Category Archives: Human – Primate Conflict Resolution

Enriching Lives

Jamie, one of our Eco-volunteers, wrote this blog about the enrichment program at the Colobus Trust, which aims to release ex-pet and orphaned monkeys back into the wild:

Monkeys in captivity must be tested and challenged. Here at the Trust we ensure that the monkeys under rehabilitation are actively using their brains whilst in captivity to help them succeed once they are released into the wild. Feeding the monkeys and learning about animal welfare are some of my favourite activities here at the Trust, so I was really looking forward to participating in the enrichment program.

One of our vervets has worked out how to get his food

One of our vervets has worked out how to get his food

This past week we prepared papier-mâché balloons and hid the monkeys’ food inside (like a piñata, just substituting the candy for fruit). Once it came to feeding time, we placed twelve of these “piñatas” in the cage and watched them try to tackle the problem. Some walked right by the piñata took a quick look inside and continued on. Others tore it in half and grabbed the mango inside, while some stuck their hands inside the holes and grabbed the food that way. Eventually every monkey was able to figure it out and enjoy their afternoon meal.

The Sykes monkey in rehabiltation searching for her food

The Sykes monkey in rehabiltation searching for her food

I always enjoy watching the monkeys eat, but observing the enrichment program made me really realize the importance of keeping the captive monkeys active.

Jamie

Eco-Volunteer

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

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

Baby vervet Amani at the Colobus Trust

I apologise for the lack of posts in the last month or so. We hope to update you on what’s been going on in the next few days! For now, here is a blog from Deepa, an Eco-volunteer from Mumbai.

Thanks for reading!

Cara, Assistant Manager

Baby Amani

On my first day at the Colobus Trust, we received an animal welfare call from Leisure Lodge Golf Course. A freak accident had taken place whereby a female vervet monkey had been killed by a rogue golf ball. Unfortunately, to add to the sad situation, she had a week old baby that then needed rescuing. One of the members the Golf Club was temporarily taking care of it, so we all went to pick up the infant and we took him back to the Trust. The baby monkey was visibly distressed throughout, calling piteously for its mother and not settling down easily.

Our first priority was to keep him hydrated and strong so he was fed baby milk formula diluted with water using a dropper. He was hungry initially and drank a lot of milk after which he used to close his eyes and rest or cry out for his mother. We all took turns holding him and feeding him whenever he woke up. At night, one of the volunteers, Laura, took him to her bed to feed him him through the night with her mosquito net providing a handy way to stop him wandering.

Baby Amani sleeping after his arrival

Baby Amani sleeping after his arrival

The next morning, he seemed more relaxed and accustomed to us. He was examined by our animal welfare expert, John, who felt he was under 2 weeks old. During the day, we had all been thinking of names for him and Mavinya, one of the volunteers, thought of Amani, which means peace in Swahili. I liked the name very much as Aman means wish in Hindi.

Amani barely had the time to adjust to life without his mother

Amani barely had the time to adjust to life without his mother

He fed quite well and we were asked to buy him some grapes to vary his diet. He loved the grapes and would suck on one for ages. That evening, we were advised to start reducing the contact and to keep him in the little plastic cage except when he was feeding. He got quite content with the cage as well. Unfortunately, that evening he took a turn for the worse and got dazed and dehydrated. His fur was drenched and we rushed him to the vet clinic, called the local vet and administered emergency dextrose. Unfortunately, in spite of all our efforts, Baby Amani passed away that night and left a pall of gloom behind. He was very young and we were so sad to see him not able to live without his mama. We were all very attached to him and so hopeful of him growing up. We hope his soul rests in peace.

Deepa Thomas

Eco-volunteer

A view of the Colobridge

A Colobridge:

This is a simple ladder-like structure invented by the Colobus Trust which is put across the road to enable monkeys to cross safely between the forest on either side. As the number one monkey-killer in Diani, road traffic accidents continue to rob us of our population of monkeys.

You can just see John at the top of the picture ready to attach a bridge!

You can just see John at the top of the picture ready to attach a bridge!

In 1999 when I joined the Colobus Trust, I took a keen interest in wanting to know the significance of the Colobridges. My main focus was to see the factors considered before one was put up in an area. Territorial boundaries and crossing points formed the basis of my research and a Colobridge would be put up in areas where monkeys crossed more often. Diani has sixty eight families of Colobus monkeys; the Colobridges erected so far are only serving twenty two families. Helping more families of monkeys cross the road safely is ever challenging. More monkeys are still vulnerable to road accidents because there no Colobridges within their crossing points. The remaining families are still kept vulnerable to being killed on the road.

John braving the heights of the Colobridge

John braving the heights of the Colobridge

Galvanized wires, conduit pipes, rubber hose pipes, chain links, d-shackles, wire grips and turn buckles are what it takes to build a Colobridge. It takes passion to contribute towards building a Colobridge and it takes a great effort to help save the life of a monkey. To conserve heritage is expensive but it is almost impossible to regain it once lost.

John-Animal Welfare Officer and Field Assistant, Colobus Trust.

