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A new family for our little Red Caps

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Our favourite Red-Capped Mangabey residents; Mega and Mini have a new family after their successful introduction to the adult Red Cap group. Both babies were rescued as infants and hand-reared at Mefou Park Sanctuary, living with other young monkeys until they were ready to join an adult group of their own kind.


Little Mega arrived in 2013 as a small baby and needed 24-hour hand rearing. His original name of Phil didn’t last long as his distinctive triangular face reminded our volunteers of the cartoon movie character Megamind and the nickname Mega stuck. As he grew, Mega graduated to living with other babies in our mixed monkey cages. His happy, friendly personality won him many fans amongst our volunteers and carers and he loved nothing more than a game, particularly with the humans who visited to clean his cage.


Mini arrived in 2014 and although she was the same size as Mega, she was much wilder. The two got along well, but unfortunately Mini was not as accepting of the spot nosed and moustache monkeys that shared their home. She periodically instigated attacks against them, which Mega supported, creating stress within the group.


Introductions of infants into adult groups is always risky and can be difficult with Red-Capped Mangabeys as the males are fierce protectors of their group. We began by relocating Mega and Mini to a large cage next to the adult enclosure so they could see and be seen by alpha male Metet, the three females and their three youngsters. Initial interactions were encouraging with everyone showing interest and lots of grooming going on through the bars of the cage.


After a few days we opened the door that separates the enclosure from the cage. The youngsters from the group were quick to jump in to examine the newcomers at close quarters. Eventually Mega and Mini summoned up the courage to leap out into the enclosure and explore their new home, only to be chased and pinned down by one of the females who perceived them as a threat. It was a stressful first day for the pair, especially Mega who, having been hand reared, kept looking to us for protection.


Things improved quickly though, and by day two the group relaxed and allowed Mega and Mini more access to the enclosure. Since then, things have settled further and although the two little ones occasionally retreat to their cage when they feel overwhelmed, their interactions are improving. It may take many weeks or even months for them to find their permanent place in the group but the reward will be a big new home and the long-term friendship and protection of their own kind.


Image (top): Phil (aka Mega) as an infant. Photo © Marlene Haggblade

Image (bottom): Mega & Mini venture into their new enclosure. Photo © Elissa O'Sullivan


For more images, take a look at our photo gallery.



Saying goodbye to Laurence

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Living and working with animals brings its share of joy and sorrow. Last week brought us sorrow when we had to say goodbye to our lovely Laurence. She had advanced cancer and the kindest thing to do was to let her go. She was peaceful and she had a chat and a big hug with Rachel.

Laurence is one of the first chimps that Rachel met in the zoo in Yaoundé when she was a volunteer, 14 years ago. She said: 'Laurence was a kind, gentle chimp, always the peacemaker and she was a wonderful mother to Zawadee, now 8 years old. She was unbelievably intelligent and always one step ahead of all us! Such a lovely girl, we all love her and we will miss her, as will her group.'

Laurence has been with us for about 17 years. She was brought to the zoo by a couple who were living in Cameroon at the time and she was named after the woman who rescued her. She lived in Max' group in the zoo until we were able to move all the chimps out of the zoo to the forest sanctuary at Mefou. Those of you who have seen Going Ape might remember that momentous day when we were finally able to move Max and his group to the forest.

Many of us have popped down to have a chat over a mango with Laurence; she was always happy to listen and we will really miss her.

Thank you to Dr Sharon Redrobe and Dr Charlotte MacDonald for all their help at a difficult time for everyone.


Photo of Laurence and Zawadee © Ian Bickerstaff

Twinkle and Cazza update

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


We have great news for our infant chimpanzees: Twinkle and Cazza have been happily accepted by Mac's group!  It makes our hearts sing to see little ones who have suffered so much at the hands of man in their young lives finally enjoying the company of other chimpanzees.

We introduced Cazza and Twinkle to each other a few weeks ago and then introduced both of them to Mac's group. The integration went very well and they have settled into their new family very you can see from these photos taken in the last few days by our volunteer Caroline Griffis.


Twinkle is second from the left in this photo, with Kira, Ayisha and Ronnie (from left to right). Twinkle lived alone for two years in a small cage in a hotel. Look at her now, sitting back and loving everyone taking turns to groom her!

Cazza was confiscated from ape traffickers by LAGA (Last Great Ape Organisation). She was tied to the back of a motorbike inside a box, probably on her way to the pet trade. It's great to see her out in the forest, playing with 8 other young chimpanzees.

Rescuing little orphans like Cazza and Twinkle is a large part of what we do. We take on a lifetime commitment to keep them safe, well fed and happy. We can't do any of this without you so if you would like to help us continue to care for Cazza, Twinkle and their friends, you can make a donation today here on our website or if you are in the UK, you can text APES22 followed by £3, £5 or £10 to 70070.

