Category Archives: Animal Electrocutions

My Volunteer Experience

I am a zookeeper and veterinary nurse from the United States and work at the Los Angeles Zoo in California. As a zookeeper I work with many African primate species including Black and White Guereza Colobus. I wanted to volunteer at the Colobus Trust to understand the plight of the closely related Black and White Angolan Colobus. Conservation is something that I care about deeply and I have hopes that I will be able to bring more international attention to the Colobus Trust.
Arriving in Africa was a surreal experience and seeing the Colobus in the wild was unbelievable and incredibly exciting, I spent hours just sat watching them. The first few days I was here, I tried to learn as much as I could about the work of the Colobus Trust, finding out more about the tree nursery project and the Colobus Bridges (colobridges), helping in the vet clinic with the emergency welfare cases as well as sharing my knowledge on how to best care for captive primates. I was really enjoying myself, learning a lot about the cause and about myself.
At the end of my first week here, the Trust received an emergency call out late in the evening. While I did not attend the call personally, I helped the vet to prepare the clinic the best we could based on the limited information we had been given. When the patient arrived, an elderly female Colobus, my eyes where truly opened to the plight of this species and I saw things that will stay with me forever! The female was presented with numerous old injuries many of which I felt could not be compatible with a comfortable life, yet she had somehow healed and was living in this condition. In addition to these old injuries, she had also sustained numerous and very severe new injuries caused by electrocution. Unfortunately, due to her age and the extensive injuries she was unable to survive and died within minutes of reaching the on-site vet clinic.
Just a few days later the Colobus Trust, received three separate emergency call outs for electrocuted Colobus monkeys. Fortunately and thanks to the experience and knowledge of the animal welfare team, 2 out of 3 of these monkeys have survived. I was aware before I travelled to Kenya to volunteer for the Colobus Trust that electrocution of monkeys was a problem in the area, however, I never dreamt that in my short 2-week stay I would witness 5 cases of electrocution. I was saddened to realise that the rate at which these monkeys are being injured by live electricity cables, does not give them much hope for survival.
The Colobus Trust is working tirelessly to limit monkey electrocutions and is attacking the problem from two perspectives. Firstly they spend an entire day a week tree trimming (cutting back any branches that are within monkey jumping distance of the wires), while effective this is a short term measure and given the ever-expanding Diani human population more electricity cables are being installed and the Trust are finding it increasingly more difficult to maintain the trees. Secondly they are working in collaboration with K.P.L.C. to insulate as many of the cables as is possible, initially concentrating on the ‘hot spot’ areas, relying on donations from the public to help with the funding.
During my time at the Colobus Trust I was able to participate in many of the projects and I witnessed first hand the huge efforts being made to improve the survival rates and the quality of life for all the animals in Diani Beach. It has been a very inspiring experience and one that I will take home and remember forever.

Colleen RaeElectrocuted Colobus monkeyJohn Abuor trimming trees that are dangerously close to the electricity cables

Another week at the Colobus Trust…

Last week we continued planting more indigenous trees. Our aim is to plant 200 trees at the current plot site that we have been targeting and we have already planted over 100 trees at this site and even more at other sites in the area. These efforts will help reestablish the continuous forest in Diani. This has not been an easy task as in many areas coral has proven to be a challenge to dig into. The Diani forests, known as coral rag forests, exist on large and deep beds of coral- it means that slow-growing indigenous trees have a tough time unless we can dig a big enough hole for their roots. We are also encouraging Diani residents to plant indigenous trees on their property to assist us in our project.

Some of the trees we're planting in Diani

Some of the trees we're planting in Diani

We have also made labels to attach to the trees so that we can identify and track them. The aim is to collect data on the progress of different species and learn how to maximize forest growth. The plan for the future is to analyze the collected data in ArcGIS, an advanced mapping program. We hope to discover which species thrive most successfully and change our approach for those species that do not.

Felice clinging on to his love, Emily

Felice clinging on to his love, Emily

In addition, the baby Vervet monkey finally has a name! Parin Streil of Germany won the eBay auction and decided on the beautiful name Emily. Not only are we grateful to have a name for Emily, but also the money generated by the auction to name her is greatly appreciated. Parin has helped the Trust before by reporting the electrocution of Felice’s (our baby Sykes monkey) mother, leading to his rescue. Felice is doing really well with Emily as his playmate.

