Category Archives: Anne Sofie Meilvang

Two new orphans in Limbe Wildlife Centre

Within the last week, we received two new primates at Limbe Wildlife Centre!

Grey-cheeked mangabey

On the 20th of April Onana Messofelix, a police commissioner living in Buea brought a beautiful male grey-cheeked mangabey infant Lophocebus albigena.  These fascinating monkeys are not native to the Cross-Sanaga region where we are located and so is likely to have come from southern or eastern Cameroon.

The Commissioner’s wife had acquired the animal in Yaoundé, 3 weeks earlier. She wanted to keep the mangabey as a pet, but the husband refused and brought the mangabey to the LWC.  We applaud his efforts to convince his wife that wild animals do not make good pets, and even more so that he brought the young mangabey to the wildlife center.  Thank you, Sir!

We estimate he is more than one year old. We call him Y’de, as he came to us from Yaoundé. He is a bit thin, but is now in our quarantine where the keepers are experts at restoring malnourished animals, and he is getting lots of good food and care.

We hope in future that one of the Cameroon PASA sanctuaries will have a group of this species for our young male to join.

Y'de

Y'de

Female chimpanzee

On the 21st April, barely 24 hours after receiving the mangabey, a LAGA official brought a tiny female chimpanzee to LWC. She had been confiscated from a hunter based in Lolodorf, a small town some kilometers away from Kribi, on the southern coast of the country.  This area is not part of the Cross-Sanaga faunal region so, as in the case of the grey-cheeked mangabey, this little chimpanzee probably does not belong to the endemic subspecies of our region but rather to the Central African supspecies Pan troglodytes troglodytes.

According to the story, the hunter who killed her mother, tried to sell her to a hotel in Kribi, which is a popular resort town.  The hotel owner contacted our government partner MINFOF (Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife) and they organized a joint operation with LAGA to recover the infant. The hunter and his companions were arrested and the chimpanzee was brought to LWC.

We have named her Lolodorf (or Lola), to remind us of her area of origin. On arrival she was dehydrated, tired and very hungry. Lola also had an infected wound on her right arm around the elbow, which was swollen and appeared painful to move.  It was probably inflicted by a shotgun pellet.  These pellets often self-expel, or can be removed surgically once a patient has been stabilized.  We are hoping to perform an x-ray soon to determine if the bone has been cracked. Lola had a high fever.

Lola was rehydrated and placed on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines. Now she is much better, no fever or signs of infection, and she has a good appetite.

She spends her nights in our house, the normal procedure with very young infants, and so we can feed her during the night. During the day, Lola comes to the centre and is cared for by a keeper.  She enjoys hearing the other chimpanzees. Lola is an adorable small chimpanzee: she has only 4 teeth and we estimated her age to be around 6 months.

Lola

Lola

New flight cage for the parrots

The whole Limbe team is very busy taking care of the parrots that we received in the beginning of December.

Last week we finished a 25x4x3 m flight cage for the parrots. The cage is placed in the Botanic Garden just opposite the wildlife centre on the edge of the Bota Hill Forest. The cage has perches in each end and is covered by palm ferns on the sides to make the parrots feel safe. During the night we have a security guard on the spot, to make sure that the parrots will not get stolen. “World Parrot Trust” has paid the construction of the flight-cage.

Flight cage small

This Saturday we moved the first parrots to the cage. Before moving them we check their feather and the ones, who need to have their feathers plucked, stay in the cage in the wildlife centre. We pluck the feathers one the ones that have had their wing-feathers clipped off. In that way the feather will re-grow faster. The parrots are also treated for parasites. “World Parrots Trust” has sent us bands to put on all the birds. When the parrots are released back to the wild, it will be interesting to find out where they go, and see if they end up here again. The catching and moving of the parrots early in the morning, so the parrots will not overheat.

Treating parrots small

So far we have moved almost 300 parrots to the flight cage. From the new group we have many strong birds with intact feathers.