Thank you so much for your support, it's hugely appreciated by all of us at Ape Action Africa.

Many thanks to Caroline Griffis for the photos.









New arrival - David

Monday, April 6, 2015


We hope everyone has had a lovely Easter break and enjoyed a long weekend with friends and family! 


We have opened our doors and hearts to yet another orphaned chimpanzee this weekend. David was confiscated from a hotel where he has been kept on his own for some time. We don't know anymore about him - we think he is two to three years old but he is suffering from malnutrition so it is hard to judge his age.


He is a sad little boy at the moment - he plays with his carers but soon stops and sits gently rocking. He is currently in quarantine enjoying lots of food and love and we hope to see his character blossom in the next few weeks as he gets used to company and builds his strength with good food.










David is suffering from malnutrition and he is very underweight, as you can see from his painfully thin arms. He is a sad little soul at the moment but with love and good food, we hope his character will shine through in the next few weeks. He's enjoying some diluted juice and he's got lots of leaves, fruit and vegetables to build his strength.







He is starting to play with our deputy director, Larry Taylor, and here are the boys playing football!











We really need your help to look after David so if you are able to help, you can text APES42 to 70070 followed by £3 or £5 from the UK to feed him today or you can donate here on our website.


Every penny counts in Cameroon and we can't look after these little ones without you, thank you so much for your support! 


Photos © Ape Action Africa






Thinking of volunteering for us....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Who wants to volunteer for us?!


We need volunteers all year round but we are particularly short of people in the summer months of this year because of some rescheduling. So, if you are over 21 years old, passionate about primate conservation and able to do physically demanding work in a hot and humid tropical rainforest, we'd love to hear from you!


There is a lot of information about volunteering for us here and you can download our volunteer handbook here and an application form here.  And we are of course very happy to hear from you at






The work that our volunteers do for us can be unpredictable depending on what's happening at the sanctuary but typically involves preparing food for infant chimps and monkeys, cleaning their overnight sleeping areas, making enrichment for them and observing the groups so that signs of illness or other problems are quickly reported. Repairs to enclosures and climbing frames are important too - you can see volunteers Mark Beverstock and Jacqui Taranto in the photos helping to build a climbing frame for our infant chimpanzees.


It is our policy to minimise human contact with the animals so that they learn to be chimps and monkeys and it reduces the potential for disease transmission. Our infant chimps live opposite the volunteer accommodation and Nkan Daniel's group of gorillas live behind the accommodation so volunteers see and hear them every day.....there's nothing quite like the sound of gorillas chest beating in the trees and little chimps shouting for their milk first thing in the morning to start your day with a smile!


We look forward to hearing from you - drop us an email to to find out more.















Twinkle and Cazza update

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Look at these lovely girls, happily playing together! Twinkle and Cazza met each other a few weeks ago and are almost ready to meet Mac and his group out in the forest. We are so pleased too see them so happy after the traumatic beginnings to their young lives and they have so much to look forward to in Mac's lively group.

Cazza was a tiny baby when she was confiscated by Ofir Drori's LAGA (Last Great Ape Organisation). She was in the sack in the photo which was inside a box, tied to the back of an ape trafficker's motorbike.

Twinkle was kept on her own for two years in a small cage in a hotel. We rescued her towards the end of last year, along with a parrot who was also in a very small cage. She has been in quarantine and able to see Cazza, baby gorilla Chris and Mac's group but this is the first time since she was in the forest with her family over two years ago that she has had physical contact with another chimp.....and she is over the moon about it!



Twinkle and Cazza were unsure of each other at first, sitting in opposite corners of the quarantine cage staring at each other! But they gently approached each other and now they love the rough and tumble that is normal chimpanzee life, which is wonderful to see. Happy times await these two lovely girls in Mac's group of playful infants.

Many thanks to Mark Beverstock and Jacqui Taranto for the photos of Twinkle and Cazza together and to LAGA for the photo of Cazza's confiscation.





















This is Twinkle in a small cage in a hotel where she lived for 2 years before we rescued her towards the end of last year.


















This is Cazza when she was confiscated by LAGA. She was found inside this bag which was in a box that was tied to the back of an ape trafficker's motorbike. LAGA brought her straight to us and she has been at Mefou ever since, soon to join Mac's group!





















Raise a free donation for us....

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Treat your friends and family this Easter with tasty treats from Hotel Chocolat, John Lewis and Thorntons and you can raise a free donation for us!


Simply shop online via Give as you Live and a percentage of your spend will be donated to us, for free!


Find out more at Give as you Live.





Mud pack anyone....

