Wild Futures not only works to end primate suffering in the UK, but provides advice, practical support and funding to overseas projects which are working to protect primate habitats and improve primate welfare.
Last year we were lucky enough to be able to support three amazing projects through our small grants scheme. These projects are always looking for new supporters and funders in order to continue their valuable work in conservation, rehabilitation and education. Each of the projects has been in touch since the grants were awarded to let us know how that money has made a difference to them.
The Vervet Monkey Foundation, (VMF), in the Limpopo Province of South Africa , rescues and rehabilitates orphaned and injured primates and provides permanent sanctuary to those individuals who cannot be released. Vervet monkeys are persecuted as “pests” in some of the areas where they occur, so the VMF has their hands full with over 500 monkey residents at their sanctuary.
The grant from Wild Futures enabled VMF to employ additional local temporary staff so the VMF team could continue working on the ongoing care and husbandry of the rescued primates.This also enabled VMF to replace an old enclosure within their projected three-month period time frame. Not only did they manage to complete this on schedule, but they were able to double the size of the old enclosure, which will greatly improve the lives of the monkeys in their care. One of the employees, Lucas, showed so much enthusiasm that they decided to take him on permanently. They built new introduction enclosures first so that they could expand the existing territory. The enclosure was built from a new design to improve on the health and safety for the volunteers working outside the enclosures. The monkeys are now enjoying their new space, climbing the trees and foraging in the grassy areas.
Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation (BMAC), based in Morocco, looks to safeguard the future of the Barbary macaque, its habitats, and the livelihoods of the local communities who are part of the ecosystem in which the macaques live. They raise awareness about the macaques through developing programmes to benefit the local people to foster a positive relationship between the local community and the macaques. They also fight to end the illegal trade of macaques whilst helping to preserve the forests for the animals who depend on them.
The Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation were provided with funding for a portable education unit to continue their work, to not only raise local awareness about Barbary macaque conservation, but to also promote participation. They were able to reach around 500 children of primary school age with their portable exhibition. This was a big hit with both older and younger children and one of its outings was on International Macaque Day. Raising awareness in this way has been very effective for BMAC, in one week they received more than 30 calls from concerned Moroccans informing them of a man with a macaque being used for entertainment purposes. As a result of these calls they were able to get the macaque confiscated by forestry officials and the man was fined. BMAC reported that before the use of the education exhibition, it would have been very unlikely that this would have been reported in urban areas, as the local community would not have thought it was in anyway wrong.
Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) was set up in order to promote the conservation of Neotropical forest habitat and wildlife through various means. These include land protection; research; improvement of degraded habitat for wildlife; creation of public awareness and facilitation of the commercialisation of sustainable, ecological products on behalf of local people. The aim is to create private and community-run reserves that will protect major areas of the natural biological corridors connecting existing protected areas, ensuring long term habitat protection. They run dozens of low cost projects that have already proven successful, and use their experiences to promote globally efficient conservation.
The funding Wild Futures provided allowed the NPC programme to visit rescue centres throughout Peru in September 2015. These visits were ordered by the wildlife authorities of San Martin and run by many specialists in their field. This type of visit is very important as it enables the authorities to take a general evaluation of the centres, enclosures, constructions, staff capacities, and the physical health and behaviour of the animals present. Unfortunately, many of the tests required for a full medical check are not available in Peru, so NPC are currently in discussions with multiple institutions to make sure these tests become available for rescued primates in order to avoid release of sick animals to the wild. The carers at each of the centres participated in all aspects of the visits and were encouraged to learn from the process and to ask about the different animals’ health, behaviours and possible treatments. Since the beginning of this grant period NPC has been involved in the reporting, rescue, confiscation, care and/or transport of 1078 animals.