Former President Olusegun Obasanjo just donated a chimpanzee named Patience to a ranch/Zoo, in the Afi Mountains, Cross Rivers State. The ranch, Drill Ranch, provides a lifelong home for orphan chimpanzees, and our busy chimpanzee group can be seen in their forest enclosure.
The Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary was created in May 2000 and is managed by the Cross River State Forestry Commission. Protection and research is sponsored by a partnership of NGOs (Pandrillus, Wildlife Conservation Society and its partners) with government. After generations of hunting, Afi’s gorillas, chimpanzees, drills and other endangered species are shy and need a few more years of good protection before they will be easily seen.
Former President Olusegun donated the Chimp personally to the zoo. One of the managers of the zoo, Liza Gadsby, said “The chimpanzee was formerly at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Wildlife Park but during our recent visit to the former president at Abeokuta, we convinced him that she will be better off at our facility, which he agreed to, because he has visited the Drill Ranch Afi Mountain, and impressed with what we have done.
Why the President named it Patience is yet unknown, but social media was abuzz with the both the name, donation and place it was donated. Obasanjo visited Drill Ranch in 2001 and 2011.
Drill chimpazees are one of Africa’s most endangered primates, and here is the only place in the world to see natural-sized captive drill groups in natural habitat. The founders of our drill groups were recovered as orphans after their nursing mothers were illegally shot for bush meat.
The ranch operators claim to have rehabilitated over 85 lone drills into 6 social groups, now bearing a new generation; over 450 drills have been born at the project. There are 5 drill groups, each in their own electric fenced enclosure, powered by our solar energy system. The enclosures can be reached down different winding paths through the forest; the largest enclosure perimeter is nearly a kilometer around.