Friday, March 13, 2015


The weekend is thankfully upon us and the Mefou beauty salon is open for business......mud hair treatment anyone?!  Chimps love nothing more than playing in mud and water and little Mbia just had to go that one step further!


Mbia arrived at our sanctuary in November 2011 after a 14 hour journey following her confiscation in Equatorial Guinea. There are no primate sanctuaries in Equatorial Guinea so she was cared for by former Ape Action Africa volunteer Juliet Wright whilst we worked hard with Juliet to arrange Mbia's transport over the border to Cameroon. She soon settled in when she arrived in the forest, quickly making friends with Mac and Ayisha who are still her good friends.


You can help us to continue to look after Mbia and make sure she has enough mud to keep that hair glossy by adopting her for just £30 a year!


Many thanks to Jenny Brown for this great photo of our lovely girl!




Agribusinesses destroy Cameroon's great ape habitat

Friday, February 27, 2015


Greenpeace Africa report devastating destruction in the heart of Cameroon's great ape habitat due to palm oil and rubber plantations.

They have released satellite images showing the destruction of more than 3,000 hectares of forest by the Chinese-owned Hevea Sud in palm oil and rubber concessions. That's about 4,000 football pitches. The concessions are on the border of the Dja Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is home to gorillas, chimpanzees, mandrills and many other primates and forest animals. UNESCO has requested an inspection of the Dja....the local authorities have so far refused.

Cameroon company Azur is targeting an area on the edge of the Ebo forest for a palm oil plantation. Ebo is home to one of the most endangered great apes in the world, the Cameroon-Nigeria chimpanzee. It is also home to the endangered drill - 80% of the world's population of drills live in Cameroon so further destruction of their habitat will be catastrophic for the species.

Find out more from Greenpeace Africa.





Twinkle relaxing

Friday, February 20, 2015


Thank goodness it's Friday! Twinkle is chilling out after a busy week getting to know her new playmate, Cazza!


Twinkle lived on her own for two years in a small cage in a hotel. We rescued her last November and as she completes her quarantine, we have introduced her to Cazza who was confiscated from an ape trafficker.  Cazza was in a bag inside a box that was tied to the back of a motorbike and she was confiscated by LAGA (Last Great Ape Organisation).


Cazza has been living with our gorgeous little gorilla, Baby Chris. We don't normally keep gorillas and chimps together but we think it is better for the orphans to be with each other rather than with humans, they certainly get on very well!  When they are old enough, they will each join a group of their own species.


Cazza is the first contact Twinkle has had with a chimp since she was a baby. They have rapidly become best friends and will soon join Mac's group in the forest....more photos to follow!





Thursday, February 19, 2015



Here is our lovely girl, enjoying a drink of water to cool down from the heat of the day.


Chickaboo was confiscated by Ofir Drori's team at LAGA in 2011 and she arrived at Mefou Primate Park severely traumatised after witnessing the slaughter of her family.  She had a very deep wound to her wrist which was caused either by a snare or by being tied up by the hunters.  Our Director Rachel Hogan and our Controller Appolinaire Ndohoudou soon worked their magic and she started to recover. 


She has now blossomed into a boisterous youngster and loves nothing more than spending her days in rough and tumble with Luci.....and eating, of course, like only gorillas can!  Luci arrived just after Chickaboo after being confiscated from a logging concession and they are now the best of friends.


We are sure that both of our girls are looking forward to having a man about the house when Baby Chris joins them when he is old enough!


Photo © Mark Beverstock





Rachel runs the Race of Hope

Sunday, February 15, 2015


She's done it! Rachel has finished her Race of Hope, a half marathon up and down Mount Cameroon!


She said that it's the toughest race she had done, but it's a challenge that she has wanted to do for a long time and she is really pleased to have completed it, even though she's shattered and covered in black volcanic dust from the mountain!


We are so proud of Rachel who has been training hard in the forest for the race, in addition to running the project! Rachel was the only person from the UK in the race but she was flying the flag for Team GB in the opening ceremony the day before the race.





Rachel is delighted with the support you have given her - you have raised an amazing £4,700 and with gift aid, the total is £4,890 which will go directly to Cameroon to help Rachel and her team care for our animals.


So it's a massive thank you from all the primates at Ape Action Africa!


We're looking forward to next year's race already!




















News from our nursery groups.....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Our little Daphne has grown a lot since her arrival, both physically and in confidence.  You may remember the press reports of Daphne's confiscation along with 7 chimpanzee heads and 30 hands and feet - this is one of the reports (warning: it includes photos of Daphne with the chimp body parts).


