Stories of old ladies with a house full of cats and conservationists working against the odds to save species on the brink of extinction have a great thread binding them together; a passion for animals.
These people are a bulwark against an unblinking exploitation of our relationship with the natural world.
Better Than A Kennel
Volunteers at the pet rescue centre in Somerset where we found our current dog, Boots, spend days a week working for free to ensure as many dogs as possible are re-homed.
The Dogs Trust and PDSA work on shoe-string budgets to give veterinary care to pets whose owners cannot afford average vet bills.
Protecting Endangered Gorillas
It’s good to know that there are such dedicated, compassionate folk about.
Ape Action Africa is based in Cameroon and exists to conserve a primate population under threat by protecting orphaned monkeys, gorillas and chimps in a forest compound outside Yaoundé. The work is outstanding, the budget tiny and the fierce dedication of the director, Rachel Hogan, keepers, volunteers and trustees truly admirable.
Nicky is running the Loch Ness 10km as part of the Loch Ness Marathon at the end of September on behalf of Ape Action Africa. Catch up with her training diary on her Just Giving Page.
For someone who rarely graces the charity gala scene let alone wears black tie, when it came time to auction items generously donated by businesses in Bristol on behalf of Ape Action Africa, my eyes were well and truly opened!
Either the wine was doing the talking or people who had paid to come to support the charity’s work on primate conservation were digging deep – and I’m pretty sure it was the latter – but the amount raised to help keep the conservation centre in Cameroon going was staggering.
The bidding was brilliantly hosted by Jamie Breese, who really got into his stride as the last item came up for auction. The prize was no less than a small unpainted Wow! Gorilla, held back by the artist for Ape Action Africa. For those who don’t know what the Wow! Gorilla is click here … a fantastic marketing campaign to highlight the plight of the great ape and raise money for conservation.
This now iconic fibre glass shape, whose larger compatriots had been auctioned for tens of thousands earlier in the month, caused an excitment that reached fever pitch as the bids flowed thick and fast. The last emblematic gorilla finally sold for £2700. Just one of many great items that went under the hammer and raised desperately needed funds for this fantastic organisation.
Congratulations to the organisers and to Caroline McLaney, CEO, who made it to the auction despite suffering from the after-effects of maleria! I was also pleased to see that Mendip Media’s pro-bono video was shown during the evening. We’ll continue to support Ape Action Africa by archiving and editing and filming for it whenever the need arises.
Children at the local Metet school in Cameroon got the surprise of their lives recently when a gorilla arrived in their classroom!
The visitor – a gorilla sculpture – was given to the children to decorate and keep by Bristol Zoo Gardens as part of its ‘Wow! Gorillas’ public art event. The zoo, a key supporter of Ape Action Africa, has launched the event as part of the celebrations in its 175th anniversary year.
Ape Action Africa education officer Elvis Chefor brought the statue into the classroom and asked each of the students to create a design for the gorilla. All 63 children approached the task with excitement, using paper and pencils to express their ideas.
The children voted for their favourite design then brought it to life, each child joining in the fun to paint part of the statue. The day was aimed at celebrating the importance of gorillas says Elvis Chefor. “We had some very impressive artwork and the children left for home with smiles on their faces”.
Many thanks to Bristol Zoo for helping to make this a fun event for the children in Cameroon!
Ape Action Africa‘s Caroline McLaney and Kirsty Godwin-Pearson from Bristol Neurophysio were guests this morning on the Graham Torrington show on BBC Radio Bristol, talking about the need for neurological physiotherapy for the chimpanzees of the charity’s Mefou National Park in Cameroon.
Kirsty spent a month at the park in October 2010, treating Great Apes with neurological problems and meningitis leading to partial or full paralysis. She also trained keepers and volunteers in basic techniques so that the therapy could continue after she returned to the UK.
Ape Action Africa is supported in a marketing capacity by Mendip Media. It operates on the frontline of the illegal bushmeat trade in West Africa, rescuing and rehabilitating chimps, gorillas and other primates threatened with extinction by this brutal commerce.
You can listen to the interview here (skip to 2:09) – http://ow.ly/4hnzR (expires on 25th March 2011)
The charity that we support has appeared in the Sunday Mirror today. The article entitled ‘From Birmingham to the Jungles of Cameroon: How Rachel Hogan became the new Dian Fossey’ is in the centrefold of the main paper.
Please do pick up a copy and read about the amazing work that Ape Action Africa does to support the gorillas and chimps of Central and West Africa.
All of us at Mendip Media are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of the Director of the charity Ape Action Africa, Avi Sivan, in Cameroon yesterday. Avi and two other people were killed when their helicopter crashed on its way to the capital Yaounde.
Avi was a tireless supporter of Ape Action Africa right from the very early days of CWAF fourteen years ago. His strength, leadership and incredible generosity helped us succeed in giving new hope to hundreds of abused and orphaned primates. Our hearts are with Avi’s wife Talila and her family, Rachel Hogan and all the members of our team who have lost a true friend.
Mendip Media’s support for the charity will continue.
We have just complete a new video for ape conservation charity Ape Action Africa using footage provided by fundraisers, it follows the relocation of one of the charity’s chimp families from their old enclosure to a spacious new one.
You can read more about our work with Ape Action Africa and why we support this charity on our website.
We’ve been discussing the best way to get information about the Ape Action Africa primate project out of the forest and into our inboxes. The remote location in a national park in Cameroon has no telephone, let alone broadband, connection. This means that getting a flow of stories that matter to people in the West that are interested, is really difficult.
We’re relying on Rachel, the project manager, to remember to email some bullet points about what has been happening at Mefou when she is in the capital Younde; this amongst her more pressing duties of saving lives, dealing with the authorities and generally keeping the ship afloat. Ummm, it’s not really a solution.
It just goes to show that the information ebb and flow we’ve come to take for granted, is still a way off in most parts of the world. Fortunately, we do have some ideas involving the volunteer programme out in Cameroon, and there are rumours that telephone lines may be coming to Mefou soon!