Neighbor Ape continues to support a number of schoolchildren at various levels of their education in Senegal. Anna is finishing up her final year of nursing school! Katherine and Natalie are continuing their studies in Tambacounda, and Katherine is already thinking about attending university in Dakar upon graduation. Allamoutah is completing high school in Kedougou, while Alex and Nadej are supported in grade school in Kedougou.
We are also helping support Fongoli orphan chimpanzee Toto, in conjunction with Janis Carter (of Baboon Islands Chimpanzee Sanctuary in The Gambia) and the West African Chimpanzee Foundation. Toto needs constant care, so we help fund 2 full-time caretakers, in addition to helping supply diapers, food and other supplies.
Toto began visiting the savanna-woodland over one month ago, and he has made great progress in climbing especially! He is large for his age, which is not surprising since captive apes mature more rapidly than wild ones. Toto will need to be cared for until he is almost 2 years of age, at which time we will decide which option is best for him. Potential options include introducing Toto back to his natal group (the Fongoli chimpanzee community), introducing Toto to a sanctuary in West Africa, or establishing a sanctuary or similar facility for Toto and a number of other captive chimpanzees in Senegal.
In conjunction with the West African Chimpanzee Foundation, we plan on assisting Janis Carter in making Toto's story available to people in Senegal as part of an educational program that informs Senegalese people of the value of the chimpanzees living in their country, and that portrays Senegal's chimpanzees as a national treasure for this country.
We continue to fund children of various ages, ranging from elementary school to high school, in the regional towns of Kedougou and Tambacounda this year, but in this report Neighbor Ape will spotlight our oldest student. Anna Boubane is of Bassari background and grew up in rural Kedougou in southeastern Senegal. Anna completed high school in Kedougou with the help of Neighbor Ape. In Senegal, more and more young girls are given the opportunity of attending school, although completing high school is a significant achievement! Anna moved on to the capitol of Senegal, Dakar, to attend nursing school. She is completing her schooling this year, with the support of Neighbor Ape. Her program consists of a rigorous 3-year program, which is also relatively expensive given the laboratory supplies that students must purchase in addition to uniforms and textbooks. We are very excited that Anna is so close to achieving her goal, and both she and Neighbor Ape hope she can return to rural southeastern Senegal to put her skills to good use. Healthcare is relatively expensive as well as difficult to access in southeastern Senegal, and Neighbor Ape has also just embarked upon a new initiative to help assist villagers in this regard (look for a separate report!).
In chimpanzee conservation news, we have embarked upon a new project following the tragic death of Fongoli chimpanzee Tia. Tia apparently died of a snakebite, leaving her 2-month old son Toto and her 5-year old daughter Aimee, orphans. We had previously rescued Aimee from poachers in 2009 and returned her to Tia. Toto could not have survived without his mother, and it was unlikely another lactating female would also be able to care for Toto. We are now caring for Toto until he is old enough to go to a sanctuary or to be returned to his group. There are many variables that will be considered in our decision, but Toto is doing fine so far. We turned the lead care of Toto over to Janis Carter, an expert in caring for chimpanzees, but we continue to help in his care. Janis runs the Baboon Islands Chimpanzee Sanctuary in The Gambia as well as conservation projects in Guinea and Senegal. And, with the assistance of the Senegal government, we will all ensure Toto will have the best life possible for him.
Our organization continues to expand, and we welcome these new opportunities and responsibilities - we look forward to a challenging but rewarding 2013!
Neighbor Ape is currently involved in several ongoing activities, mainly educational in nature. We are assisting OBRAR, a Senegalese organization, in building a dormitory for Beudick children living in outlying villages, in order for them to attend school in the regional town of Kedougou. Progress continues on dormitory construction, with the foundations for the dormitories (boys & girls) as well as housing for a chaperone and a kitchen being built. Additionally, a well and a latrine are being dug. The dormitory should be completed in time for the 2013 school year.
Conservation steward Dondo Kante continues to conduct educational workshops at villages in southeastern Senegal. These workshops are conducted in stages. The 1st is an introduction to chimpanzee behavior and ecology. The 2nd stage involves conversations with small groups of people in a particular village about chimpanzees and any questions or concerns they might have, including discussion of real or potential conflict. Finally, the 3rd stage consists of presenting conservation issues that chimpanzees face in the region.
Neighbor Ape continues to fund schoolchildren of various ages and stages. Anna Boubane is completing her third and final year of nursing school in Dakar. Katherine and Natalie Kante are in high school in the regional city of Tambacounda, while Alex and Nadege Kante are attending elementary schools in Kedougou. Allamoutah Camara attends high school in Kedougou. We are preparing to purchase a year's worth of school supplies for the village of Djendji, which lies within the home range of the Fongoli chimpanzee community.
We continue to work to identify conflicts between humans and chimpanzees in the region through our Eco-Ranger program. Currently, three eco-rangers are working in the areas of Angafou, Bandafassi and Lande, Senegal to monitor chimpanzee presence via nest and food trace evidence and to update us on any problems that may occur between chimpanzees and the humans they live alongside in this region.
Since Neighbor Ape was initiated in 2008, we have been involved in various projects that support people in rural southeastern Senegal in efforts to provide for their well being as well as the chimpanzees that we study, which live alongside them. In addition to supporting a team of eco-rangers, who patrol areas for signs of chimpanzees as well as conservation problems, this past year we have been able to provide support for a number of schoolchildren, buy supplies for a school and help start building a dormitory for rural children.
Specifically, we provided a year’s worth of school supplies to the village of Djendji, within the Fongoli chimpanzees’ home range area, for the second year in a row, giving all children an equal opportunity to have access to the necessary supplies associated with this free public village school. We’ve also been able to provide mosquito nets to the village of Fongoli, which also lies within the Fongoli chimpanzees’ home range area, for the fourth year in a row. This past year we supported three children from rural southeastern Senegal in school in Kedougou: Alex and Nadege Kante attended Catholic mission school and, we supported Allamouta Camara’s extra costs associated with public high school. Additionally, we supported two children from Kedougou [Katherine and Natalie Kante] in Catholic Mission School in the regional city of Tambacounda, as well as one young woman from Kedougou, Anna Boubane, in nursing school in Dakar. This support has been ongoing since 2006 and has varied in terms of the number of students supported, usually from 7-9 students. Finally, with the generous donation of Harold Marder and Jewel Slesnick, we are helping the Senegalese association OBRAR to build a dormitory so that Beudick children from the village of Thiobo can attend high school in the town of Kedougou.
In terms of our chimpanzee conservation efforts, we have funded several eco-rangers (in the villages of Angafou, Bandafassi and Lande in southeastern Senegal) who survey chimpanzee ranges for signs of these apes but also help identify and communicate any conservation problems or conflicts with people in these areas to us. We have conducted our second series of Conservation Workshops this year, also in the area of southeastern Senegal, including these same villages as well as several others, for a total of over a dozen different workshops, some of which involved multiple villages. In addition to educating the people of these areas about chimpanzees in general, we also return to discuss questions and real or potential problems they might have with chimpanzees living in their area (for example, crop raiding), and we end the series with a presentation on the problems that chimpanzees themselves face. We have started on a third workshop series, in conjunction with the Faleme Chimpanzee Conservation Project in the northern and eastern portion of this part of Senegal, targeting two villages at the beginning of this phase: Kharakene and Bofeto.
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