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‘Accra’ Arrives in Accra.

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The Endangered Primate Centre of the Accra Zoo has taken delivery of a monkey called ‘Accra” as part of a breeding programme run by the Ghana Wildlife Society in collaboration with the West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA).

The monkey is a female Mangabee, one of two endangered species being conserved at the Primate centre, and was brought from the Barcelona Zoo in Spain to Accra on a KLM flight last Friday, as part of the breeding programme.

The programme aims to link together the captive species of Mangabees around the world in order to encourage genetically healthier and actively breeding populations.

Madam Katherine Silenga, Country coordinator of WAPCA, speaking to the GNA, said the two species of monkeys: the White Naped Mangabees and the Roloway, are  highly endangered species endemic to only western Ghana and eastern Ivory Coast, thus the need to properly conserve and encourage healthy breeding to increase the size of their population.

She said activities such as hunting and clearing of lands have greatly reduced the number of these monkeys in the wild.

The long-term aim of the programme, she said, is to re-introduce the monkeys back to their natural habitats. However, in about two years, they would be sent to a semi-free enclosure, possibly in Ankasa in the Western Region, where they would learn to fend for themselves in the wild. They would learn among other things to hunt for food and protect themselves from predators before they are released into the wild.

Madam Silenga emphasized the need to create more awareness among Ghanaians on environmental conservation issues including the need to conserve endangered species, whether plants or animals.

“Everybody has a responsibility to manage their natural resources so that future generations will still have a chance to see monkeys in the wild or walk through a forest, otherwise we would have a world with no trees or some animals and that would be very sad” she stated.

She also revealed that Centre, located in the Achimota Forest, would be open to the public early 2012.

Dr. Ziekah Mayir, Veterinary Surgeon at the Primate Centre, said the Ghana centre was the best breeding group so far, recording the best births and no deaths. The centre currently has 13 Mangabees including Accra, eight males and five females, most of which are originally from Ghana.

He said ‘Accra’ had undergone all the necessary medical examinations and has been proven to be very healthy and would be a great addition to the ones already at the centre.

“We are very excited about the arrival of this monkey as it would help with breeding and promote the conservation of these monkeys”, he said.

The programme involves only the Mangabees as there are not many Roloways to encouraged breeding. There is only one currently at the centre but officials expressed the hope that more would be found and the breeding programme replicated for them.

Source: GNA

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