Category Archives: Simone de Vries

Three new orphaned primates

Within 5 days we have received 3 new orphaned primates. All of them are victims of the illegal bush meat trade. Primates are considered a delicacy, so they are hunted for their meat. But young animals are worth more alive, so when a mother is killed the baby is taken to be sold as a pet.

arrival Ako

Last Thursday a young female baboon was brought to the Limbe Wildlife Centre by officials of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. At a border control post in Ako they had confiscated the baboon from some people who wanted to smuggle her to Nigeria. They took care of the monkey for a few days until they had the opportunity to travel to Limbe and hand her over to us. When she arrived she was still tied in box where they had found her. Apart from a superficial wound on her leg she was okay. She is now in the quarantine and doing very well.

Mundemba rescue

Just one day later Sofie went to pick up a baby putty-nosed monkey that was confiscated in Mundemba by an ecoguard of Korup National Park. A German woman had taken care of the baby for a few days after the confiscation. The monkey has a broken and infected tail and she is very skinny. When we just received her she was very scared, but in the few days she is here she has completely changed. She is eating and drinking well and more and more playful.

two babies

And then finally someone showed up in our office yesterday with a really tiny little mona monkey. He had found the monkey in a village where children were playing with it. He took it from them and brought it to us. The monkey weighs only 270 grams and was badly dehydrated. He is not very fond of milk, but we drip it bit by bit into his mouth. This morning he was already much better. And he is very brave and playful. The two baby monkeys are now together in one play pen and are doing very well. At night they go home with us. All new arrivals have been named after the village they are from: Ako, Mundemba and Manoka.

Best wishes, Simone

Mandrill Jake in the group

After a very long and difficult introduction period Jake is finally outside with the other members of the mandrill group. Ndokpassi Jake was confiscated from a family home in Douala in September last year. He was kept as a watch dog on a chain outside the house.

After his quarantine period he was moved to the satellite cage of the mandrill enclosure. It turned out to be quite hard to introduce him to the group. As he had grown up without any other mandrills he does not behave quite as he should be. The introduction to the females was easy enough, because he is not very interested in them, not even when they are in heat. The biggest problem was that he showed no respect for the dominant male. But with two steps forward, one step back, we have now reached a situation where Jake has accepted Prosper as the boss.

jake

Jake spends most of his time in the corner of the enclosure, but maybe with time he will become more social. When Jake arrived in the LWC his face was brightly coloured, which is a sign of dominance. Now his colours have faded a bit. For the rest Jake is doing fine and we are very happy with the results so far.

Best wishes,  Simone

Chimpanzee enclosure renovation

One year ago the chimpanzee fence was completely ruined by a big storm. We accepted this event as an opportunity to completely renovate the enclosure and the satellite cage. This renovation of the old chimpanzee enclosure is now nearing completion.

First of all a deviding wall was build between the gorilla enclosure and the chimpanzee enclosure. This is more suitable than a fence and it created more space for the gorillas. Then the fences were all rebuild, much higher and stronger than before. In the old enclosure we often had escapes, but we are confident that this new fence will keep the chimpanzees inside. Finally the satellite cage was renovated: repair of the roof, new floors, etc.

renovation satellite cage

We have been lucky that we have two chimpanzee enclosures, thanks to the new chimpanzee enclosure that was finished last year March. Nevertheless, it has been crowded in the new enclosure in the last year and we are very much looking forward to moving part of the group to the renovated enclosure. The chimpanzees will have a lot more space soon. Both the building of the new enclosure and the renovation of the old enclosure were funded by Born Free UK. We are very grateful for this support.

Recently I gave an interview for Born Free UK, which can be found on their website. When you are interested please go to the following link.

Interview Born Free

Best wishes,  Simone

Update LWC

First of all, sorry for being silent for such a long time. We have been very busy with all sorts of things, but blogging was not among them. I will try to give a small update about a few things that are going on.

parrot

The situation with the parrots has calmed down now. We still take care of more than 400 parrots and they will stay with us for a while. These are the parrots that were not releasable right away, because their wing feathers were clipped or glued. Our vet team has worked really hard to bring each parrot under aneastasia and pluck their feathers. This way the feathers will regrow faster and we will be able to release these birds in a couple of months.

mona monkey

We recently received a young mona guenon from a family in Douala. Although the family had contacted us themselves about the monkey, they were very sad to see her leave. When we picked up the monkey several people were crying. It just shows that many people buy monkeys because they really love them. They do not realize that a monkey belongs in the forest and just think it would make a nice pet. Only when the monkey grows up they find out that it is impossible to give it the proper care it needs. It is therefore important to raise awareness about this, so good-willing people can make better decisions.

Finally, we are very sad about the changes that have taken place at Wildlife Direct. We think the initiative to start Wildlife Direct was great and it has given us the opportunity to raise a lot of funds. Unfortunately Wildlife Direct was not able to raise enough funds themselves to continue all the work they did. As a result the paypal option on this blog has disappeared since the beginning of April. We are trying to set up a new construction with the help of Stichting Weesaapjes, an organization in the Netherlands that raises funds for the Limbe Wildlife Centre. I hope we will soon have this set up, so we can again receive donations from all of you. In the last two years you have been very kind to us and because of your generosity we were able to do so much more for the animals in our care.

