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Happy New Year from all of us at Ape Action Africa

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Dear friends,


To celebrate the end of 2012 we have put together a special newsletter to share some of our favourite moments with you. 


Thank you so much for your support this year. Your actions have directly improved the lives of the orphaned chimps, gorillas and monkeys in our care. We look forward to sharing more stories with you in 2013.


We wish you and your families a very happy New Year!


The Ape Action Africa Team







Big Give Christmas Challenge result....

Sunday, December 9, 2012


We have been overwhelmed with the support we have had over the 3 days of the Big Give Christmas Challenge and all the primates at Ape Action Africa would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated and helped us to beat our target!


You gave us £12,581 in donations, £2,581 over our target,  and the Big Give matching took our total to £22,581. The Big Give will claim gift aid on our behalf on donations from UK taxpayers so the final amount that we will receive is a massive £24,981!


The number of mouths we have to feed increased last weekend following the confiscation of a baby chimpanzee, a drill and a red capped mangabey by LAGA, Last Great Ape Organisation,  so your support in the last 3 days is a huge help to us. The money raised from the Big Give Challenge will be used to care for our group of baby gorillas and chimps.....and as they love their milk, they are all sending gorlla chest beats and chimp pant hoots in a huge thank you to everyone!   


As you can see, Chickaboo has doubled her milk already!  There are more photos on our Facebook page



Photo courtesy of Angela Mather




Big Give Challenge update

Thursday, December 6, 2012


We had an amazing morning today and raised a massive £6,534 all which was doubled to £13,069!


Thank you so much to everyone who has donated today, we are well on the way to reaching our target of £10,000 in online donations so that we will raise £20,000 in total!  It all starts again tomorrow at 10.00am when more matched funding will be released.....please help us if you can to reach our target, every penny counts. And hopefully little Luci won't have to raid our milk store again! 


Visit our Big Give page to help us reach our target!


Many thanks everyone, we really appreciate your support.







The Big Give Christmas Challenge

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It's that time of year again....your donations could be doubled by our charity champions, the Reed Foundation, in the Big Give Christmas Challenge!  It all starts at 10.00am GMT on Thursday 6 December. We are competing with other charities for matched funding so you need to be on standby at your keyboards at 10.00am, ready to go to our page at the Big GIve! 


We are raising money to care for our nursery of orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees, increased last week by the rescue of a baby chimpanzee, a drill and a mandrill, all confiscated from traffickers by the ministry and Ofir Drori's LAGA, the Last Great Ape Organisation. It costs £3 a day for milk for each infant and along with salaries for their carers and medical supplies, it will cost £20,000 for the next year to care for the group.


Every pound counts so please help us to reach our target and achieve maximum matching! And if you are a UK taxpayer, the Big Give will reclaim gift aid on our if you donated £10 and it was doubled plus gift aid, your total gift to us would be £22.50 and would cost you £10! 


The Challenge is running over 3 days so when the matched funds are exhausted tomorrow, come back at 10.00am on Friday 7 or Saturday 8 December when more funds will be released. Many thanks for your support! 


Please note that donations through our website will not be matched so be sure to go to the BIg Give to compete for matching! 






A double rescue from Equatorial Guinea

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Our team has been busy this week settling two new babies into our Mefou Park sanctuary after a complex but successful rescue from neighboring Equatorial Guinea (EG).


In this tiny African country, the hunting, sale, consumption and possession of all primate species has been illegal for 5 years, but with no local sanctuaries to support animal rescue, it is difficult for the government to enforce wildlife laws. With the help of Ape Action Africa and a group of local conservation organisations, the EG government has been able to carry out a high profile confiscation of a young gorilla that was being kept illegally as a tourist attraction. The move is an important step towards the conservation of the country’s precious primate species.


The little two year-old gorilla was first reported to our Director Rachel Hogan by a visitor to the beachside restaurant where she was being kept as an amusement for customers. Around the same time, similar news reached Juliet Wright, a field conservationist working locally for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Juliet contacted Rachel and together with Heidi Ruffler from Conservation International, they used their shared experience of rescuing this chimpanzee last year to provide the government with enough support to perform a confiscation. 


Juliet visited the infant gorilla at the restaurant to assess her condition and found her alone in a wooden cage with just an old football for company. Although she appeared bright and playful initially, she soon started to show signs of depression and everyone knew they would have to work quickly to ensure her survival. A mandrill and a moustache monkey were also discovered nearby in small cages that limited their movement and were causing significant discomfort and stress.


