Category Archives: Primate Rescue/Rehabilitation

Making New Friends .

On the morning of January 24th we were alerted to a welfare case near Indian Ocean Resort. Upon arrival we were given a metal crate with a month old male vervet infant inside and then taken to an adult female vervet, the infant’s mother, who sadly was already dead.

Both animals were brought back to the site where the mother was given a post mortem and the infant given a full medical assessment by our vet. He was then bundled up tightly in some old sheets to stop him wriggling around too much – earning him his name, Burrito.

As facebook friends of Colobus Conservation might already be aware, following the post mortem examination of Burrito’s mother it became apparent that she was poisoned. As standard procedure we kept him in a 48 hour quarantine from our other orphans but also kept a close eye on him for signs of potential poisoning – any poisons the mother had ingested could have been passed on to him via her milk. Over his first few days he remained healthy and things are looking good for him so far.

Burrito is a very independent and developed infant! Unlike many orphans, he is sleeping through the night without crying and he is eating well during the day, though he will only tolerate being held by people if he is being fed or if very sleepy. Limiting his attachment to humans can only be a good thing as it will improve his chances of being successful in the wild when he is reintroduced. Nevertheless, because he is a baby monkey he needs contact and warmth from something. As he was not being regularly held by his carers we were keen to introduce him to the other orphans as soon as possible.

There are many considerations and often risks when introducing unfamiliar wild animals so we were sure to keep a close eye on Burrito when he first met our other orphans, Yam, Turk and Izzie. We introduced Burrito to each one individually and were delighted to see them all get on. Burrito is especially fond of our other male vervet orphan, Turk, and when they first met they immediately started playing. So far, all four orphans are getting on well together – cuddling and playing in their pen. As Burrito is a little younger than the rest he gets fed separately but is always welcomed back by lots of kisses as the others lick up the messy porridge left around his mouth!Burrito and Izzy blog picture







Births, deaths and injuries at Colobus Conservation .

Colobus Conservation’s wild colobus home troop have had a very eventful few days encompassing a takeover attempt, births, deaths and injuries.

Hugos face

Late last week and over the weekend a lone adult male was seen challenging Hugo, the alpha male of our colobus home troop, for the alpha position, this confrontation resulted in a lot of frantic chasing and has left Hugo with open wounds to his face and damage to his hand. The lone male has not been seen for a number of days now, so we believe Hugo successfully defend his troop.

Our research team speculate that the attempted take over was the motivation for the troop to cross the busy Diani highway directly outside of Colobus Conservation on Sunday afternoon – something that has never before been documented in 3 years of research on this troop. Unfortunately the troop’s inexperience of crossing the road had irreversible consequences as Elliot (a large juvenile male born in 2011) and Kifungu (a juvenile male born in 2012) were both hit by cars half an hour apart. Elliot’s injuries to his lungs were too severe for him to recover and sadly he passed away in our vet clinic. Kifungu however was hit on the side of his body and luckily did not suffer any broken bones or internal injuries, so he was placed in an enclosure to rest and overcome the shock for 24 hours, while we monitored his recovery.


After being assessed by our vet on Monday morning and seeing that he had begun moving fluently again, Kifungu was taken to the troop to be released. Once he was out of the enclosure and on the ground however it became apparent that he was still not 100% and was struggling to leap between the trees. As the troop moved on, Kifungu could not keep up and was being left behind. Although our rescue team tried to get him back into our care to give him more time to rest safely he was too agile and we could not re-capture him. Kifungu was monitored by our researcher for the rest of the day and evening. By the time it was dark Kifungu was left alone, completely separated from the troop, but safe in the dense foliage of a tree.