Best wishes,

Simone

Orphan drill monkey brought to LWC

Today we received a two-year-old orphan drill monkey. After his mother was killed for bush meat, this little boy was sold in the market of Bajo, near Mamfe. A military man on his way to Limbe took an interest in the monkey and bought it for 30,000 CFA (€ 45). He even went to the Chief of Post, the local officer for the ministery of forestry and wildlife (MINFOF), who prepared a certificate of origin. It stated that it was a colobus monkey and that the owner was free to travel with it. The chief of post also said that the owner should report to the MINFOF in Limbe, as soon as he arrived there.

The owner kept the drill for more than a month, but then reported to MINFOF. The senior divisional officer told him that it was forbidden to keep a monkey as a pet and that he should donate the animal to the Limbe Wildlife Centre. Together they came to the LWC and 10 minutes later we went to the owners home to pick up the drill.

bajo small

The drill is now called Bajo and he is very sweet. The owner was a bit sad to let him go, but he received a free entrance ticket to come and see his animal later on. It is always best when people willingly give up their animals, in stead of animals being confiscated. It gives us the opportunity to discuss with the people why it is much better for the animal to be in a large enclosure with other monkeys of its kind.

Bajo will spend 3 months in quarantine and will then join the group.

Best wishes, Simone

New home for guenons

The guenon monkeys have a new home! Where it used to be a marsh, we now have a very spacious enclosure for 5 different species of guenons. In the last week we moved all the monkeys and new groups were formed. The Preuss’ monkeys and the Red-eared monkeys form one group. These species are both rather calm and do well together. On the other side we have a group of Putty-nosed monkeys, Moustached monkeys and one Crowned guenon. These three species have much more temperament and also form a good team. All monkeys have much more space than before so they are enjoying themselves a lot. One side of the enclosure has a mango tree inside and the other a big stump of a tree that fell down last year in the big storm, so there are some natural climbing structures.

red eared in new enclosure

Many donations made it possible to build this enclosure. ProWildlife from Germany was our biggest sponsor, but the pipes and part of the mesh came in a container from San Diego Zoo. On top of that we used money that we raised with this blog. We would like to thank all our readers that have donated us through this blog. Our monkeys truely appreciate your support.

Best wishes, Simone

Release of Parrots

The Limbe Wildlife Centre is releasing the Grey parrots that were confiscated on Douala Airport. We are experimenting with a soft release method because we want to make sure that the survival of the birds is as high as possible. The idea is to keep a small group of parrots for a short while in a cage on the release site. After a few days the parrots are completely relaxed and they eat well. When the cage is opened the feeding will continue, so the parrots can choose either to go or to come back for some more food.

release

The first 24 parrots have been release with this method. All of them flew off immediately and did not come back. The food we leave on top of the cage has been untouched for 3 days. Well, release successful, but maybe we could have released them right away as well…

Best wishes, Simone

Chimpanzee Bazou meets Bankim

After almost 16 years of being alone, Bazou met this morning with another male chimpanzee. With his eight years of age, Bankim is much younger than Bazou, but he is much more robust. His head is bigger, his arms are stronger and his fur looks healthier. Next to Bankim, Bazou looks like a concentration camp survivor and that is not far from the truth.

chimpanzee introduction

The introduction went very well. Almost immediately the two started playing. Bazou was a bit nervous, but he was laughing at the same time. Bankim initiated play wrestle and touched Bazou everywhere. That must be strange for Bazou, because his body has not been touched  for so many years. He just kept on laughing. When Bankim became a bit bored it was Bazou who initiated the play, pulling Benkim’s foot.

playing

We are very happy with this first introduction. It gives us hope for the future of Bazou. We will keep you informed about the progress.

Best wishes, Simone

Mona monkey doing well

Due to the changes that have taken place in Wildlife Direct, we were silent for more then a week. We are still struggling a bit with the new program and I did not manage to put up a picture in this blog, but at least we are back! And in a week time a lot of things happen in the Limbe Wildlife Centre. There is one thing I want to tell you about, because it makes me so happy. I think we can finally say that Mona monkey Unity is doing well.

In an earlier blog I told you about Unity, the companion of putty-nosed monkey Spot, and the problem with her tail. What started as a small wound on her tail, turned into a big infection. Part of the tail had to be amputated, but the wound did not heal because Unity kept picking it. We tried to cover the wound with a tube, but this caused another infection. Another piece of her tail was taken off and we tried to keep it open this time. But again the wound did not heal and the bone was visible at the tip of the tale. Another operation was necessary and it was done last Friday.

And now she is doing well. The first critical 48 hours have passed and the stitches are holding! It seems like Unity is not interested in pulling the stitches out, so we are very pleased. Would it be the company of Spot that did the trick? Unity was with other Mona monkeys before, but maybe the combination with Spot is better. We don’t know, but we just hope that Unity will completely heal. I am sorry I cannot show you a picture of her with her too short tail. She looks kind of funny, but she can still jump around without loozing her balance.

Best wishes, Simone

Mbam’s funeral

Yesterday we buried Mbam and, as we always do when an animal dies, we did a tradional ceremony for him. Stephen,  a son of the soil, offered some whiskey to the fore-fathers and asked them to take good care of Mbam on his way to the other world.

funeral-mbam.jpg

It feels good to do a ceremony like this with the keepers. Just as it feels really good to know that you are all there and thinking about us. It is great to have friends like you. As we say in Cameroon: we are together!

Best wishes, Simone