West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA)
WAPCA (West African Primate Conservation Action) was established in 2001 by 11 European Zoos (of which Dublin Zoo was one) and two nature conservation organisations. It was established with the aim of conserving the endangered primate species found in the upper Guinean rainforest of western Africa and protecting their habitats. WAPCA works closely with the Ghanaian government Wildlife Division which manages Ghana’s wildlife and two zoos in Ghana.
WAPCA works in four of Ghana’s protected areas. They conduct research into the ecology of the monkeys living there and assist rangers with patrolling the rainforests. WAPCA has also built facilities for tourists and generate awareness in local areas of the issues affecting the rainforest. It is hoped that the provision of alternative sustainable livelihoods will reduce hunting and exploitation of forest resources. And, naturally, all this work also results in the protection of the rainforests themselves and their residents – many other mammals (including forest elephant and leopard), and hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and countless invertebrate species.
In addition to this WAPCA has also established an Endangered Primate Centre in Ghana and the 12 white-crowned mangabeys here are also part of the EEP (European Zoo Breeding Programme). WAPCA are also involved with a feasibility study into the establishment of a semi-wild group of white-crowned mangabeys in Ghana. This is the first step in considering the possibility of re-introducing this species back into the wild.