At sunrise ourElewa and infant researcher returned to where Kifungu had been left the previous night, but he had moved and as it is incredibly difficult to find one lone and very well camouflaged monkey, he could not be found. After another sweep of their range by all of our volunteers he was finally located, back with the troop! With Kifungu looking comfortable, reconnected with his troop and moving well our researcher continued on with her usual research work only to quickly realise that there was another unexpected arrival in the troop, a bright white new baby! The infant, born on Monday night, is the third born to Elewa, an adult female who we have been uncertain whether she was pregnant or not for some time now. In a bittersweet ending, Elewa was the mother of Elliot who was killed by the Matatu on Sunday evening.


An eventful weekend for our home troop who although sad to have lost Elliot, have successfully defended and kept their alpha, been reunited with Kifungu, and now have a brand new baby in the troop.

Help Colobus Conservation save a female colobus monkey and her infant .

On Sunday 3rd November Colobus Conservation was called to assist an adult Angolan colobus monkey that had been hit by a car within the Diani area. Up on arrival at the incident it quickly became apparent that a small white colobus infant was also involved. Both monkey’s were brought back to Colobus Conservation’s vet facility to receive treatment.

The adult female and the infant’s mother, has extensive injuries that have left her paralysed on the right hand side of her body. She is undergoing intensive treatment and care as Colobus Conservation veterinary and care team do everything they can to aid her recovery so she can continue to care for her infant.

While her medical care is intensive the most expensive outlay in her recovery is her diet. Due to her condition she is unable to eat an adequate quantity of ‘free’ and wild growing leaves, therefore her diet is being supplemented with a product called ‘Critical Care for Herbivores’. She requires one bag per day at a cost of £13 per bag and to further complicate matters this product is not available within Kenya and will have to be shipped in from Europe.

Fortunately, the four week old infant male was physically unharmed in the incident and therefore, while his mother undergoes her life saving treatment the infant is being cared for by our expert colobus care team with the assistance of Betsy, a three year old, previously hand reared colobus monkey.

Battle for Alpha .

Over the last few months at Colobus Conservation we have been witnessing an interesting rivalry and dominance struggle between two wild vervet monkeys for the alpha male position in our release troop. In January 2013 the previous alpha male, Handy-Jo, was killed in a human wildlife conflict, while this was a terrible occurrence it is unfortunately not an isolated incident. In 2012 there were a reported 178 human wildlife conflict incidents involving monkeys within Diani, these included cases of electrocution by unisulated power lines, road traffic accidents, stoning, individuals doused in paint and even one baboon was killed with a bow and arrow.

Frankie, the beta male of the release troopAt the time of Handy-Jo’s death Frankie was the most likely new alpha of the troop. Frankie was not an individual released as part of the original troop, but a lone male who has slowly been integrating into the troop since August. However, within 24 hours of Handy-Jo being killed Al, an individual never seen with the troop or in this area before, appeared and began spending time with/or near by the release vervet troop. It is highly unlikely that an appearance at this time was by chance, but most likely because he had been watching the troop and took advantage of the disappearance of the old alpha and as a much larger individual than Frankie, Al, waiting stitches to his face after attack from Frankielikely knew his chances of dominance were good. Within a matter of days an aggressive encounter occurred between Al and Frankie resulting in Al getting a huge gash to his right cheek which needed to be stitched up by our vet (he was called Al, after Al PacinoScarface).

In recent weeks Al has been spending an increasing amount of time with the troop and with the backing of the release troop females has slowly become dominant over Frankie. Frankie has been seen presenting to Al, exposing his neck and other vulnerable areas during grooming which is a very recessive act. In a more confirming case recently a third new male vervet appeared in the area and was chased off by Al (not Frankie) backed up by the females and sub-adults, a clear sign of leadership.

However, there is an integral member of the release troop is a sub-adult male called Broken Arm. Broken Arm appears to be more of a family man, always intently grooming the adult females and playing with the infants and juveniles. At present he is quite young and does not have the muscle, size or experience to really challenge the current leaders. Although Al may currently seem to hold the position of alpha the ranking is not set in stone. Only time will tell for the true alpha to reveal himself and we all believe that Broken Arm is the ultimate contender!


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