Inside the Achimota forest, an infant’s mother, Chaachelle, cradles her baby protectively in her arms whilst she watches other monkeys screech on the bamboos in the zoo.
Mangabey, the endangered species which is almost extinct due to excessive hunting, increased habitat loss and bush fires in Ghana, now has a new member, Peter.
Born in 2020, a year when the world has been hit by a devastating pandemic, Peter is the only monkey of his kind the Accra Zoo welcomed last year.
“The birth of a new mangabey monkey is good news to the monkey population and those of us working to keep them from extinction are happy for it,” said Nuria Badiella, Research and Education Coordinator for the West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA), a local Non-Governmental Organization.
WAPCA has been working with men and women at the Accra since it was moved from Kanda to the Achimota Forest in 2008 to protect animals ahose lives are at risk of extinction.
For them, the birth of Peter ignites the light of survival for the species which some years back was very popular in the tropical forest of West Africa.
“The birth of a new mangabey is a huge significance for the population of the mangabeys. This is the biggest reserve population we have in the world and we hope that they will help us eliminate the risk of extinction of the species once we are able to reintroduce them into the rainforest,” Nuria said.
The Accra zoo has had a very low profile since its relocation and attracted a lesser number of visitors too.
The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, the government agency responsible for zoos in Ghana have been working, under difficult conditions like inadequate funding, to keep the animal here alive.
“A lot of people do not know that the zoo has been moved from Kanda to this area, so our main aim is to promote this zoo, so that other people will know about it and come and see the animals.
“Talking about Peter as one of the mangabeys that have been born this year, is a way that people will know that these animals are very close to extinction and we need to protect them so that we can promote tourism,” says Public Relations Officer for the Wildlife Division, Ernestina Anie.
The Conservation campaigners, would release him into the Ghanaian forest soon hoping that he would be able to help bring forth many more of its kind.
Currently, the Endangered Primate Breeding Centre (EPBC) in the Accra Zoo houses three adult males and six adult females, two sub-adult males, five juveniles white-naped mangabey, and one adult male Roloway monkey making a total of 17 animals.
Source: Ghana News