Thanks for reading,

Haley and Amelia

Volunteeers

What we’ve been up to…

The past couple of weeks we have been working hard planting trees at several different plot sites. At each site we spend the first few days digging holes and then we plant saplings and water them. It is a very good time to be planting trees due to the rainy season. These trees will mainly serve as additional food sources for the Colobus monkeys and other monkey species, as well as contribute to forest growth in the region.

One day last week when we had finished tree planting for the day, we received an animal welfare call. We went to a local restaurant, African Pot, where a guest led us to a power line where a Colobus monkey had been electrocuted. As a new volunteer, this was the first time I had seen an electrocuted monkey and it was heartbreaking, especially since the Colobus is such a rare species and also because this kind of electrocution is preventable. Electrocution by power lines is a major issue because often the monkeys use them to cross the road or to other trees. Another problem is that telephone lines, which are harmless, are indistinguishable from the dangerous power lines. The eventual aim of the Colobus Trust is for the power lines in Diani to be completely insulated so that monkeys would not die when coming into contact with them. In the meantime, the Trust pursues short-term solutions. For example, this week we have been hard at work trimming trees near power lines, which makes it less likely that monkeys will come close to the power lines. It gets more intensive to tree-trim during the rainy season because of all the new growth on the trees! This week we also completely rebuilt a large Colobridge. Each bridge ensures that monkeys can safely cross the road and they are used thousands of times before they need replacing.

The rest of our time recently has been spent doing routine activities. During Colobus Checks on Mondays, we documented two troops of Colobus with a total of 25 monkeys, which is an impressive count. The baby Sykes and the baby Vervet are getting bigger every day and it is beginning to hurt when they nibble on our fingers.

Haley,

Volunteer

Lucky in some ways…

Last month we had a call about an electrocuted sykes monkey. The death of the monkey was sad enough, but it emerged that the monkey was a mother to an infant monkey that was now orphaned. When we got to the premises we spoke to Miss. Parin Streil who was holding the infant in her hands. She narrated the whole ordeal to us in detail and was really disturbed by the whole tragedy. We examined the infant and established he had no physical injuries then took him back to trust vet clinic for further assessment.

Felice fast asleep soon after his arrival

Felice fast asleep soon after his arrival

Parin was vey concerned about how we would cope with it and if it was going to be ok. I informed her of the adoption programme where concerned animal lovers like herself had the opportunity adopt and help raise infant monkeys by contributing a certain amount as a donation. The donation goes towards the welfare for the infants, enabling us to buy food, enrichment items and veterinary supplies. The support of adopters is very important because we are a charitable organisation and so have limited funds.

He's not as grumpy as he looks!!

He's not as grumpy as he looks!!

Miss. Streil requested to name the infant Felice which means happy in Italian. Felice is indeed happy and enjoying life at the Trust. He will be given a chance of a normal life because when he is big enough he will be in our rehabilitation cages then finally released back to the wild. This will take a lot of time, patience and resources but we are all committed to this course. Meanwhile, he has a friend in our (as yet) unnamed vervet orphan and he even appeared on MSN’s Week in Pictures shortly after his arrival!

We’ll keep you posted on how he’s getting on.

Thanks for reading,

Mavinya

A baby vervet needs a name

A week and a half ago, we had a new arrival at the Colobus Trust in the form of a baby vervet monkey. Her mother was electrocuted in Mombasa and the lady who discovered the sad scene called us to pick up the orphan. When the vervet arrived she still had her umbilical cord attached, so we estimate that she is only 2 and a half weeks old. This tiny vervet is beautiful and so feisty, already play-fighting with the Sykes baby monkey we also have in our care. She will be raised by volunteers at the Colobus Trust until she is old enough to then be rehabilitated and when she’s ready will be released into the wild.

The new arrival

The new arrival

We’ve decided that this delightful girl needs a name! We have set up an eBay auction so that anyone who would like the honor of naming this baby can bid to buy the rights. Money raised will go towards food for her and the other animals we have in our care at the moment, medicine, insulating electrical wires so this problem can be reduced and many more things. So please visit the site be generous!

