A rare white-naped mangabey (Cercocebus lunulatus) monkey, has been born at the Endangered Primate Breeding Centre (EPBC) of the Accra Zoological Gardens, in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.

The white-naped mangabey, is one of the species found in West Africa to have been listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as Endangered. This means that, the species are at risk of possible extinction in the near future either globally or at a particular political jurisdiction.

The monkeys at EPBC participate in the European Association of Zoo and Aquarium (EAZA) exsitu breeding program and managed by the West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA), a local NGO operating in Ghana and Ivory Coast in partnership with the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana.

Born by parents called Chaachelle (Mother) and Kwaku (father), a statement by the West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA) said, it was all joy and happiness for the parents to welcome the new baby born amid the covid-19 pandemic.

According to the statement, the birth of the offspring is hugely significant for the species, as their population numbers reduce in the wild due to hunting and increased habitat loss and fragmentation.

“It is hoped that this zoo population will one day be ready to reintroduce back into the Ghanaian rainforests, and increase the wild population and eliminate the risk of extinction,” the statement added.

The statement said, in order for WAPCA to maintain the upkeep of the primates at the centre, it is offering an adoption program where people can pay a small fee to adopt an animal kept at the centre.

“The adopter gets to enjoy two free tickets to the zoo, as well as a small gift and quarterly updates. To support the safeguarding of this Endangered species and their future habitat please visit www.wapca.org”, it said.

Safeguarding the white-naped Mangabey population

To achieve a holistic goal of safeguarding the white-naped Mangabey population and their future habitat, WAPCA has set up a reserve breeding centre within Accra Zoo which is found in the heart of Achimota forest since 2008. Some primates in this centre were confiscated from the pet trade market while others brought in from European zoos under the recommendations of European Endangered Species Program (EEP).

Periodically WAPCA exchange animals with other European zoological collections in order to maintain genetic diversity and also ensure strong and healthy captive population.

Currently, the centre houses three (3) adult males and six (6) adult females, two (2) sub-adult males, five (5) juveniles white-naped mangabey and one (1) adult male Roloway monkey making a total of seventeen (17) animals.

By Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda