In the picture below you see children visiting Jardin Zoologique de Rabat playing MPC’s successful “Macaque game”! This programme was launched this month and we aim to reach thousands of children in Morocco that visit the zoo every year with our conservation message! MPC is really pleased to work together with Rabat zoo. We want to thank Trentham Monkey Forest, La Montagne des Singes, Affenberg Salem and La Forêt des Singes for funding this programme!
In january Dutch Moroccan tourists tried to take/ steal infant Shirley from the Blue group in Ifrane national park. They would have succeeded if Ali, one of the great local fossil sellers, would not have stopped them from driving off in their car with Shirley. The people later said they did not know it was illegal. Bravo for Ali!
The local fossil sellers in INP (situated near the tourist group and the Blue group) are becoming increasingly involved in protecting the macaques as a result of the Barbary macaque project and MPC are working closely together with them.read more
Today was such an incredibly rewarding day! We had 30 combination oven/cooker/ heater units made here locally – the use of these units will reduce the need for firewood (and thus protect macaque habitat) up to 70%! But the real rewarding part is that we are giving the units to very poor families that live in extreme conditions very far away from civilization – in the middle of the forest. They rely on the collection of fire wood for heating and cooking. It’s a very tough life. This family lives on herding flocks of goats and sheep – the children don’t even go to school as the nearest schools are very far away. Also it has been snowing a lot here, so these people endure extreme cold.
So you can imagine how happy the families were when we arrived with the 4×4 (very needed in the snow and mud to get to their douars (villages)) and gave them the units. We explained why we were doing this and they understood well. They told us all about the macaques that live near this douar and they really understood the objective. We spent some time with them – as always accompanied by delicious bread, mint tea, and lovely company. I felt like Santa today. Tomorrow we are distributing more units – all to families that live in or near macaque habitat in Ifrane national park. I can’t wait! I realize how lucky I am to do this work! Days like this completely make up for the harder times that we also experience in our battle to protect the Barbary macaque.
This project is funded by Burgers Zoo in Holland (via FIN) and in partnership with Ifrane National Park – we are really grateful to all for helping us implementing this very important project!
Recently MPC has started to build a network of enthusiastic Moroccan members living in the 3 most touristic cities of Morocco – Meknes, Fes and Marrakech. This team will help spread our message and also help with doing PR for our new project MonkeyWatch a project that we will tell more about soon. We welcome Yassine, Ilias and Faissal to our team.
By: Katie Chabrière
Two exciting things happened for myself and MPC in the latter half of 2013; one being that I became MPC’s Education Officer, and the other that MPC and Selamatkan Yaki, the Indonesian charity fighting to save the Sulawesi crested black macaque, joined forces in macaque protection, albeit two different species of “Macaca” living on continents 3,580 kilometres apart!
The partnership between both organisations came about after MPC Director Els assisted in creating a Species Action Plan for the Sulawesi macaque (otherwise known as the Yaki), in Manado, Indonesia, last April. Clearly both Barbary and crested black macaques are facing extinction due to similar, human-related threats such as deforestation, hunting and human-animal conflict, although the Yaki’s problem of being hunted for bushmeat is not as common in Morocco, with the taking of infants from the wild for the pet or entertainment trade being more prominent there.
Both teams of dedicated conservationists realized the potential to learn from one another created by such a partnership, and one example of this lies in sharing and exchanging education strategies. This is why in December I found myself on the long flight from the UK to Manado on Sulawesi Island. Slightly jittery from the jetlag and extreme jump in temperatures, I set out in a taxi (even though I was within walking distance, the traffic in Indonesia is generally rather too crazy to risk going anywhere on foot) to the Selamatkan Yaki offices to meet the team. I had arrived just in time for their morning meeting, which I sat in on, learning of their current developments and projects, such as the fantastic idea of placing banners in prominent bushmeat-consuming areas, discouraging the act, and the holding of an information stand at the very market with one of the biggest bushmeat trades on the island. I myself gave an update as to current events at MPC, such as the MonkeyWatch programme and the work I am carrying out in schools in the UK and Morocco this year. One thing that was resoundingly clear was the mutual enthusiasm and hard work of both organisations’ volunteers, as well as the obvious benefits of working with those children holding the future of both species of macaque in their very hands.
After a sumptuous vegetarian lunch at a local restaurant, I was whisked off to the National Park, around a 1.5 hour drive south of Manado, which is one of the Yakis last strongholds. Early the next morning, I had the pleasure of a guided tour into the forest to observe (from afar of course, and leaving only footprints!) both tarsiers and crested black macaques. It took us a long time to find the macaques, which to me is a good sign, as the guided tours really do leave them entirely to their own devices, and if you don’t find them, you don’t find them! We spent around an hour observing the group of around 30 individuals from afar. On our walk back, I was once again reassured to meet one of the Indonesian students, who makes up part of the research team reporting back to Selamatkan Yaki on the Yaki’s whereabouts, group dynamics and of course potential threats.
