Category Archives: Primate Rescue/Rehabilitation

Record Breaking Colobus Infant

The Colobus Trust has a new resident, an approximately 6 week old white colobus infant. She is doing incredibly well and has now survived longer than any other colobus infant the Trust has rescued in the last 14 years.
Baby Betsy, originally a member of the colobus troop at The Sands at Nomads was taken in by the Colobus Trust on 31st January. Following a rather distressed call from Danny at Diving the Crab on a very hot Monday afternoon, The Colobus Trust went to assess the situation. We found, a small 2 week old colobus infant in Danny’s arms, who reported this was the second time that day she had been found on the floor after being dropped by her troop. Studying the troop of colobus monkeys we could not locate a lactating female and therefore was unsure if the mother was present, however, since colobus mums do sometimes leave their baby with other troop members while they go and stock up on their food intake, we decided to try and reconnect the baby with the troop. Raising the infant on to a flat roof, away from the commotion of the tourists, a sub adult male swiftly climbed from the tree and scoped her up. After observing the troop for a further 15 minutes we were happy with the result, despite a lack of an obvious mother, and left the troop in peace. During the course of the afternoon the infant was dropped further two times, each time she was again scoped up by the same sub-adult male. At 6pm that evening, we received another phone call saying she had been dropped again, with night time quickly approaching we couldn’t risk the infant spending the night on the ground and we took her in to our care. The following day, a team of volunteers, spent the afternoon following the troop and still no lactating female could be seen. It is our assumption that the infant’s mother had died and the sub-adult male trying to look after her was most likely her older brother, however, he lacked the skills and the milk to care for her properly.
The following week was a frantic period trying to learn everything we could about hand raising Angolan Colobus monkeys. After consulting our records on past attempts on hand rearing, we contacted all the zoo’s and institutes worldwide who care take for captive colobus monkeys, including the Species Survival Programme coordinator (SSP) for captive colobus, who keeps all the historical records of all colobus who have ever been kept in captivity, for advise and any new husbandry methods. It very quickly became apparent that the Angolan colobus monkey had never been successfully hand reared from a milk dependant age into adulthood. In fact 38 days is the longest one has survived away from Mum according to the records, the Colobus Trust had previously managed 21 days. A small number (4) of Guerza colobus monkeys have been hand reared over the years, but the Angolan species present here in Diani is renowned for being incredibly fragile and sensitive – we were told to prepare for the worse. The problem with their survival rate is linked to our inability to re-create good G.I. flora, leading to their digestive system becoming compromised on a variety of levels. Never the less we gathered together the feeding schedule for the 21 and 38 day Angolan colobus and the 4 successful Guerza colobus and taking into account what we had learnt over the years of trial and error here in Diani, devised a brand new feeding regime.
Despite a very close call as the result of a strange case of dehydration that baffled 2 vets and a Doctor, Betsy has now reach day 25, (4 days longer than the Colobus Trust has managed before) and continues to do well, feeding every 2-3 hours around the clock, she is growing and gradually changing from white to grey. Her permanent place of residence is strapped inside a kikoy wrapped around the chest of her primary care giver in bid to try to recreate the warmth, love and attachment she would normally receive from her Mother. We are hopeful of her continued survival, but are also realistic, knowing that something as simple as a bacterial infection from this alien environment she is currently living in could take her in as little as 12 hours.

Thank you to Dr. Nick and Dr. Oscar for your vetinenary support and to Dr Raj for your willingness to help, despite your surprise. For frequent updates on Betsy progress, become a ‘friend’ of the Colobus Trust on facebook.

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Quarantine Developments

With the number of primates needing the help of the Colobus Trust, we’ve been expanding our facilities to reach our main aim of releasing happy and healthy monkeys back into the wild! Currently standing between the vet clinic and not far from the entrance of the meandering nature trail is the nearly complete quarantine shelter for monkey rehabilitation.

This area will be such a vital part of the rehabilitation for the monkeys, especially so with the Colobus monkeys. The Colobus monkeys need to be treated rapidly as keeping these majestic creatures in captivity can be stressful fort the animal. The Colobus have such specific diets and because of this they are constantly roaming for food. We usually aim to release them within 72 hours in order to reduce the effect of captivity. As the quarantine is separate to the big rehabilitation cages we can focus on individuals and release them back to their homes. Another reason why the quarantine is important is because however beautiful and calm the Colobus appear when gracefully sitting in the trees they are extremely territorial. If they see another who isn’t part of their troop they won’t think twice about attacking them, which will further stress and hinder the progress of the captive monkey!

The previous structure was old, weak and just not suitable anymore, so on the 27th of April 2010 we organised a quiz at Ngiri Bar and Restaurant and managed to raise 70,000 Ksh – a fantastic amount that went towards the creation of the new quarantine. Following this, over the last month or so, both the volunteers and staff have been working extremely hard to re-build the quarantine area. The project is nearing completion with the final touches being added in the next week. We’re all very excited about getting the first patients in to their new shelter! We have such a range of primates with a wider range of problems, some recovering after operations and others who have been taken from their troops to be sold as pets. The new quarantine will give us the best possible chance of releasing these animals back to their natural habitat and families!

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,


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,


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


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


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.


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.


Above: The Colobus in the clinic

Below: The injuries caused by electrocution and the subsequent fall


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


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!



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,