Thanks for your support,

Cara

Rescue, rehabilitation and release

Sarah, one of our Eco-volunteers, wrote this blog about the successful treatment and release of an electrocuted Colobus monkey:

The rescue, rehabilitation and release of monkeys are some of the main goals governing the Colobus Trust.  A few days ago, I had the privilege of witnessing the release of an adult colobus that the Trust rescued after it had been electrocuted.  Electrocution is a big threat to the monkey population in Diani, because monkeys are not aware that wires carry electric current and walk on high voltage lines. Electrocuted monkeys can die immediately or, in an effort to soothe the pain, bite their wounds and an infection ends up killing them.

A Colobus doesn't survive its encounter with the wires

A Colobus doesn't survive its encounter with the wires

On Friday afternoon, someone called saying a Colobus had been electrocuted. We went to investigate and determined the Colobus needed medical attention. When examining his injuries we discovered that minor burns covered his hind legs and he had small, but severe, burns on his two front legs. We cleaned the wounds and the Colobus received anti-biotic and anti-inflammatory medicine before going into a large cage for monitoring.

By Monday the Colobus was ready to be released.  The monkey was darted in the early morning to get him in the cage and by afternoon was fully awake and alert.  Driving in the truck the monkey was unable to calm itself and destroyed various rags and leaves that were initially placed it its cage to keep it relaxed.  Although the monkey’s state may sound upsetting, it shows he had certainly regained his strength. His reaction also indicates that he never became comfortable around humans, thereby maintaining his healthy fear of people.  This fear is necessary for the Colobus and other monkeys’ survival as humans are the primary cause of the declining monkey population in Diani.

John and Peter prepare to release the Colobus

John and Peter prepare to release the Colobus

The Colobus was released where it had been captured.  John, the Animal welfare officer, opened the cage door and stood back.  The newly freed monkey ran out at full speed and immediately leapt into the nearest tree.  He looked much happier than he had in days and appeared at ease in his familiar surroundings.  We observed the monkey in its natural habitat for a few minutes before leaving. The Colobus did not immediately search for his troop but because we returned him to the troop’s home range, when he looked for them the Colobus would quickly rejoin his family. Watching the Colobus return to its natural habitat was truly inspirational and demonstrated the immense benefits for monkeys when living in their natural environments and territories.

Sarah

Eco-volunteer

The Colobus content back in his natural habitat

The Colobus content back in his natural habitat

As some readers may be aware, Wildlifedirect are no longer going to be able to take donations through the website. Therefore if you’ve been thinking about donating something small or large to help the Colobus Trust, now is the time to do it! The function to donate on the website will close on the 30th March but we will still be blogging to let you know how we are getting on.

Thanks for your support and interest!
Cara

Electrocutions in Diani, Kenya

Dear Readers: Some pictures in this blog you may find distressing.

We are Joyce and Angelique and we are volunteers at the Colobus Trust. In Holland we both work as nurses and here we’ve been helping John in the vet clinic. Recently we’ve been really shocked by seeing an electrocuted bush baby and an electrocuted colobus.

Last week someone brought a bush baby to us that had been electrocuted. Both his legs and feet and one hand were affected. One of his lower-legs had gone completely, the other was badly maimed and on his hand only the bones remained. Due to the fact that the bush baby didn’t have any feeling in his arms or legs he started eating himself in his cage. The only thing we could do is to put him out of his misery because he was suffering too much. It was terrible to see the bush baby electrocuted and in pain like that.

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Above: The Bush Baby with his injuries

Today we got a phone call on the Colobus Trust hotline. We were told that there was a Colobus which had fallen down into a room of a derelict hotel. The person who called told us that the Colobus’ leg was broken. We responded to this call and went to the location and when we arrived we saw the Colobus was sitting on a balcony. We tried to capture him but yet he was still strong and tried to get away. Staff members John and Peter captured the colobus with a net. At that moment we saw his injuries were very serious. Both his legs and his arm were broken. It was discovered that he fell down from an electric wire after being electrocuted. His feet and his hand were still there but one of his legs was only hanging by a bit of skin. It was really horrible to see how the Colobus was suffering.