Moving parrots small

The parrots get a variety of food. We are trying many different fruits, leaves, seeds and vegetables to find out what they prefer.

We have changed the way of feeding, where we before always feed in feeders on the floor, we have now moved the feeders up on platforms, and the parrots seems to like that.

It takes a lot of time, people and money to take care of the parrots and we really appreciate all the organizations and people that have already given us support. I am sure that the parrots are happy too.I have just passed by the new flight cage and the parrots are eating, singing and making happy sounds!

If you want to support us, please go to our website: www.limbewildlife.org and choose the button: ‘make a donation’ under ‘Limbe Wildlife Centre’. Thank you very much! We need and appreciate every donation we get, and will make sure that the money goes directly to animal care.

Best wishes,

Sofie

News from Limbe

Here a little update from LWC. The last month we didn’t receive any new animals, but we have been busy improving the conditions for the ones that are already here.

For our group of mandrills we have build new climbing structures and some platforms. The group consists of 12 mandrills in all sizes. In a month Bibindi, the small mandrill we received a few months ago will join the group. The mandrills are very happy for their new enrichment.

We have also started building a new climbing structure for the group two gorillas. We do the climbing structure bit by bit, as we don’t want to keep the gorillas in for many days in a row. On the picture you see the first part of the structure. We still need to add more, and then put up a lot of ropes and tires to make it more fun for the gorillas.

Gorilla climbing structure

Our baby chimpanzees have also got a new climbing structure and a pool. To begin with they didn’t really dare to use the pool, so we had to go with them. On the picture you see Mayos (with a big smile) and our vet. volunteer Ann (also with a big smile) playing in the water.

Mayos pool

As our big chimpanzee enclosure is next to the river, we have had a lot of problems with floods during the rainy season. Therefore we have now started building a 200-meter long embankment wall between the enclosure and the river. The chimpanzees follow the work with big interest!

All though we didn’t receive any new animals the last weeks, we did move some of the animals around. All our guenon babies stay together in a safe and warm cage with extra heating. Spot, the putty-nosed guenon that arrived last year in December has long been big enough to join our group of adult guenons, but since it was rainy season, where the animals are more fragile, we didn’t dare to move him. Now the dry season is here, and a few weeks ago we introduced him to the adult guenon group. The introduction went very well. In the group we have two female putty-nosed, Douala and Motumba. They loved Spot right away and are grooming him all the time. I am sure that Spot will have very nice life in that group!

Spot introduction

Best,

Sofie

Two new animals

Last Saturday I was called to the wildlife centre late at night to receive a young male Mandrill. He was confiscated in Bibindi village near Kribi. The mandrill, who we call Bibindi, has being living as a pet for at least a year. The owner bought him from some hunters for 10.000 CFA.

Bibindi is very tame. He is in a pretty good condition, but still have to spend three months in the quarantine so we are sure that he doesn’t carry any diseases. During the quarantine period he will go through three health checks. He is used to eating bananas, papaya and sugar canes. We have given him a lot of branches in his cages and he loves to play with them.

Mandrills are not found in this area of Cameron but only south of the Sanaga River.  We have 13 of them in LWC. Mandrills are listed as vulnerable on IUCNs red list, because of the intensive hunting pressure and habitat loss on the species.

Bibindi face

Today a man from Douala brought us a young male baboon. The baboon has been living with him since it was a baby. The owner told us that a friend, by accident, hit the baboon’s mother with a car five years ago. The mother died but the baby, who was hanging on the mother’s stomach, survived. This happen in the North of Cameroon, but the baby baboon was brought to Douala. The baboon is called Nana Bey.

He is now five years old and was starting to be a big challenge for the owner. Baboons are not good pets! Nana Bey ran to the neighbors’ house and stole their food and also started to be quite aggressive. That’s why the owner decided to bring him to LWC. Nana Bey is quite small for his age and a bit skinny. He is eating very well though, and I am sure he will gain some weight quickly. After his quarantine period he will join our group of 12 baboons. Baboons are found in the Northern part of Cameroon and are not endangered.

