Before heading off to Cameroon from Calabar Liza and Peter insisted that we visit the main Drill Ranch next to Afi Mountain about 4 hours north of Calabar and on the road to Cameroon, they said we wouldn’t have drunk the full kool aid until we’d visited their main ranch and seen the wildlife conservation work that they are doing there.
So for the last few days we have been staying in a lovely chalet up in the rainforest with a stunning view of Afi Mountain, going to sleep and waking up with nature all around us and enjoying the company of Peter and Ainare (a volunteer vet from the Basque region of Spain who has been here for 2 years).
Life on the mountain is pretty basic with power coming purely from solar panels, which actually works out to be more reliable than the Nigerian power company! No Internet and no mobile phone signals this far out in the bush. We are over 10 km of deep muddy road from tarmac and a good hours drive from the nearest phone signal!
However despite the apparent simplicity of life here it is really quite comfortable. And the setting is stunning and therapeutic, with the forest canopy towering above and the sounds of the jungle surrounding you.
The Drills are fascinating to watch in their family groups and they also have nearly 30 rescued chimps. Watching the chimps in action is quite amazing, though they are incredibly intelligent and love to throw whatever they can at you to try and get a reaction. They are surprisingly accurate at throwing stones, coconuts, avocado seeds and, as Keith unluckily found out, even their own shit!
Pandrillus are currently working on releasing their first group of rescued and captivity bred Drill monkeys back into the wild, which will be a momentous occasion for the species and for wildlife conservation in Nigeria and Africa.
In addition they are currently working on a new much larger chimp enclosure which will make a vast difference in the quality of life of the rescued and orphaned chimps that they are taking in.
Every day Peter has tried a different speech on us to try and convince us to stay longer and help out with their work for a few months. His arguments have ranged from avoiding the rainy season, which has started early this year, to working on our Karma and a few more long shots in between!
Rather surprisingly his arguments have worked! So Keith and I (Jeremy) have decided to stay down here at the Drill Ranch on Afi mountain for a couple months to help out supervising project work and also hopefully helping out with their IT needs as well.
So I guess you can say that we have been the victims of a Nigerian kidnapping!!! At the moment the plan is that Keith will head back the UK for a month in July and I will come back to Europe for a month in August before we resume our journey southwards.
Don’t think that this is the end of this blog though, as Nigeria is a pretty interesting place and there is plenty to stay tunned for, including the meaning of this picture!
well Jer, we warned you about nigeria! at least these captors are the kind sort. enjoy! x
Well usually I think most animals look like my dog gunner… but I would have to say from the pictures that in this case it is not the chimps who win the contest it is You! Well, another deature which seems like you are in for another adventure… I can’t wait to hear what comes next.
So your staying in Africa to save the monkeys, fair play! God man yourself! You should try and get the Supergull on board, that’s right up his vinerope.When you get back in July ,Dublin zoo are looking for some volunteers, you could give them a hand. Best of luck with the Gorillas in the Mist, hope to see you soon Monsieur.
Love from Hils x
Tarzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan! Here’s one just for you Lynchie x
the title is indeed catchy…you got us!!
hope all is well with you guys…
we keep abreast, or at least try to, with your ‘happenings’ down there…
Hi Guys you must miss Gibraltar more that I thought. So your going to hang around with the locals for a while good on you. It should be fasanating watching your brothers grow. They even have beards of soughts. Have fun be carfull. Looks like the rubber side is firmly down for a while. Nigel
Let me know when you come to Europe….
Jer…if you want to come by Libya..I can get your visas…
Amazing stories..so sorry about the chimp
I hope see you guys again soon..