OAT recently returned from a weeks trip to Zambia where we visited various projects we support within the Game Rangers International (GRI) group.
GRI – Zambia Primate Programme
The photo above shows me with Cosmas of the GRI – Zambia Primate Project (ZPP) with a young vervet monkey we rescued 18 months ago. Like many monkeys, he had been illegally taken from the wild and kept as a pet which means he had probably been tied up most of his life.
We caught up with Jeffrey again last week when we visited the GRI-ZPP release site within the Kafue National Park. This is where the primates go during the final stage of their rehabilitation. Troops are formed who are then monitored and cared for by Cosmas and his team until they are ready to be released. We were so happy see vervet monkeys living wild and free considering the difficult start they had in life. I was especially happy to meet Jeffrey again who looked really happy, but I was very disappointed he didn’t remember me……….bloody ungrateful monkey ha ha ha 😂
The team photo above is me with ZPP staff, David, a friend and fellow animal lover, and Polly Mason, who has recently become a full time member of the OAT team.
OAT have recently become a significant partner in this amazing project. We visited the nursery facility on the outskirts of Lusaka where very young elephants spend the first part of their rehabilitation process, and thereafter, we went to the elephant release site facility in the Kafue National Park.
Jackie the Hippo
One of the key purposes of our trip was to discuss hippo Jackie and the next stage of her rehabilitation and release programme. Jackie was found abandoned a year ago, with her umbilical cord still attached and was rescued by Game Rangers International (GRI) – Wildlife Veterinary Project (WVP). OAT agreed to sponsor Jackie’s rehabilitation and release programme and we are now one year into the process.
Jackie is doing really well thanks to her dedicated team of carers and GRI’s wildlife vet Annekim Geerdes (pictured above) who works alongside a government vet to ensure Jackie’s health and wellbeing. We will keep you posted on her progress.
We also spent time with GRI’s community outreach programme as well as their special anti-poaching unit. The woman’s initiative group we support were very grateful for their mosquito nets, and Stuart the pilot is really looking forward to getting the new anti-poaching plane up in the air. The aircraft is sponsored by OAT and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
That’s it for Zambia, next stop Guinea and the Chimpanzee Sanctuary! Will be communicating again soon!