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.
Joyce and Angelique
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.
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!
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 [email protected]
Our deepest thanks to San Antonio Zoo for their generous donation to the Colobus Trust!
Their contribution will hugely help in the conservation of primates and habitat on the south coast of Kenya.
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
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!
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,
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!
Some readers may be aware that Erica, the orphaned Sykes monkey who had been living at the Trust since July, died earlier this month. Erica had moved from the main house up to the rehabilitation cages, where we hoped to prepare her for her release into the wild. However, this was not to be. After being found bleeding from a wound on her back, Erica battled for life for over a day before finally passing away. After her death it was discovered that she had internal bleeding and a punctured lung.
Before her death, Erica had discovered that she could still squeeze herself out of the cage. This has lead us to believe that having temporarily moved out of the cage Erica was chased or even pinned down by a Sykes monkey in the local troop. Unfortunately there is no way of us ever knowing.
The loss of Erica will certainly be felt for a long time by anyone who knew her. We can only cherish the wonderful memories she has given us and be thankful that she came into our lives, however briefly.
The Colobus Team
On Wednesday afternoon staff and volunteers from the Colobus Trust completed a 3-day census of Colobus monkeys in the Gongoni Forest Reserve. WWF had given us a small amount of funding to conduct the census, which would use the Colobus monkey as an indicator of the quality of the forest. We had rangers from the Kenya Forest Service with us who were armed with rifles to protect us from buffalo, and locals with pangas (machetes) to help us navigate through the forest.
We were divided into three groups and given GPSs with a coordinate which we would attempt to follow down to the other edge of the forest in a straight line. The first day was extremely dense and thick because it was all secondary growth forest. Everyone battled their way through the undergrowth, sometimes crawling, and it took one group 2 hours to cover 1 km. Some Colobus were seen but everyone was hoping for more!
The second day of the census was definitely not what we were expecting it to be. Immediately off the bat poaching camps and snares were found. The Gongoni Forest has become really thin due to illegal cutting, mostly by local poachers who chop down large trees and sell the wood for house-building or furniture-making. Whilst making their way through the woods, one of our teams came across a group of poachers who were in the middle of cutting up trees. The forest ranger with them told the team to be quiet and to get down. They waited whilst the ranger snuck up on the poachers and then shouted at them to put their hands above their head and get on the ground. One man escaped but the other was caught. The ranger marched him out off the forest along with the census team and they met up with another census team at the other end of the transect. Both of the rangers wanted to be the ones to bring the poacher in which meant that our census activities for the day came to an abrupt end. Both teams walked with the guards and the poacher to a meeting point where a police truck was going to come and pick them up. On the way, the guards spotted another poacher with an even larger bundle of wood. They sprinted after him and one of them fired a blank to scare the poacher. Before everyone knew it there were two poachers handcuffed and waiting under a tree to be picked up.
On the third day, some transects had to be modified in order to complete the census on time due to the fact that the poachers on the day before had set us back. Two teams completed two 3.5 km transects but one of these teams saw no monkeys at all! Far too many poaching camps and garages (where poachers chop the wood) were discovered. It was sad to realize how hard the Kenya Forest Service’s job is and how ineffective some methods may be at preventing poaching.
It was a relief for most to finish their last transects and escape the heat and humidity of the woods. Those days spent in the forest were difficult work! Making the way through lots of heavy bush, vines and thorny branches did not make travel very easy. Despite it all, the volunteers are happy that they had the experience but are thrilled to get back to normal days at the trust!
We’ll give you the results of our census as soon as we can!
Thanks for reading,
And The Colobus Team
We apologise for the lack of updates recently from the Trust! We’ve had a lot going on which we’ll update you all on in the next few days.
Regular visitors to our blog will know that we rescued a Bush Baby which we named Bahati. He was a favourite with the visiting school children as well as all the volunteers at the trust – even when we had to wake up every 3 hours to feed him! We taught him to jump over short distances and Marvo was building up to the ‘double jump’! Bahati was being fed on a diet of fruit and milk, but efforts to move him onto a diet of insects failed.
Last Monday he became a little weak but seemed to be improving and his appetite returned to normal. He was back to his noisy, active self on Tuesday. However when we woke him for one of his feeds on Wednesday afternoon he was very drowsy and would not feed. His condition did not improve and sadly he passed away later that day. As you all may know raising an infant without tender maternal care is very difficult and we did the best we could in order to see Bahati gradually become a healthy grown up Bush Baby but it was not meant to be.
Above: Our beloved Bahati with Marvo
He really was part of the family and his death has affected us all very strongly. We all miss him very much.
Thanks for reading and look out for our next update coming soon…
The Colobus Team.