AN EXETER woman is flying high to raise money to help a charity tackle the immediate threats faced by Gorillas and Chimps in Africa. 

Nikkie Mullan, 31, who works for Exeter-based Parsons Brinckerhoff will be doing a skydive for Ape Action Africa, who work with the local communities to develop long-term solutions to ensure their survival in the wild.

The Guinness World Record Attempt is 260 volunteers to jump in Tandem at 15,000ft over a 24 hour period on the 21st June 2014 (the longest day of the year) at Dunkeswell Airfield starting from dawn until dusk.

Nikkie spent time as a volunteer in Mefou National Park, Cameroon, after hearing a keeper at Bristol Zoo speak about the work and volunteering opportunities.

As a volunteer Nikkie saw first-hand how the charity saves young primates whose family members had been killed for bush meat, and the young removed to be sold in the illegal pet trade, providing they managed to survive the ordeal they had suffered.

It is the hope that by reading this, animal-lovers throughout the UK will support Nikkie in raising funds for Ape Action Africa by sponsoring her fundraising jump.

Ape Action Africa is passionate about gorilla and chimpanzee conservation and works on the frontlines of great ape protection.

AAA rescue orphaned and injured gorillas, chimpanzees and monkeys and work around the clock providing urgent veterinary treatment and care.

When the young orphans are strong enough, they reintroduce them to groups of their own kind in safe environments in the forest at Mefou.

Not only are the primates important to AAA the people are important too. They run a thriving education programme for local school children who visit Mefou to see Cameroon’s wildlife in its natural environment with hope that they in future will help in the protection of these magnificent animals.

Ape Action Africa needs our help so they can continue to give these animals a safe, caring environment where they can enjoy their lives.

They have over 320 primates in their care, including over 100 chimpanzees and 21 gorillas which need food, shelter and veterinary care. It’s full-time and full-on.

Nikkie has always been interested in the great apes and when, at the end of the talk at Bristol Zoo, the keeper mentioned volunteering opportunities, she thought ‘now I can live my dream’.

Volunteers submit application forms and go through an interview process to see if they are suitable to go, and contact with the animals is not guaranteed.

Nikkie stayed at Mefou for three months, the accommodation was basic but worth it. Once the quarantine period was over, Nikkie and another volunteer looked after baby chimpanzees in quarantine, ranging from one to four years old.

It was tough work and lengthy days but it was really worth it.

After Nikkie’s time at Mefou and experiencing first-hand the amount of time and hard work that is put into protecting these beautiful primates, Nikkie vowed that she would do everything she could to help.

Nikkie would like to raise as much as possible for this fantastic charity and make people aware of the hard work all at Ape Action Africa do to protect these animals. It costs about £600 a year to care for each animal and there are more arriving on their doorstep every week.

If you would like to support Nikkie by sponsoring her please visit her JustGiving page at Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure.

All the money raised will go directly to the charity as the jump is being funded by Nikkie herself.