Between this group of ‘forest guardians’ and of course what Selamatkan Yaki is doing both at home and abroad, I feel the future is actually very positive for the survival of these unique and beautiful primates. I left Sulawesi full of inspiration for Barbary macaque conservation and education strategies! As fate would have it, the lady I was sitting next to on the plane began chatting to me about the charity she runs, which empowers charitable organisations by giving them access to free software to create ‘virtual classrooms’ on the web, thus provoking the idea of facilitating an exchange of ‘live’ workshops between MPC and our Indonesian counterparts. Being part Indonesian herself, the lady’s eyes lit up when I said I was visiting ‘Selamatkan Yaki’. “Oh, that means Save the Yaki in Indonesian!”, she quite rightly said. And with the new, fresh ideas and enthusiasm both organisations are now sharing, that is exactly what we are going to do; oh and the Barbaries too of course!
The MPCUK Education Programme began this year as a pilot scheme in a school in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and has now gained so much interest in other schools throughout the region that volunteers are currently being recruited to be trained to meet the demand. In exchange for a school term of workshops on Barbary macaques, Morocco and primate and habitat conservation, the school (primary or secondary) commits to fundraise for MPC. The workshops can be curriculum linked and introduced into lesson schedules or as part of extra-curricular activities. Primary workshops are predominantly arts and crafts based in their output, but include worksheets on biology and creative writing, whilst material in secondary schools is largely scientific. Ashville Primary School Eco Club students have so far carried out a bake sale for MPC, are set to visit Trentham Monkey Park in Spring to see their now much-loved Barbary macaques in the flesh, and will soon be undertaking a penpal scheme to link up with a school in the Azrou region. The purpose of this scheme is two-fold: to enable pupils in the UK to catch a glimpse of life in Morocco and experience communicating across distance and cultures, but also to create a feeling of how loved Barbary macaques are, not only in Morocco, but also in another parts of the world. The programme is currently being expanded to include universities, predominantly as a means to recruit volunteers interested in MPC’s work.read more
There have been some exciting changes in our team:
First of all we are super pleased to announce that we have a new board member – Pauline Verheij – Pauline works as an independent consultant specializing in issues pertaining to wildlife crime. She is an environmental lawyer and has a background in law enforcement and wildlife conservation. After living and working in Malaysia for TRAFFIC/WWF as their tiger trade programme manager (2009-2012), she established her own company EcoJust in 2012, based in the Netherlands.
Charlotte Oxley is now our new PR and online Fundraising Officer. We are glad to have her on board and we are looking forward to increasing our online presence in the new year (email@example.com). A big THANK YOU to Ian Towle for his great work as our former pr officer!
Katie Chabiere is now the Education Officer for MPC Foundation. After working really hard as a Regional Coordinator and doing a fantastic job with the Yorkshire education projects and during the survey in Marrakech earlier on in the year, she is the perfect person to fulfil this role. We are super pleased to have her on our team in this important position! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kristina Stazaker’s role changed from Fundraising and Development worker to the Fundraising Development Manager.
MPC UK really wants to increase the Regional Fundraising Coordinator network so if you are interested or you know anyone who may be please can you tell them to email email@example.com more
On October 1st MPC organsied a meeting in Rabat together with the High Commissary of Water and Forests to talk about a solution for confiscated Barbary macaques in Morocco. We invited BMCRif, Rabat Zoo and SPANA.
So far the zoo would take in occasional macaques but they have recently closed the doors to all macaques because they cannot provide shelter to the high numbers they already have and will receive in the future.
As the new law (29-05) will be announced in the beginning of 2014, regulating the capture and trade of wildlife in Morocco, MPC is really concerned that many macaques that are currently kept in captivity illegally in Morocco will end up being dumped in the forest or killed. The public will have a 6 month transition period in which they can “get rid” of their wildlife – after the 6 months they can receive a fine of minimum 2000 Euro for having a macaque. You can imagine that people will desparately want to get rid of the animals – and for this we really need a rescue center in place.
Not only for the individual animals this is important, but also to stimulate the autorities to enforce the law – if there is no place to take the macaques – there will be no confiscations – and if there are no confiscations the second largest threat to the Barbary macaques will continue to exist.
We keep offering the authorities solutions for this problem but what seems to be the most important step is to first secure funds to build and run this center for a few years. We are looking for investors / funders who would be interested in supporting this vital project. If you are one of them or if yuo have any suggestions – please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org