Ape Action Africa
September 13th, 2016 by Avant Card
Inspired by our new Campaign Manager Rebecca Pascoe’s stories about Ape Action Africa and their incredible work (and all the wonderful photographs), Avant Card is sponsoring a campaign to promote donations to the organisation. From Wednesday 21 September, it will be on display Australia-wide in cafes and bars, arts and culture venues, universities, high schools and regional hot spots.
“Ape Action Africa is passionate about primate conservation. We have been working for 20 years on the frontline in Cameroon, where wild gorillas and chimpanzees are on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and poaching. We take direct action by rescuing orphaned apes, providing them with individual care and giving them a safe forest home where they can live with their own kind.
We began working in Cameroon in 1996, after witnessing the suffering of primates kept in deplorable conditions at Mvog Betsi zoo. Our goal of improving their living conditions grew to include the establishment of Mefou Sanctuary in a protected area of forest outside the capital. Mefou is now one of the largest primate sanctuaries in Africa and home to 30 western lowland gorillas, more than 100 chimpanzees and 200 monkeys orphaned by the illegal bush-meat and pet trades. The animals are cared for a by our team of dedicated local staff, supported by volunteers; all passionate about primate conservation.
Apes and monkeys are threatened across Central and West Africa by habitat loss and hunting. Cameroon’s 20 million hectares of tropical rain forest is their home, but it is being destroyed by logging, driven by demand from western countries. When they enter the rain forest, logging companies cut huge roads direct into its heart, providing easy access for hunters. In Cameroon alone, thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees are slaughtered each year. Hunting them is illegal but the meat is prized as a delicacy and commands high prices around the world. Orphaned babies are often sold into the illegal pet trade.
We play a vital role in the enforcement of Cameroon’s wildlife laws, by providing sanctuary for orphaned primates after they have been confiscated from hunters and traders. Although we have saved many hundreds of animals, we recognise that their long-term future is bleak unless they are protected in the wild. Our thriving education program encourages local school children to visit our sanctuary to see Cameroon’s wildlife in its natural environment and we work with local communities to develop long-term solutions to ensure the survival of primates in the wild. Our longer-term goal is the identification of areas that can be set aside as protected habitat for rescued gorillas and chimpanzees. It is our hope that one day the animals in our care will be released back into the wild, where they belong.”