appropriate to involve monitoring team members from the focal community for their own safety. During the month of October, only one chainsaw machine was confiscated at Edu. A total number of 200 lumbers were confiscated and handed over to the respective communities.
A lot of work has been done in the community tree plantations. The monitoring team and some community members were organized to weed around the trees, weed the lines and replace dead trees with new seedlings. These activities were carried out in Takinta and Nawule. It was agreed that the weeding should be done on a monthly routine. Some communities have made more lands available for more trees to be planted so the tree nurseries are being expanded.
Trans-border monitoring has occurred three times on the Tano River. The monitoring was conducted by the Ghanaian team who to the various points where lumber is bought from Ivory Coast. These points included Ellenda Warf, Kabblasuazo Warf and Edu Warf and Atsimanu. During the patrols, 100 boards were confiscated, however no chain saws were confiscated. The boards were ultimately donated to the community.
An Update from the Centre
We are so happy to announce that two of our White-naped mangabeys, Sonja and Efia Marie, are pregnant! By the end of the year and beginning of 2017 we will hopefully have two new-born mangabeys.
This year has been filled with great moments at the centre thanks to several visits/volunteers from all over the world. We enjoyed a training workshop, veterinary nursing advice, and a lot of helping hands to improve the welfare of our lovely primates. In one of those visits we learned how to do rope splicing with the help of two volunteers from ZSL and we were able to give a lot of new rope enrichment to our primates as well as feeding platforms.
Nuba’s family will soon have a new semi-free enclosure in Kumasi Zoo! Thus, they are getting trained to be able to travel. The alfa male, Nuba, is responding very well to hand injection training and the others are already familiar with the box in which they will travel to Kumasi.
We have also been training the patas families to take medication from a syringe. They have been a bit sick lately but we are doing our best to investigate the cause with our veterinary team, and hopefully they will improve soon. It is a bit of a worry for us, but does not stop them from enjoying enrichment using Bel Aqua bottles filled with treats.
Due to lack of proper storage facilities and rats, some of our food at Accra Zoo goes to waste. Therefore, we undertook an investigation of our primates’ diet. The food given and taken out of the primate enclosures was weighed and we discovered the amounts consumed during a week. This gave us a precise idea on the amount of each food type that they got. The results obtained will help us reduce waste and adjust the quantity of food given to them daily to improve their diet.
Thanks to all the small efforts brought together to make the EPBC great and better! We will continue to do our best to keep it up!
The EPBC team!
Monkey Fists and Ladders
From the 10th-17th October Hannah and Miranda from the Zoological Society London (ZSL) visited the Accra Zoo and worked with zoo keepers to explore the new world of rope splicing. Using hundreds of meters of rope they showed their expertise in creating complex creations like monkey fists and ladders, which have been erected in enclosures for the monkeys to explore.
Not only rope splicing was on the agenda. Hannah and Miranda were also involved in training and enrichment activities, lending a helping hand, adding suggestions to make training more effective and donating many useful materials like clickers, targets and animal training pouches...hard things to come by in Ghana.
It was a pleasure to have the ZSL keepers in Ghana and their help is much appreciated by primates and staff alike!
WAPCA is grateful to have visitors from around the world coming to support the work we do. By training the zoo keepers, donating materials and sharing expertise WAPCA and the Accra Zoo can improve continuously.
WAPCA's Money Box Mission
WAPCA is distributing money boxes made by students of the Holmer Secondary School (UK) throughout organisations in Ghana, UK and Germany. Landau Zoo and Heidelberg Zoo have already provided homes for two of the boxes and now we are searching throughout Accra for businesses that could display them at their counters. Sadly it has been more of a mission than expected to distribute these lovely money boxes and only three have been dispersed.
Thank you to the businesses that have opened their doors to help WAPCA fundraise! The current locations are: Wild Gecko Handicrafts, Suntrade Beads and a yoga studio in Dzorwulu. Hopefully more locations will be added to the list soon!
International Zoo Keeper Day: Red-Red and Spot-noses
October 4th was International Zoo Keeper Day! WAPCA made sure to honour the keepers working hard at the Accra Zoo on this special day by having a small party with Ghanaian Red-Red stew. It is important to remind the zoo keepers of the importance of their work, especially in a country like Ghana where the keepers are not as celebrated as in other European countries. By commemorating International Zoo Keeper Day we have reminded our keepers of their imperative role in the lives of the zoo animals.
As we sat under the Achimota Forest tree canopy, wild spot-nosed monkeys roamed around above our heads, leaping from branch to branch making the evening extraordinary and overall a day to remember. Hopefully keepers across the globe felt celebrated and inspired to continue making a difference in the lives of so many zoo animals.
International Zoo Keeper Day was also the ideal opportunity for WAPCA to gather WAPCA and zoo staff together and establish a united team to ensure further work at the zoo would be effective. Making the various staff members feel appreciated has already led to open communication and the vocalisation of ideas to make the zoo a better place for animals and staff! Just keep working...
WAPCA and its Role in the African Primatology Society
WAPCA's Country Coordinator Andrea Dempsey has been placed on the African Primatology Society (APS) steering committee and already meetings have taken place to develop the new society.
The APS was formed in April 2016 at the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group African Red List Assessment Workshop in Rome, Italy. It hopes to represent a continent wide platform to coordinate African primatology research and conservation efforts.
Over 70% of the 282 nonhuman primate taxa (including subspecies) on the African continent are threatened in the wild and 15 taxa are critically endangered. This conservation status assessment has reiterated the dire situation facing African primates stemming from hunting pressures, habitat loss and fragmentation. Clearly the current efforts have not been sufficient to significantly influence the declining trends of primate populations and more commitment and unity is required among governments, international organisations, donor agencies, research institutions and local communities. The lack of coordination between conservationists and primatologists has also been criticised as a contributor to the lacking effectiveness of primate conservation to date.
The idea to establish a platform for information sharing, coordination of research, conservation efforts and networking among African primatologists to promote research and improve conservation efforts has been discussed prior to 2013. The African Primatologists Working Group (APWG) was formed as a result of these discussions in 2013, which was furthermore developed in 2016 to form the APS.
The steering committee of the APS is now working towards organising an inaugural congress of the APS in 2017 where the structure and operational framework of the society will be clarified. A constitution will be adopted and officers elected to coordinate the affairs of the society. In the near future we can expect the circulation of a membership form and the creation of an APS website, where a database of members and relevant contact details will be circulated.
We look forward to APS news and hope that this platform will help to safeguard the future of African primates!