To think that I was wrong my whole life regarding monkeys as domestic animals made me feel like a rookie as I visited CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research & Conservation of Primates and Nature) which is located at 4, Ishie Lane, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria that was founded in January 1995 by a Canadian lady known as Zena Tooze who worked here in Nigeria with the wildlife and had the interest of keeping this primates.
Getting to CERCOPAN was quite easy with the help of the amazing people whom I went with. CERCOPAN is not a zoo, it is more of a motherless monkey home and almost all monkeys there are orphans when their mothers are killed by hunters or were donated according to the staff at the Centre. It is a non-governmental and non-profit organization that depends on grants and donations from individuals who visit the Centre for the survival of the place.
The monkeys are being cared for by the volunteer staff at the Centre as they learn how to live in their natural home, the forest, before eventual release to the wild. When monkeys arrive at CERCOPAN, they are checked if they are healthy which takes about 3 months before they are allowed to join a group of monkeys of its own kind. Older females often adopt the young orphans that join the group.
The monkeys are of various kinds which includes: Preuss’s Guenons, Mona Guenons, Sclater’s Guenons, Red-eared Guenons, Putty-nosed Guenon and Red-capped Mangabeys. Within each group, cage are climbing poles and ropes to swing on. Before these monkeys are released to the wild they must learn how to climb and how to recognize the foods they will eat in the wild.
During my visit also, the staff there also made me understand that monkeys do not eat only bananas as people like myself thought; they eat a variety of foods, fruits like pawpaw, mango and during raining season however they eat more of vegetables like cabbage, carrot, green pepper, etc. The monkeys at CERCOPAN are fed with boiled eggs on Fridays and Tuesdays while every evening they are given boiled beans which substitute for protein.
It is worthy to note that monkeys are not good pets as they could be very aggressive. At a tender age, they could be friendly but as they grow older they become very violent and also have different types of diseases which could lead to death if contacted by humans.
-This particular monkey does not like the sight of a guy holding a lady, he becomes very aggressive at the sight of such. I practised this there and he was so aggressive which made me scared lol.
It is advised that people should not keep monkeys at home; they need to be with other monkeys the same way people need to be with other people. So, please if you have a monkey as a pet or you know someone who does, kindly note they can become harmful. Do you know that monkeys help to plant forests? They do this by dropping seeds of trees and other plants.
There is Video diary that you could watch about my visit to CERCOPAN; please check it out on- Youtube
There is no entry fee into CERCOPAN but visitors can make free will donations. Although, the Centre is now a shadow of itself due to lack of funds for maintaining the place and recently they had to release about 100 monkeys to the National Park in Cross River state. So, please if you like to donate to the maintenance of the place, kindly check them on Facebook CERCOPAN for more details or feel free to message me and if you are in Calabar or you plan to visit here soon, you could go there and visit the Centre and make your donations, please.
I really hope that you learn something new from this post like I did after my visit; If you have, please do well to share the post to your loved ones and let the knowledge be passed on. Many thanks to Kaycee of Dear Media, for the amazing pictures and videos. Do well to follow him on Instagram –Dear Media he is a wonderful photographer.
Thank you so much for reading this post, you are amazing! Feel free to leave a comment or like the post. Remember also, to always smile like a monkey who just got a new banana!