Rehabilitation at the Colobus Trust

As a recent volunteer, I am taking to The Colobus Trust blog to explain what I have done so far. I am volunteering for the month of January as a part of my schooling. Home in Canada I have worked as a wildlife educator and a rehabilitator for a wildlife center, I am looking forward to putting my skills to use here at the Trust and learning about the important work that is done here.

On my first day of work I was put to work quickly cleaning and maintaining the cages for the rehabilitation animals. Currently the Trust has 4 Vervet and 2 Sykes monkeys that are getting ready to be released. Most of them are ex-pet or orphaned monkeys (their mothers were killed on the road). Within these cases includes a female Vervet that was rescued from Mombasa where it was found being abused by swinging it around by its tail. The Colobus Trust has also worked very hard with one of the Sykes monkeys which is only here temporarily. It was hit by a car and needed to be hand fed until it was able to eat on its own again. She also had many neurological problems, including loss of vision, which appears to be improving all the time. Thankfully, with the rehabilitation work done by The Colobus Trust, these once helpless cases can be released and live the life they always deserved. The situation helped by donors such as Arusha T., Mark S., Black C. and Susan B. who have donated what they can- it means so much to us, thank you!

While working with these cases the staff ensures that their cages are cleaned and maintained everyday, including replacing old branches and having ropes for them to swing on and participate in normal primate behavior. They are given a variety of food to ensure that they are familiar with a proper diet and increase their success rate upon release. Monkeys that are housed here together often bond and create their own troop to be released together and significantly increase their survival rate after release.

In 3 days I have already learned so much about primate care. The people are so kind and the work is so important. I can’t wait to see what else this month at The Colobus Trust will bring!

Kristy Bailey

Eco-volunteer

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

Completion of two new Colobridges!

Last week, construction of two new Colobridges was completed. Along with the existing bridges, these latest additions will help the Colobus Trust in our efforts to ensure that the local primate population can roam their territories more freely and safely.

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Above: The first bridge up and ready for use!

The first bridge to go up was kindly donated by Diani residents and is located in their grounds at ‘White House’, Diani Beach. The second bridge has been bought as a Christmas present, and not wishing to spoil the surprise, we are keeping the identity of the kind sponsor a secret!

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Above: The ladies working hard on the bridge construction

Sponsorship of a Colobridge or adoption of a Colobus Monkey makes a great gift for any special occasion, and is very easy to do. If you would like to have more information on both, please feel free to email info@colobustrust.org.

Education at the Colobus Trust

A major part of what the Colobus Trust does is raise awareness through our educational program. On average 1,200   local school children from 33 different schools will visit the trust every year. In just the last two weeks alone, six school groups have visited the Colobus Trust. The program aims to teach the students of all ages about the various problems facing the wildlife in Diani (with particular focus on the monkeys) and what we do to reduce these problems or their effects. The information session is followed by an eco-tour that takes them round the rehabilitation cages, the nature trail and the tree nursery. The excursion is rounded off by some beach games by the sea.

It’s great to have the opportunity to encourage children to get enthusiastic about what we do here. Hopefully by educating them about the environment they will learn to interact with it in a more thoughtful manner and encourage the community at large to help conserve Diani and its furry inhabitants.

The Colobus Team

Jill’s time at the Trust

After four weeks at the Colobus Trust, it’s almost time for me to fly home to another UK winter. I’ve had a fantastic time here and have been encouraged by the dedication and passion of the team for the colobus monkey and the local ecology as a whole.

During my time here I have enjoyed building colobus bridges, giving eco-tours to tourists and local children, undertaking colobus checks in the local forest and completing the 2009 Monkey Census in Diani and Gongoni forests.

One of the most eye opening experiences has been undertaking de-snaring searches. During one visit we found 12 snares along a 2km transect! It is worrying to think that without the efforts of the trust each of those snares could have caught or injured an animal.

Kenya is a magical place and each day brings new experiences. Like so many before me, I think I might be hooked!

Jill,

Eco-volunteer

Hannah’s Diary…

A section from the diary of an Eco-volunteer, Hannah:

Today was the first normal day back at the trust after the census. In the morning I fed the monkeys, cleaned the veterinary office, and potted tree saplings. It was a pretty low key day all around until we got a welfare call about a Colobus who had been hit by a car. Upon arrival, we found out that it was a baboon. Apparently it had been struck by a car and had then been dragged off the road by other members of its baboon troop. It was hurt really badly. The force of the car had hit the baboon so hard that it had ripped the skin on its back. The monkey was lying in the grass on the side of the road whimpering and all the other baboons were watching. A huge baboon came out grunting and making barking noises at us- it seemed really angry that we were taking the injured baboon away.

When we arrived back at the trust we brought the baboon to the vet clinic and examined it. It could only stand itself up on its front legs. The baboon was sedated to relax it so we could examine his back. He had shattered his spine and could not move the lower half of his body. I was really upset when I found out that spinal fractures require that the animal be euthanized. He was lying on the table breathing and it made me really upset that we could not save him. I stood there and watched as he was euthanized and slowly stopped breathing. After he had been given the shot it was obvious to me that he had internal bleeding and euthanizing him was probably the best decision.

I love animals and it was heartbreaking to watch one die right in front of me. I think the Trust handled it really well but unfortunately, I know that probably won’t be the last dead monkey I see before I leave here.

Thanks for reading,

Hannah