West African Primate Conservation Action – WAPCA

To promote the survival of monkeys in Ghana


In September 2000 the New York Times published an article which deeply moved people around the world: the Miss Waldron's red colobus, Colobus badius waldroni, was officially declared extinct, the first primate species since the 17th Century which was lost due to human influence. A number of orther monkey species, including the Roloway monkey, Cercopithecus diana roloway, and the white-naped mangabey, Cercoebus atys lunulatus, live in the same habitat and are exposed to the same threats as the Waldron's red colobus has been, and run the risk of being the next species that have to be declared "extinct in the wild".


Fortunately, European zoos are keeping and breeding reserve populations of both the Roloway monkey and the white-naped mangabey, and, by holding these highly threatened species, feel a responsibility also for the in situ conservation of the species in their natural habitat. Therefore, on the initiative of the Heidelberg Zoo, the West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA) was founded in 2001. The population of Roloway guenons and the white-naped mangabeys housed in the partner zoos serve as prominent "flagship species" for the entire ecosystem of the Upper Guinean forest with its unique diversity of plant and animal species.

A staff member of WAPCA is working in Ghana to supervise the effective use of financial resources and to function as a contact person between partners in Ghana and Europe. Furthermore, she plans, carries out and supervises WAPCA's various programs at the Ankasa Resource Reserve and at Accra Zoo which are all aimed at the long term protection of endangered primates in situ and ex situ.

As part of the education programme, WAPCA organized a training course in 2004 for staff of the Accra Zoo. The Education Officer, the Curator and the head of the primate keepers flew to the UK to participate in a five weeks training course. The programme was sponsored by WAZA and WAPCA and supported by British zoos, and aimed at improving the staff's skills within their department of the zoo. Funding was made available for them to implement improvements at Accra Zoo upon their return.

In April 2005, a new "Centre for Endangered Primates" was opened at Accra Zoo, and in April 2006 new visitor facilities including an observatory and a self-guided nature trail could be opened at the Ankasa Resource Reserve.

WAZA Conservation Project 04021 is operated by the Zoo Heidelberg, Zoo Landau, Allwetterzoo Münster, Zoo de Mulhouse, Zoo la Palmyre, Zoo Dublin, Zoo Romagne, Zoo Salzburg, Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich Zoo), Parc Zoològic de Barcelona, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP), Conservation des Especes et des Populations Animales (CEPA). WAPCA operates in partnership or with financial support from the WAZA, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Whipsnade Wild Animals Park, Gemeinschaft Deutscher Zooförderer (GDZ), Ghana Wildlife Division, Golden Star Resources, Bogoso Gold Ltd., and the Embassy of Germany in Accra.


> to project overview
  • WAPCA - a European Initiative for West African Primates
  • WAPCA - a European Initiative for West African Primates
  • WAPCA - a European Initiative for West African Primates
  • WAPCA - a European Initiative for West African Primates
  • WAPCA - a European Initiative for West African Primates

    WAPCA - a European Initiative for West African Primates

    A confiscated young Roloway monkey is reared by an experienced keeper at Accra Zoo. © Peter Hoppe

    Animal orphans are a byproduct of the bushmeat trade. © Sandra Reichler

    Julia Trillmich, WAPCA’s project coordinator, together with local staff at Ac-cra Zoo. © Julia Trillmich

    White-naped mangabey mother with off-spring at Landau Zoo. © Landau Zoo

    Mainly duikers are caught by hunters, but also primate carcasses are offered on the bush-meat markets regularly. © Peter Hoppe