Ghana Sets Out to Save Endangered Monkey Species

NAIROBI, KENYA — Authorities in Ghana are trying to save an endangered monkey species from extinction. Authorities say human activities are destroying the habitats of the white-naped mangabey monkeys that only live in a few parts of West Africa.

At the Accra Zoo in Ghana, a worker is feeding some of the few remaining white-naped mangabey monkeys. Eighteen of these monkeys found homes in this zoo after their habitat in the wild was destroyed.

Authorities say human activities, such as deforestation and mining, are significantly reducing the population of this species in Ghana.

Stephen Tamanja is the manager at the Accra Zoo.

“The environment or the habitat of the animals we have are affected by human activities. That is just an example. Other attributes could be there. And so, sometimes it forces animals to lose some of their habitats,” said Tamanja.

Wildlife Vets International, a charity organization providing veterinary support to international wildlife, found that by the end of October 2020, there were only an estimated 1,000 white-naped mangabey monkeys in the wild globally.

The monkeys are called white Naped Mangabey because of their gray body, white "collar" neck, and red crown physical features.

Activists are pressing the United Nations to adopt animal welfare as one of its focal activities, in the same manner the world body focuses on protecting human rights and maintaining international peace and security.

The goal, advocates say, is to enforce protection of endangered animals, especially in parts of Africa where animals are treated poorly. David Nyoagbe of Africa Network for Animal Welfare explains why.

“In this part of West Africa, animals are not actually regarded as living beings. People mistreat them so with our education now in schools and the communities, animal welfare is gaining ground and people are beginning to respect animals. Cruelty is now on the lower side,” he said.

Meyir Ziekah, a veterinarian for Ghana’s forestry commission, told VOA that residents of some communities are helping the state in breeding the endangered monkeys and then releasing them into the wild.

“The NGO together with us is actually doing community sensitization and looking for alternative livelihood for the community members who were into hunting and some of these anthropogenic activities that affect these primates. So that when these animals are released, the community feels [like it is] part of the whole project, they have other things to do for their livelihoods,” said Ziekah.

The white-naped mangabey monkeys were once widespread in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, but they are now only found in isolated pockets of forests.

Ghanaian authorities hope the recovery efforts will help increase their numbers in the near future.

Source: Voice of America

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