By Abiodun Alade
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has donated a three year old chimpanzee named Patience to a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Pandrillus, operator of the Drill Ranch Afi Mountain.
Co-founder of the zoo, Liza Gadsby disclosed this in a telephone interview with Vanguard.
“The chimpanzee was formerly at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Wildlife Park but during our (Liza and her husband) recent visit to the former president at Abeokuta, we convinced him that she will be better off at our facility, which he agreed to, because he has visited the Drill Ranch Afi Mountain, and impressed with what we have done,” she said.
The NGO in a post on Facebook thanked Obasanjo, while promising to take good care of the chimpanzee.
“President Obasanjo donates chimpanzee “Patience” to Pandrillus!
Seen here at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Wildlife Park in Abeokuta – from left: Peter, Liza with Patience, and Mr. President. As President of Nigeria, he visited Drill Ranch in 2001, and made a follow up visit in 2011. President Obasanjo recognises the special care needs of chimpanzees and therefore decided to place 3 year old Patience with Pandrillus so she can grow up in the forest as part of the large chimpanzee group at Drill Ranch Afi Mountain. Thank you, Mr. President!
Patience is a fantastic chimpanzee who has been well cared for by the staff of the OOPL Wildlife Park. Once she has completed her medical screening in Calabar, she will join the group at the newly completed Nigerian Chimpanzee Center – located at Drill Ranch Afi Mountain in Boki LGA of Cross River State.
Pandrillus thanks Mr. President and his staff for their logistical support and hospitality during Peter and Liza’s working visit. We also thank Air Peace for carrying all three back to Calabar.
Welcome, Patience!,” the post reads
According to available information, Pandrillus founders Liza Gadsby and Peter Jenkins began work in Nigeria and Cameroon in 1988. They soon after embraced the challenge of preventing the extinction of the highly endangered drill monkey Mandrillus leucophaeus. Since then, the mission of Pandrillus has expanded to include chimpanzees, and other wildlife that share the drill’s habitat in the Cross-Sanaga region, a small area in the heart of Africa with exceptionally high primate diversity.
Pandrillus works in Nigeria and Cameroon in its capacity as a Nigerian-registered non-profit trust. Pandrillus Foundation is registered in the USA as a non-profit organization.
Founded in 1991 the DRBC is the region’s first primate rehab project. Illegally held drills orphaned by hunting are donated by local citizens or handed over after seizure by authorities; no animals are purchased or removed from the wild. Over 75 drills have been recovered, and rehabilitated to life with members of their own species, after thorough medical screening. In western zoos, drills have reproduced poorly, but the DRBC has recorded over 250 births to rehabilitated wild born parents and their offspring, making the project the world’s most successful captive breeding program for an endangered primate.
Drill Ranch is also home to 28 orphan chimpanzees. As man’s closest relative, the chimpanzees add greatly to visitor education by stimulating interest and sympathy for wildlife.