Nana

Have a nice Sunday,

Sofie

Update from LWC

For long you haven’t heard from us, but that is only because we have been very busy here. Lots of things have happened and I want to give you a small update on some of the animals here in LWC.

“Ako”, the young baboon that arrived in June has now finished her quarantine period. She has now been moved to a satellite cage next to the baboon enclosure. Here she will slowly be introduced to our baboon group. Yesterday she met “Mish Mish”, one of our female baboons. They made friends right away. Hopefully in a few weeks “Ako” will be fully integrated in the group.

Ako Sep 2010

The two small babies, “Mundemba” (a putty-nosed guenon) and “Manoka” (a mona monkey) are also doing fine. The first months we took them home every night to feed them during the night, but now they stay in the centre in a big cage. They love each other and it gives them a lot of comfort to have each other. When they are getting a little bit bigger we will introduce them to our group of young guenons.

Mundemba and Manoka

We didn’t receive any new primates since June, but a month ago a worker from the local waste company brought in two tiny squirrels that he had found in a waste bin. They were only weighing 60 gram each on arrival. Our vet. volunteer Ann fell in love with them right away, and she has been hand rearing them. Today they are weighing 200 grams and they are almost ready for release.

Squirrel

Unfortunately we also had a death within the last months. Our old mandrill “Man Alone” died on Saturday the 7th of August. He was on of our oldest animals here. He arrived in the beginning of the 1980’s when the place was still called Victoria Zoo. He was placed alone in a tiny cage, but when the zoo was transformed into Limbe Wildlife Centre he was moved to a much more spacious enclosure. With time more mandrills arrived and he became the dominant male of the group. Within in last years he started to be weaker and the leadership of the group was taken over by another male called “Prosper”.  “Man alone” was almost 30 years old when he died, and was probably one of the oldest mandrills in the world. He was very special for all of us who work here, and we had a big burial ceremony for him. He is buried next to our mandrill enclosure. We will never forget you “Man alone”.

Man alone

Best wishes

Sofie

End of the Outreach Program for the year 2009-2010

The outreach program for this school year has come to an end. This year, our education team has been teaching on 11 different schools around Limbe, reaching more than 1000 students every week.

The educators have been teaching about animals, conservation and environmental issues.

On the last day, we invited all the students to come to the wildlife centre to see all the animals that they have been hearing about. The children were very excited and for many of them it was the first time to come here, and the first time to see chimpanzees, gorillas and other primates. It was very encouraging to take them around the centre and ask them about the animals. They have really learned a lot and also asked us a lot of questions.

Play

After the tour around the centre the students watched a play performed by the “the reformation theatre group”. The play is about bush meat trade, and even though it is a very serious subject, the group also got the children to laugh lot.

Some of the students had also prepared small sketches or songs about wildlife and conservation.

After the plays we handed certificates out for the students and the ones who performed best in each class got a prize.  Then it was time to say goodbye.

Handing out certificates

Columbus Zoo sponsors our school outreach program and we are very grateful for that. Hopefully in the future it will make a difference  that a lot of children have been educated about wildlife and conservation.

The end of the school outreach program doesn’t mean that the education team got nothing to do. The next months will be filled with Nature Club, Holiday Workshops and our new community outreach program, so there is more than enough to do. We will keep you updated.

Best wishes,

Sofie

Bazou moves out of quarantine

I am sure that many of you will remember Bazou, the chimpanzee we received a few months ago? He was confiscated after having spent 16 years alone in a small cage.

Yesterday his quarantine period was over, and we moved him to our chimpanzee section. I think all of us were very excited to see how Bazou would react when he finally met other chimpanzees. We were also a bit worried, as he has some very abnormal behaviors and is very unpredictable.