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Above: The Colobus in the clinic

Below: The injuries caused by electrocution and the subsequent fall

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We put him in a cage and brought him to the surgery. The vet gave him an injection directly straight into his heart. The Colobus died- unfortunately we couldn’t save him. He would never be able to survive in nature without his feet and his hand.

It has really been a sad week to see these horrible things happening. There are huge lengths of electricity wires here everywhere and primates don’t know they can’t touch them. Obviously the human population need the wires but many animals die because of this. The trust adapts tubing for insulation which goes around the wires so monkeys can pass without getting electrocuted. The trust has already done some good work on the wires but we still need funding to get more wires insulated to save more monkeys.

Help us helping and donate to the Colobus Trust.

Thank you,

Joyce and Angelique

Eco-volunteers

Help to stop the electrocutions!

Last weekend some people from the Ocean Village Club came to the trust with a package which we later found out was a dead Colobus monkey. They told us the monkey had been electrocuted in their compound. A fight involving Colobus monkeys had occurred and in the process of the brawl one of them accidentally grasped on to an uninsulated electric wire and sadly died on the spot.

This is yet another perfect example of why we need to insulate the power lines in the Diani area. Here at the trust we do the best we can to allocate enough funds for wire insulation but we are not able to do it alone. As you all know we are a non-profit making organisation which means the funds we get are limited. Together, however, we can help save and conserve the endangered black and white Angolan Colobus monkey- whomever you are, wherever you are, you can make a difference by donating towards the purchase of tubes to help insulate the electricity wires and it’s only $2.50 for 4 metres of tube. Please donate now if you can!

Mavinya,

Thank you.

Electricity strikes again

Last week we got a call from the Diani Sea Resort about a sick black and white Colobus monkey lying just outside their fence. We immediately rushed there to rescue the monkey and on arrival we were shown where it lay. At first glace we thought  that the monkey was already dead because it lay there motionless but as we went closer it started moving and we all were relieved. We quickly examined it and realized it had severe burns to its rear hind legs and possible infection.

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Above: The infected wound

We immediately put her in a cage and brought her back to the trust clinic for further examination. We called Dr Allan (the vet) to come and take a closer look at the severally infected burn wounds. He cleaned them up but said they are extensively infected and the gangrene had gone into the ankle bone so we had no option but to put it down.

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Above: Dr Allan working on the patient

This is the reason the trust is seriously advocating for the insulation of power lines to significantly decrease the cases of Colobus electrocution. The number of Colobus fatalities as a result of electrocution is very alarming to the trust. We are trying our best by insulating known hot spots and have kindly received some assistance from donations from various individuals and organisations towards this cause.  However, there is still more work to be done in regards to insulation if we want to save the endangered black and white Colobus monkey. Help now if you can- we appreciate any donation. 

Thanks,

The Colobus Team.

Shocking!

On Tuesday 29th September there were three awful electrocutions at Diani Sea Resort, resulting in the death of a young Colobus, who was approximately a year old. The young Colobus was seen climbing the poles of the power line and electrocuting itself; the mother and another Colobus jumped after it, also injuring themselves.

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Above: The juvenile Colobus

When we tried to remove the young Colobus from the forest floor the mother became agitated and attacked me, jumping onto my back and attempting to bite me. This is a sad state of affairs as it illustrates the strong bond between mother and young and for this relationship to have ended so soon is completely unnecessary. The other two Colobus were not injured so badly and remained in the tree. We will be returning to the troop to check their injuries regularly.

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Above: The badly burned hand of the Colobus

Diani Sea Resort has an area of forest beside it that has an un-insulated power line running through it. In the power line there is a join and this is where the electrocutions occur when the Colobus climb the poles. We are now hoping to work with Diani Sea Resort and KPLC (Kenya Power and Lighting Company) to develop a solution to this problem because in the past six weeks there have been six cases of electrocutions resulting in two known deaths.

We will update you on any news concerning the other Colobus at Diani Sea Resort, as well as our progress with insulating the power line and connectors.

Please donate now to help with future animal rescues.

Polly

Colobologist