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Cape Verde: ecotourism project is helping to save endangered monkeys

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In Cape Vert a sustainable ecotourism project is helping to preserve the so-called "green monkey".

A Frenchman who worked for more than 25 years in humanitatrian aid has embraced the protection of this species creating a sanctuary in the island of Santiago.

"My dream was to see the monkeys loose, in a reserve, happy, with all the security they need. To be able to tell the children today that they will continue to see monkeys here in Cape Verde, because monkeys are part of biodiversity (...) If we continue killing monkeys, (...), if there is no protection project, they will disappear, little by little", says Gricha Lepointe, manager of the "Morgana Ecolodge" and the person behind this intiative.

The project opened last August in the island of Santiago, 40 minutes away from the capital, Praia, and includes 17 bungallows as well as other facilities.

The long term aim is to create a protected reserve for monkeys in the island in order to avoid extinction.

"Monkeys are considered predators and farmers have many problems with monkeys. The reality is that monkeys cause a lot of damage in agricultural areas, which they seek for food. The only answer that exists today to this problem is to kill the monkeys", laments Gricha Lepointe.

Although not an endemic species, the primates arrived in the islands with the first settlers and became a regular site.

Today, the expansion of agriculture constitutes the biggest threat to their survival.

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