Neighbor Ape

Our organization strives to conserve the habitat of wild chimpanzees in southeastern Senegal, to protect the chimpanzees themselves, and to provide for the wellbeing of the Senegalese people who have traditionally lived in the area alongside these chimpanzees. Our goal is to promote sustainable conservation practices that take into account the needs of local humans, in part by providing assistance to the people of the various local villages in the region.
Oct 27, 2014

Taking care of basic medical needs in Senegal

Djendji village elders (accepting school supplies)
Djendji village elders (accepting school supplies)

Neighbor Ape has continued to assist people living in villages adjacent to the Fongoli chimpanzees' home range as well as to students attending school in Kedougou that live in the OBARAR dormitory that we also helped fund. Most medical needs are fortunately minor, such as providing pain reliever and other typical medicine to people living in this area of rural Senegal. We may take for granted our easy access to such resources, but it is difficult for people living in rural areas to acquire even pain reliever without traveling for hours, and they usually forego medicine except in emergencies, as it is a "luxury" that is not affordable to most.

We are also excited to begin work in conjunction with Djendji village to establish a dispensary in this, the largest village within the Fongoli chimpanzees' home range. In addition to providing medicine and first aid supplies to the several hundred people living in Djendji, surrounding villages such as Fongoli, Petit Oubadji, Wakalare, and Djigibadala would have easier access to these resources. (The photo here is of the leader of Djendji village, accepting school supplies donated by Neighbor Ape).

With the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, including the neighboring country of Guinea, we are keen to be prepared to help as best as we can with any preventative measures. We have been given a sizeable donation of PPE (personal protection equipment), such as surgical masks, gowns, gloves and eye goggles by a generous donor. These will be taken to Senegal early in 2015 and donated to either a dispensary in a rural area, such as one at Thiobo village to the south of the Fongoli chimpanzees' home range, or to a small clinic in the town of Kedougou. 

Sep 9, 2014

Dormitory is complete!

Girls
Girls' & boys' residences at the dormitory

All of us at Neighbor Ape are thrilled to announce that the dormitory for village children, built in conjunction with the Senegalese organization OBARAR, is now open to students! 

Students were able to move into the dorm late last spring, and they finished their school year there. Most of these children are Beudick, from the village of Thiobo and other nearby villages.

Several Bassari children from Djendji-Bassari (also called Petit Oubadji) also live in the OBARAR dormitory and receive funding for their room and board via Neighbor Ape.

While the dorm is functional, several buildings are in the process of being finished, including a visitor's room and an extra chaperone room so that the dorm houses both a male and female house parent.

This project stems largely from the very generous donation of Drs. Jewel Slesnick and Harold Marder, but numerous smaller contributions to Neighbor Ape made such a feat possible!

Continued funding of schoolchildren that live within the Fongoli chimpanzees' home range means that good relations are maintained in our efforts to conserve these endangered great apes in addition to the equally important goal of enabling rural children to receive the best possible education. 

We plan on having a grand opening in October for the upcoming school year, and we are now going to be raising funds to complete the dispensary on site at the dormitory.

Thank you again for all your support!

Showers & toilets (very important!) at the dorm
Showers & toilets (very important!) at the dorm
Rooms for the dormitory chaperones (& the well)
Rooms for the dormitory chaperones (& the well)
Visitors
Visitors' rooms & kitchen are almost done
Aug 28, 2014

Toto will be moving on soon!

Toto and old friend Tigre
Toto and old friend Tigre

Toto has just turned two! And, he has been in our care (specifically, under the care of Janis Carter of the Baboon Islands Chimpanzee Sanctuary in The Gambia) for almost two years. While captive apes are generally a year ahead of their wild counterparts in skeletal & physiological development, Toto seems to have gone above and beyond! He is almost as large as juvenile Fongoli chimpanzee Cy, who will be turning five this year!

While Toto's excellent health and large size will help him in some ways to adapt to a social (chimpanzee!) environment, he is technically still an infant. We are currently working with Senegalese authorities to determine Toto's next home, and this will be decided - hopefully - by the end of the year.

In preparation for Toto's next home, we have been taking him out "en brousse" (out in the field) almost daily when possible. He is quite the expert at tree climbing although he does often walk bipedally, most certainly because he is imitating his human caretakers! He has outgrown being able to associate with his feline companions - he is just too rough - and we are looking forward to being able to introduce him to other chimpanzees.

We plan on caring for Toto indefinitely if necessary - for example, if his permanent home will be in a sanctuary that either already exists or one that will be built. To that end, we will be introducing various fundraising campaigns, such as calendar sales (see photo of handsome Fongoli chimp Bo on a sample calendar page!). We also hope to use Toto's story to raise awareness about chimpanzees in Senegal, where most of the country's apes live outside of officially protected areas.

Given the increase in mining activity in this country, chimpanzees will inevitably come into contact with humans more frequently, and educating Senegalese and others on the complexity, intelligence and remarkably humanlike aspects of chimpanzee behavior will help prevent persecution of this species in an increasingly populous area. We think that Toto's story will resonate with people, and the opportunity to share his story via workshops and other ways is only made possible by the kindness of generous donors such as yourselves!

Toto has no problems climbing these days!
Toto has no problems climbing these days!
Sample calendar page for Toto fundraiser!
Sample calendar page for Toto fundraiser!

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