Our work to ensure great apes are thriving in their natural habitat depends on collaboration from the people of Cameroon. The notion of great ape conservation is important to many of the local people of Cameroon yet when most live without basic necessities such as education, healthcare, and income it is sometimes difficult for them to make great ape conservation a priority.
The exploitation of natural resources, including the killing of chimpanzees and gorillas for the illegal ape meat trade, becomes for some an immediate short-term means to make money yet provides no prospect for positive long-term change.
As Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center has grown, so has our presence in the local community and our relationships with the very people we are hoping to influence. IDA-Africa is creating change, not only for the chimpanzees and gorillas, but also for many in the local village community as well.
Purchasing fruit and vegetables from local farmers and gatherers has created an economy that did not exist prior to our inception. Although there is a small garden at Sanaga-Yong Center where some of the food for the chimpanzees is grown, we rely heavily on additional supplies provided by the local villages.
As compassionate members of the community, Sanaga-Yong Rescue Center has become an emergency medical resorce for those unable to make it to the nearest town at least an hour away by vehicle over a very rough road. Dr. Speede has mended countless machete wounds over the years and administered maleria medication (sometimes on a daily basis to infants with 105 degree temperatures). In exchange for services, people are encouraged to make payments with fruit for the chimpanzees or work odd jobs around the Center. You can help ensure medical supplies are always available to people in need - donate today!
In addition, special cases are also part of our commitment to building a community of compassion in Cameroon. In spring 2005, Dr. Speede was called to tend to a young man, Francis, who lives in a village near Sanaga-Yong Center. He had fallen from a roof and suffered very serious injuries to his spine.
Dr. Speede arranged for Francis' transport to the hospital and worked with his family and staff nurses to ensure he received the best care possible. In addition, IDA-Africa friend and supporter, Susan Laphard, secured a donated wheelchair from Mobilize Mankind suitable for Francis which IDA-Africa included in a shipment of supplies to Cameroon.
After months of being immobile, Francis now accompanies his family on outings and his spirits are so much higher. IDA-Africa continues to lend support when needed. Click here to help with Francis' on-going care.