Whilst Juliet and Heidi worked with the EG officials to organise the confiscation, Rachel learned from PASA (Pan African Sanctuary Alliance) of a second infant in Equatorial Guinea who needed rescue. Two year-old chimp ‘Shakira’ had been named after the favourite singer of a South African expat who kept her as a pet. She was well cared for and loved by her human family and friends, but her owner realised she needed to live with other chimps and wanted to find her a place at a sanctuary.

Thanks to Rachel’s patience and persistence and the agreement of the Cameroon government, we were able to coordinate permits for all four animals to be transported to Cameroon and Juliet travelled with them on the day-long journey. Shakira and the infant gorilla, now named Afangui (‘forest of gorillas’ in the local Fang dialect) were tired and nervous by the time they reached Mefou Park. Patient, round-the-clock care from our volunteers Susan O’Brien and Ruth Mertens helped relax the babies and allay their fears and both have now settled in well.


Rachel said "These youngsters can now look forward to a life in the forest in family groups thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in EG and Cameroon. I congratulate the EG government on the confiscation of Afangui which gives a strong message to those contemplating buying orphaned primates."


Thanks go to PASA for their valuable assistance in rescuing Shakira  and the Limbe Wildlife Centre who offered a home to the mandrill and moustache monkey so they too can look forward to a life with their own kind.


Both Afangui and Shakira will soon be joining our adoption program – if you would like to take action and help support their development into healthy, happy adults, watch this space!



Photo of Afangui ©Juliet Wright and Shakira ©Ape Action Africa. See more images of our new arrivals in our photo gallery.







The Monkey Business

Saturday, May 26, 2012


‘Unreported World’ – a critically acclaimed foreign affairs TV series – features an interview with our Director Rachel Hogan in their latest programme, which aired on Channel 4 in the UK......available to view online worldwide for the next 30 days

The show travels to dangerous locations all over the world in an attempt to uncover stories usually ignored by the world media, and visited our Mefou Primate Sanctuary as part of an investigation into the practice of eating bushmeat.


Reporter Evan Williams and director James Brabazon talk to the medical experts warning that butchering and eating primates, including critically endangered gorillas and chimpanzees, could trigger a new global pandemic – a new HIV or SARS – by unleashing as yet unknown viruses. They visit the Dja Reserve to witness the relationship between logging and the poaching of primates and meet Rachel, the woman looking after the animals orphaned by the slaughter. Rachel is pictured with Chickaboo, rescued after her mother was killed for her meat (photo courtesy of Ian Bickerstaff).


To find out more about Cameroon's illegal bushmeat trade, watch Dateline in Australia on Tuesday 29th May at 9:30, SBS.


You can preview a clip of the show on Youtube here (warning: video clip includes confronting footage of a hunter with a gorilla arm).



Shufai gets a pain-free future

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Shufai, one of our most beloved gorillas, underwent surgery this month to correct a serious deformity in his left arm. When he was rescued as a baby, Shufai had multiple bullet wounds and pellets lodged in his wrist. causing damage to his bone. As he has grown, the injury has started to cause him pain, affecting his ability to climb and play.


Late last year Sharon Redrobe, one of our trustees and also Director of Life Sciences at Twycross Zoo and Clinical Associate Professor at Nottinghan University, made a special trip from the UK to assess Shufai’s condition. Back at home, she engaged the support of two other specialist veterinary orthopaedic surgeons, Sandra Corr from Nottingham University and Damian Chase from Scarsdale Vets in Derby. The team travelled to Cameroon this month to carry out a special operation to correct the problem in Shufai's wrist. With them was Lucy Ray, a photo journalist from UK newspaper the Daily Mail, who has delivered this exclusive story, along with some great images and footage.


Shufai is now recovering under the watchful eye of caregivers Apollinaire and Romain. They are keeping him happy with plenty of food treats until he can rejoin his family and enjoy a future without pain.


Ape Action Africa and Shufai would like to say a massive thank you to the great vet team and their respective employers for the time and resources that they donated to Shufai's successful surgery. And of course thank you to our vet team in Cameroon led by Bibila Tafon, who continue to care for Shufai and all our other residents.