Bazou magazin

Most of the chimpanzees were outside when we moved Bazou to his new home, but in the evening they all came inside. Bazou ran up to the fence between the cages and screamed at all of them. This was Bazou’s first lesson in chimpanzee behavior; when you scream at other chimpanzees, they scream back to you… And they all did. That made Bazou very scared, so he ran back to the other end of the cage and tried to hide in the corner. It will take some time before he is ready to join the group. He has probably not seen other chimpanzee since he was taken out of the forest as a baby and has no social skills.

This morning I went to see him, and he was very stressed and was doing a lot of strange movements. I am afraid it will take a long time before he is living happily in our big chimpanzee group…

Have a nice weekend,

Sofie

Goodbye Victoria Zoo!

The history of Limbe Wildlife Centre starts in the early sixties of the last century, when the Victoria Zoo was founded.

Unfortunately the zoo was a terrible place for animals. The enclosures were very bad and often the zoo didn’t have enough money to buy food for the animals.

This picture shows two cages from that time; the biggest was the cage for the chimpanzee, and in the smallest cage a big mandrill spent at least four years – he couldn’t even turn around!

old-cages.jpg

Today these cages are only used as an exhibition here. But until now, we have still had some of the old enclosures in use for our rescued animals. Two dwarf crocodiles have been in a small round cage for a very long time, since we didn’t have anywhere else to put them. Yesterday we could finally move them to another and much better enclosure. The enclosure was until recently occupied by two Nile crocodiles, but they have now have been released back to the wild.

The dwarf crocodiles are small, but they are adults and very strong. It toke four keepers to carry them from one cage to another. They now have much more space and a much bigger pool, which they jumped into right away. I don’t know how to tell if a crocodile is happy, but I am sure that they feel happier in their new home.

crocodile-move.jpg

Right after the move, Simon and Killi, two of our keepers, started demolishing the old round cage. We want no more animals in that small cage.

simon-tearing-round-cage.jpg

It feels so good when you do something that is improving the animals’ lives. If you want to help us improve the animals’ lives, please make a donation through this website, and we will make sure to use it on something good for the animals.

Have a nice weekend,

Sofie

Jake meets his family

Thank you so much everybody for your encouraging words after yesterday’s sad news. It means a lot for us. Today we have some good news to tell you; maybe you remember Jake, the mandrill who came here in September after having spent 7 years alone in a garden, being somebody’s “guard-dog”? Today he has finally been introduced to a friend of his own kind.

jake-crop.jpg

After spending 3 months in our quarantine he was moved to a cage next to the mandrill-enclosure a few weeks ago. We suspected that it would be a bit difficult to introduce him to the group as he probably hasn’t seen another mandrill since he was a baby, and as we already have one adult male in the group. Probably Jake has forgotten, or never learned to “speak” mandrill language or to behave like a mandrill. It can make his life in the group rather difficult. Therefore we are going to do the introduction very slowly.

Today, we let another mandrill into Jake’s cage for the first time. It was Kribi, a young male, that normally is very friendly. We were all very excited about what was going to happen when Kribi and Jake would meet each other, but the answer is: Nothing! The whole day they have been sitting each in one side of the cage, pretending not to look at each other. They have just been eating a lot. Well, I guess it is a good start. At least Jake doesn’t seem scared of Kribi or want to fight with him. We will keep you updated on how it goes when Jake meets the rest of the mandrill group!

Best wishes, Sofie

Update on Bazou

I just want to show you this picture of Bazou, who was rescued a few days ago.

bazou-small.jpg

He is now in our quarantine, and as you can see on the picture we are feeding him well. He eats everything that we offer him. Apparently he was normally fed on food scraps and whatever the people in the village had. They also used to give him beers and cigarettes.

He is slowly beginning to feel a bit comfortable here. He spends most of his day eating or observing the other animals in the quarantine. Bazou also likes human company, and we spend some time every day sitting next to him to give him a bit of comfort. Bazou is a very sweet chimpanzee. When I sit next to his cage, he comes to me and grooms my arms and hold my hand. He still has some strange reactions sometimes, and make very special noises. It seems like his hair plucking is already a bit less. We will continue to give him a lot of care.

Best wishes, Sofie