Where It's At
Until recent years, Cameroon was rich in wildlife.
Hundred of species hid in the dense rainforest, but after
years of deforestation and unpunished poaching the number
of species on the endangered list is soaring. Today you'd
be lucky to spot a creature of the wild in its natural habitat,
but you can't come to Cameroon and not experience its magnificent
wildlife. Limbe Wildlife Centre lets you can get as
close as possible to some of the most amazing apes and monkeys
species on earth.
Visting the Limbe Wildlife Centre
Otherwise known as the Limbe Primate Sanctuary, it's
renowned as one of the leading centres of wildlife conservation
in West Africa. Located in Limbe on the southwest coast,
the Centre replaces a former zoo on this spot. For the last
decade, the centre has been a vital refuge and breeding centre
for apes and other primates rescued from Cameroon's bush meat
trade. For a small entry fee you get access to the centre
and the money goes to a good cause.
Limbe Wildlife Centre is managed by Felix Lankester,
a British vet, and it is funded by Pandrillus, an American
association based in Nigeria who set up captive breeding programmes
in West Africa for eventual release of primates into the wild.
However their task is a long term one as it's not easy to
release any captive animals in the wild because they can become
accustomed to humans and there are few safe places because
of the soaring bush meat trade.
Primates in the Centre
Sixteen types of primate are rescued here include lowland
gorillas, chimpanzees, drills, and mandrills:
- Cameroon is one of the few countries where coastal
and lowland gorillas still exist. Growing up to six
feet tall and weighing up to 210kg, they're primarily vegetarian,
much of their diet consists of plants like bamboo, wild celery,
and other leaves. Baby gorillas are especially vulnerable
and can't survive more than five days without their mother,
which is why so few can be rescued.
- Mandrills are endemic to West Africa; in the wild
they move in troops of hundreds, even thousands, making a
huge racket. They differ from other monkeys because of the
male's large size and short tails.
- Drills are highly endangered; there are estimated
to be only 3,000 left in the wild, and their last remaining
habitat is in Cameroon and across the border in Nigeria.
- Chimpanzees, our closest relatives, are also at
great risk of disappearing. Only 120,000 remain in the wild
in Central Africa and everyday thousands more are shot.