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.
Nov 19, 2015

A New School Year Has Started in Senegal!

Presenting school supplies in Djendji village 2015
Presenting school supplies in Djendji village 2015

We have a few items of news to share here at Neighbor Ape! Pharmacy school student Anna successfully completed her program and is completing her residency at the Acacia Pharmacy in Dakar. She is pictured here proudly holding her diploma!

We delivered our annual gift of school supplies to Djendji village, also shown here in a photo. The Fongoli chimpanzees have been spending a lot of time around Djendji village this month, enjoying the Cissus fruit and other foods that grow in fallow fields that are regenerating into savanna woodland. One of the reasons they are comfortable with spending so much time in close proximity to the village (sometimes within 20 meters of a field or dirt track) is that Djendji has been here for more than 100 years, and the Diahanke people that live in the village do not hunt or otherwise harm the chimpanzees. 

Finally, we are sponsoring several students at various levels in schools in Kedougou and Dakar. We are sponsoring two elementary school children (a boy and a girl) in Dakar and two pre-high school students (2 young men) in Kedougou.

Our educational programs are one of the main areas of focus at Neighbor Ape, and we could not provide such valuable opportunities for young people without your continued support. Thank you so much!

Anna (& daughter) with her pharmacy school diploma
Anna (& daughter) with her pharmacy school diploma
Sep 3, 2015

Update on Orphan chimp Toto

Researcher Michel Sadiakho & Toto in 2012
Researcher Michel Sadiakho & Toto in 2012

Orphan Fongoli chimpanzee Toto is doing well thanks to generous donors such as yourself! He is healthy, active and still very LARGE for his age - he just celebrated his third birthday.

Toto goes out to "the bush" every day and spends most of his time there, unless it is raining steadily. He is now an expert climber and will literally play all day if someone is willing to play with him. He is very comfortable climbing trees and even alerted his caretaker to the presence of a snake one day (everyone escaped unharmed, including the snake).

We are in the process of securing a new home for Toto, but this takes time, as chimpanzees require intensive caretaking of one form or another whether they are semi-captive or semi-free-ranging in almost all cases. We have decided not to try and reintroduce Toto to his natal group given his size (he would be treated as a strange male juvenile rather than a dependant infant) and the fact that artisinal gold mining activity in the Kedougou region would put him and his group at risk from humans if he was accepted back into the Fongoli chimpanzee community.

We are talking with regional chimpanzee sanctuaries to try and secure a place for Toto but will likely need to help raise funds for additional construction of facilities at any sanctuary he may go to. Toto seems very happy but, of course, needs contact with other chimpanzees. We believe he will do well given his size and his relative fearlessness! Unlike almost all orphan chimpanzees that are lucky enough to reach a sanctuary, Toto did not experience the type of trauma associated with being torn from his mother. He was rescued by observers he knew (shown in photos here) and although he must have been traumatized by the death of his mother, he was comforted by his 4-year old sister on the day observers found him  until they finally picked him up at the end of the day, realizing no other chimpanzees were going to find him. Toto would surely die during the night. He was taken care of under the authority and guidance of Janis Carter who has run the Baboon Islands Chimpanzee Sanctuary in The Gambie for decades, with the aid of the Friends of Animals organization, so he never experienced the neglect and abuse that most orphan chimpanzees go through after being taken from their mothers and sold as pets.

We will continue to keep you updated on Toto's welfare and hope to place him by the end of this year. Thank you agaiin for all your generosity - Toto sends warm pant-hoots!

Researcher Stacy Lindshield & Toto in 2015
Researcher Stacy Lindshield & Toto in 2015
Jun 30, 2015

Education & Conservation Update in Senegal

Chimps drink at a mining excavation.
Chimps drink at a mining excavation.

The school year in Senegal has just wrapped up, and students have finished their exams and are off on "vacance" until next October. The OBARAR dormitory housed about 15 students, fewer than last year, but a good number nonetheless. We are hoping to have more students in the dorm next year again.

In terms of our education projects, we again contributed a year's worth of supplies to the village of Djendji's school. This has been one of our longest traditions at Neighbor Ape, and it is fitting that Djendji is also the village that the chimpanzees in the area have been living near for the longest period of time - Djendji village was established over 100 years ago. 

Neighbor Ape continues to support Kedougou area children in various schools in the area, including covering the room and board for several students at the OBARAR dormitory. These students come from Kedougou as well as the Fongoli area, including the Bassari village of Petit Oubadji. We also help fund girls who attend a private school in Tambacounda as well as a young boy attending school in Dakar. 

Finally, we hope to reinstate our conservation-education workshops in late 2015 or in 2016. In discussions with the local branch of the Forestry Department of Senegal, we have made plans to further our reach in terms of our 3-pronged approach to educating people about chimpanzees. After an informational presentation by Project Manager Dondo Kante, he returns and has informal conversations with villagers over tea (Dondo drinks lots of tea at this time!) and, ultimately, he returns to give a more conservation-oriented presentation. He stresses the fact that many of the problems chimpanzees face are the same ones local people also face, such as health concerns brought about by the use of mercury in gold mining (see photo of Fongoli chimps drinking at a mining site where water has collected during the dry season when water is scarce) and forest destruction (see photo of Fongoli chimps examining a logger's camp). 

With the generous gifts of donors, we are secure in being able to continue our education-related programs, which also serve to assist in our efforts to conserve chimpanzees in Senegal. 

Fongoli chimps examine tree cut for boards.
Fongoli chimps examine tree cut for boards.
 
   

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