Chimp-orilla playtime in the forest

Sunday, February 26, 2012


What do you do when you have three baby chimps and two baby gorillas, but only one area of forest to put them in? Introduce them of course! Chimps and gorillas occasionally meet in the wild when their ranges overlap and display similar behaviour as infants. Our orphaned gorillas Luci and Chickaboo and resident chimps Mac, Ayisha and Mbia have outgrown their separate, infant play areas so have been coming together each day to play in the trees. The babies love their new arrangement and their carers are seing the benefits too. 


When she arrived last October, Chickaboo was thin and depressed and bore a deep, snare injury on her right wrist that meant she couldn’t move her hand or walk properly. Our vet team feared she would need surgery but we are pleased to report that her wound has healed and she is able to use her hand again. Having four friends has inspired a burst of confidence in Chickaboo and she now runs, chases, wrestles and climbs with her once injured hand. She is the largest of the babies and has a big laugh and a cheeky personality. Lately she has been discovering her inner gorilla and loves to beat her chest whenever she’s feeling excited or assertive.


Little Luci is younger than Chickaboo, so has a greater dependence on her human carers, but she is starting to come out of her shell. Now, instead of watching the others play, she joins in around the fringes of their games and loves climbing trees with Chickaboo. Luci is still waking 3 times a night for bottles and is only just becoming interested in food, but her interest in chewing (especially on her carer’s bedroom door) signals that the rest of her teeth are on the way.


Mac arrived at the sanctuary last August, wounded by bullets and very depressed. Six months later he has grown into a healthy, happy two year old who loves a game. Mac is very sweet natured and will do anything for a tickle. He was thrilled to meet the boisterous Chickaboo whose size and energy levels are a great match for his own.


After suffering a serious bout of meningitis late last year, Ayisha has been slowly recovering and finding her feet again. She has gained weight and developed more body hair and instead of waking five times a night for milk, is now sleeping well and eating solid food. Ayisha is a sensitive chimp and usually doesn’t allow anyone except her carer to touch her. Now, buoyed by the games going on around her, she is joining in the chase and approaching others for a tickle and some attention. Her eyesight has never fully recovered so she is a little less steady on her feet than the others, but this doesn’t stop her from being very stubborn and just a little bit naughty – always trying to get away with doing what she isn’t supposed to.


Mbia has been going from strength to strength since her long journey to Cameroon last year. She has made firm friends with Mac and although she is a bit frightened of Chickaboo’s strength, she plays happily with her new friends in the forest. A great climber, Mbia is often found up a tree but will go wherever the action is. Inventive and energetic, Mbia will create a game out of whatever is on hand, particularly if the item is forbidden and belongs to someone else!


As the babies get older, they will separate in order to join larger groups of their own kind, but for now, they are just happy to have extra playmates. See more photos of the babies in the forest at our photo gallery







Ronnie's story

Thursday, January 5, 2012


It has been a quiet couple of weeks at Mefou Primate Park, with members of our team enjoying a well earned rest with family and friends over the holiday period. During this time, our youngest infants have been flourishing, but the hunting continues and they have have been joined by our latest arrival – infant chimpanzee Ronnie, who was confiscated in early December from the nearby town of Mbalmayo

We don’t know much about Ronnie’s past as his owner refused to give any information to the Cameroon authorities. We do know that he is around 10 months old and was kept in a tiny cage that was just big enough for him to turn around. His confinement and isolation caused him terrible stress. When he arrived at the sanctuary he was a bundle of nerves, jumping and reacting in fear whenever he was touched.

He was immediately placed with two full-time carers and clung hard to both of them, climbing to the highest parts of their bodies and refusing to let go, even at night. Having been fed on junk food and table scraps, he only recognized coke and spaghetti and had to be coaxed into adopting a chimp diet, including milk formula. Like most rescued babies he was thin and dehydrated, but had also contracted an infection in his throat sac which caused it to bloat with fluid. Whenever he swallowed he made a tiny sound like a frog and suffered from reflux, often throwing up his milk formula at night.

With quiet, persistent care, Ronnie now understands he is safe and he is venturing away from his carers to explore his surroundings. This week he has started displaying chimp behavior like nest-building, even using one for his daytime nap. After a course of antibiotics his throat condition has improved significantly and he has gained almost a kilo in weight. He now has the strength to climb and hang by his arms and is using his newfound energy to patrol the front of his carers’ house, slapping his feet on the tiled surface to assert himself when visitors arrive. It won’t be long before this little boy is ready to meet others of his own kind and learn to live like a chimp again.


See more photos of Ronnie's early weeks in our photo gallery.





Helping Endangered Primates in Cameroon