Bamboi, Northern Region, Ghana
From February to April 1998 I worked as an ecovolunteer with the Pro Primates Colobus Monkey Research Project in Bamboi, Northern Region, Ghana, along with three other ecovolunteers and the project's resident biologist. This project is marketed by Wolftrail's Ecovolunteer Network. The purpose of the project was to monitor and survey the supposed local population of Colobine monkeys and to conduct a bio-inventory of the wildlife in the area.
Cheech and Chong
Regrettably, no Colobines -- indeed no monkeys at all -- were spotted in the working area during our stay. In fact, the presence of Colobines had not been satisfactorily confirmed by previous surveys. As we had difficulty in finding any wildlife other than birds, I undertook, as part of the project, to attempt to tap the Indigenous Knowledge of the Wildlife Species of the North Mo Traditional Area, to see if the local hunters and rural community could give us information leading to locating some wildlife.
Unfortunately, despite receiving a wide range of information, none of this research led us to spotting any monkeys. The only monkeys we saw in the working area were a dead adult Red Patas, slung over a hunter's shoulder, and two orphaned infant Red Patas monkeys (which we named Cheech & Chong), brought to us, separately, by people trying to sell them to us after hunters had shot their mothers.
Fiema-Boabeng Monkey Sanctuary
During my stay at the project I and some of the other volunteers took short trips to a couple of wildlife reserves in Ghana.
At the Fiema-Boabeng Monkey Sanctuary we spotted and got very close to the well habituated populations of Black and White Colobus and Mona monkeys. This sanctuary has succeeded because of an old taboo on the hunting of monkeys around the two villages created by a village priest about 150 years ago.
Black and White Colobus
Colobus monkeys sleeping
Mole National Park
At the Mole National Park we saw Green Vervet monkeys, baboons, wart-hogs, crocodiles, various types of antelopes, many birds and lots of elephants. Walking in the park accompanied by a guide with a rifle, we managed to get quite close to most of the animals.
A bit too close in one case when we were charged at by an elephant known as Old Man. He ran at us with his ears fanned out looking as big as, well, an elephant and, thankfully, stopped about five metres away and then walked off.
The guide not only didn't move, he didn't even flinch!
Green Vervet monkeys