Our original plan was to introduce her to Cazza and Baby Chris but Cazza is, well, a bit of a hooligan and way too boisterous for little Daphne!  We rescued Twinkle last November from a small cage in a hotel where she had lived for two years. She is now approaching the end of her quarantine so we have introduced Cazza to Twinkle, the first time in over two years that Twinkle has had contact with another chimpanzee. They weren't sure of each other at first, sitting in opposite corners of the satellite cage, staring at each other! But they are best buddies now and will soon join Mac's group.


So the great news is that little Daphne has been able to join Baby Chris! He is a lot bigger than her but he's so gentle with her and they are getting on very well.  It's so lovely to see Daphne developing and interacting with Chris after her tragic start to life. Daphne will also join Mac's group when she is old enough and Chris will join Chickaboo and Luci in time.


Here's Baby Chris helping little Daphne with her food! It is only with your help that we are able to continue to rescue orphaned infants and give them the best life that we can so please visit our donation page or our adoption pages to give a gift that will help these little ones to a better life. Every penny counts in Cameroon so every donation is very gratefully received. Thank you so much.


Photo © Mark Beverstock




Rachel is running the Race of Hope

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Our Director, Rachel Hogan is running again! This is her most difficult challenge to date, and she has done some amazing things over the last year! She has decided at the last minute (like you do!) to run 20km up a mountain in the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope. The race is next Saturday, 14th February, so we don't have much time to sponsor her and encourage her up the mountain!

Please help Rachel to complete her Race of Hope for all the little ones in her care at Mefou by sponsoring her on Justgiving.


If you are in the UK, you can also sponsor Rachel by texting HOGN88 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070, and you can gift aid your donation.

Mount Cameroon is the highest mountain in West Africa and it is an active volcano, last erupting 5 years ago. The race is up and down the steep, unforgiving slopes of the mountain. Rachel is running 20km which is just short of a half marathon.

The race is famous around the world and the small town of Buea in South West Cameroon is swamped every year with about 50,000 spectators!

Here is Rachel training in the forest - the loneliness of the long distance runner!  Many thanks to our volunteers Mark Beverstock and Jacqui Taranto for helping Rachel with her training! And thank you Mark for your photo.




Bertie is the alpha male once more

Sunday, February 1, 2015


We told you a couple of weeks ago that we finished 2014 with the lovely news that Bertie was back with his group and his life long friend, Ashmael and that he had gracefully handed over his crown of alpha male to Fredo.


Well, we have started 2015 with even better news! In the last few weeks, Bertie has regained all the weight he lost while he was recovering from his awful injuries, his wounds are fully healed and he is back where he belongs at the head of his group! He reigns once again as the alpha male, with Fredo at number two and Eran at number 3 in the hierarchy.


We are so pleased to see Bertie fully recovered and able to regain his alpha position - the King is back!


Photo © Mark Beverstock





















Bertie is back

Sunday, January 11, 2015


We had a lovely end to 2014 with the great news that Bertie is happily settled back into his group, almost fully recovered from the major injuries which almost took his life in August last year.  He was injured when he escaped from his enclosure after the storm that caused severe damage to his enclosure, the adjoiing satellite cage and the enclosure opposite Bertie's.


He has returned to his favourite look out position in the corner of the enclosure, keeping his eye on anyone who might be passing! Bertie and his lifelong companion, Ashmael, spent over 20 years in a small cage in the zoo in Yaounde. We want them to live out their lives in peace so we built an enclosure for them that is away from our main site and is not open to visitors......but Bertie monitors the infrequent passers by and he still does an amazing display to strangers. He also lets the rest of the group know when their carers arrive with food!




Bertie's wound is healing well and he has now gracefully retired from his position as alpha male in favour of Fredo. He will always be the king in our eyes, and we are delighted that the king is back!


Many thanks to Stephanie Brien for the photos of Bertie - he is in the far right of the bottom photo with his life long companion, Ashmeal at the far left of the photo.












IPPL grant award

Thursday, January 1, 2015


We've had a great start to 2015 with the news that the International Primate Protection League will be helping to fund our running costs with a grant of $5,000!


Thank you so much to everyone at IPPL, in particular Shirley McGreal, for a wonderful start to our year. You will help us to buy food for little Daphne and help us to pay her carer, Emmanuel, seen here with a very sleepy Daphne!


Daphne was confiscated in November from ape traffickers along with chimpanzee heads, hands and feet - we are so pleased that she is doing well and is recovering from her ordeal.


Happy new year IPPL and all your gibbons!


Photo © Ruth Mertens








Happy new year....

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Happy new year! Always find time to play this Luci in her box!


Thank you so much for your support in 2014 from all the gorillas, chimps and monkeys, all the staff in Cameroon and the board of trustees in the UK.


Photo © Ruth Mertens










Helping Endangered Primates in Cameroon