"Go wild for life" is the theme of the World Environment Day (WED) 2016 and we have been called to promote wild life conservation and take action against illegal trade of wild animal parts.
SOFER Initiative joined the world in this celebration by partnering with Pandrillus (Drill Ranch) to promote the Great Afi Mountains in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria and their almost 30 years of dedication to breeding and rehabilitation of over 500 Drill monkeys and Chimpanzees in this over 5 sq km of untampered natural rain forest.
Volunteers from SOFER Initiative took a 7 hours road trip from Calabar to the Afi Mountains to work with the ranch keepers to help save the lives of these wild primates.
The journey from beautiful Calabar through the quarries of Akankpa, the green hills of Biase and the meandering roads of Ekom was nothing short of awesome for the enthusiastic volunteers. Buanchor in Boki local government area of Cross River State plays host to the Pandrillus (Drill ranch) team with Peter and Liza as the American founders.
4 days of physical labour, learning about the rain forest and wildlife, listening to amazing jungle stories, discovering wild medicinal plants, feeding primates and living in the most incredible cabins had volunteers wanting an extension of their stay at Afi.
We met Amina, a sweet Chimpanzee that was held captive and recovered from Norther Nigeria. She was proper and the politest of all the Chimps, that would turn her back to be groomed (caressed) by visitors when offered something to eat. We all connected with her and everyone of us would give her extra food because she made caring for the primates feel like you were with another human. She is a special Chimp but she is blind and under rehabilitation. She is just one case among tens of these monkeys suffering from man seeking to dominate and take everything including their homes.
Pandrillus is a not-for-profit that does not get any form of government funding yet they protect and conserve the Nigerian heritage even as non-nationals. Support, visit, donate or volunteer today.
Go to https://web.facebook.com/Pandrillus-379304355421353/?fref=ts and commit to helping them save these awesome creatures.
Tired but always smiling SOFER Volunteers after feeding the Chimps.
Depulpping (washing off) of the pulp of irvin gaboneses (ogbono) used to grow more trees to produce monkey mangos.
Digging a 3 by 3 pit for collection of non-recyclable waste.
Food delight with Debby and Michelle (MTN rice)
After a hard days job, the crew settle down for a meal at the camp.
TShawn strike a pose at the 25 meters high, 400 meters long and 10 platform canopy walkway that was inaugurated by Prince Charles of England.
The simplest and most comfortable cabin with a 360 view around the forest.
Top Chef Michelle slicing for dinner.
Debby washing off the sweat with natural spring water after a trip to the canopy walkway.
Final photo with staff cook Martha serving as our Drill Ranch board.
Presentation of our Go Wild For Life T-Shirt to Ellie the American Volunteer and Ranch manager
Hanging out at Cabin 6.
SOFER and Pandrillus together.