Tag Archives: Electrocution

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,


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.



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!

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


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.


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.


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. 


The Colobus Team.


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.


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.


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.



Treading the treetops

I’m Margi and I’m a new volunteer at the Colobus Trust. I live in the UK where I do freelance work for countryside organizations who want to improve their provision for visitors and local communities, and to help people understand the natural and historical environment better.

So in some ways the Colobus Trust feels really familiar, as its aims are not so different. But of course, the pressures and challenges here in Diani are so much greater, as Kenya’s coastal forest steadily disappears and with it the last refuge of the Angolan Colobus monkey, not to mention all the rest of the animals and plants in this precious ecosystem.

We’ve had a stark reminder of this recently, being greeted in the mornings by the sound of chain-saws from a neighboring property, where the owner is clearing land. At first, we thought our resident Colobus troop had been scared off by the noise, but last week they were back, calmly munching the young leaves of the neem trees that surround the Colobus Trust house, and bouncing on and off our roof before returning to the topmost branches.


This was my first sight of Colobus monkeys in the wild. They are truly stunning animals with their beautiful black coats and flowing white manes. It would be tragic if they disappeared for ever. But they have well-developed survival skills, and it’s good to know our ‘home’ troop is still around.

Today I saw one of the areas where they’re doing well, a three-acre patch of untouched coastal forest, where there are at least five Colobus troops. I was there to help Colobus Trust staffers John and Mwitu to trim the high branches of trees growing close to power lines, to stop Colobus and other monkeys using the high-voltage wires as a convenient walkway.

Electrocution is one of the main causes of death or serious injury for Diani’s primates, and although the Trust rushes to the rescue whenever they hear of a casualty, the victims don’t always survive. In any case, prevention is better than cure! So trimming trees and insulating power lines are important parts of the work. At the moment the Trust is running a big campaign to insulate as many lines as possible. It costs just $1 a meter to make the wires monkey-proof, but there are thousands of meters to do, so the Trust urgently needs donations for this work!


John and Mwitu are fearless climbers, shinning up a wobbly extended ladder to gain a precarious foothold in the trees, before lopping off high branches with a razor-sharp machete. I didn’t trust myself on the ladder, and I don’t think the others trusted me with a machete! So I stayed on the ground and cleared up the fallen branches, dragging them into the forest where they’ll sustain all sorts of mini-beasts and eventually rot down into the soil.

One of the local Colobus troops came by to check us out before we started work, and later in the morning we were inspected by three Suni (Africa’s smallest antelope) and a Waterbuck. Patches of forest like this one support an amazing array of wildlife, and it can survive alongside people – not just in parks and reserves – as long as we give it enough space and take care that our actions don’t needlessly destroy it. I can see for myself that the Trust does a great job getting this message across and backing it up with practical action.

Weekend Animal Rescues: Lethal Power line & guarding rottweiler

We had a busy weekend at the Trust; our hotline was as hot as the sun that finally came out through the clouds. On Friday around dusk, we received a call about a Colobus that was hurt, crawling on the ground with its troop nervously encircling it in the nearby trees. After quickly loading the rescue-truck with a cage, net, first veterinary aid, gloves and other equipment usually necessary on an animal rescue, like volunteers, we hit the road.


But upon arrival we were given some bad news, actually the worst news one can get on an animal rescue:

–         I’m sorry, you’re too late, the monkey is already dead, said a man without shirt while guiding us to the spot.

And there it was, the beautiful juvenile black –and-white Colobus lying sideways on the ground, like it had just given up while running. The surrounding air smelled like burnt meat, once again we were dealing with an electrocution. Our vet Rona examined the carcass just in case there would be any pulse, but in short we covered it with a white sheet and headed back home, after deciding with the owner to insulate the power lines close-by.




Next day, Saturday, the sun was still out so we all went down to the beach to get a nice tan. Or so we thought… The hotline rang again, this time our own manager had spotted a limping Sykes monkey, probably hit by a car. We threw the necessities in the truck and rushed to the site. There was no apparent sign of the Sykes, but after looking around in the nearby bushes, we heard a loud ‘thump’ and saw a much disoriented juvenile female Sykes try to flee on the other side of a fenced-in private property. To catch it, we’d have to get in to the property, so we called and called for someone to open the gates, but nobody answered. What to do? In the rush, Rona and I decided to ignore the possibility of a guarding dog and simply climbed over the gate, equipped with net and gloves. It didn’t take long for Rona to catch the poor thing, but as she looked up to head back for the gate, a rottweiler, and a pretty upset one according to the amount of barking, met her eyes. Dilemma: Were we going to just stand there with the dog, adrenaline kicking and an injured monkey in our hands, or try to reach the gate? As the rest of the team tried to distract the dog and persuade a person who suddenly turned up to hold it, Rona and I slowly sneaked closer and closer to the gate, until we could climb it again. The focus switched over to the Sykes. We put her in the cage and hurried back to the vet clinic, where Rona did what was in her power to diagnose and treat her. It seems like she has fallen badly from a tree, hitting her head. She is blind (temporarily we hope) and doesn’t want to use her left front leg, but she has no fractures and has recovered well from the big shock she was in when we found her.




All in all a weekend with way too much time spent in the vet clinic, an experience we are trying to reduce every day, every week, all year round. The human-wildlife conflict is growing, with less land for more people and more monkeys. This time a juvenile Colobus had to pay for it, and I wonder who is paying next time.


Filip Celander, Colobologist

Working with Camps International

So far in 2009 The Colobus Trust has hosted two groups of Camps International students. This is just one example of how we work together with, and host, other organisations to facilitate and promote the vast majority of our work.

21 students aged 17-20 joined us at our base for two blocks of five days. Both programs started with an in-house education day during which students. This consisted of a morning of informative lectures focusing on introducing the students to Colobus Monkeys, Colobus Monkey conservation, and a general lecture on safety in the field. They were also told what to expect in the forest. This was followed by an afternoon walking in the forest where they learnt about the history of the local Digo people and their Kaya Forests as well as seeing firsthand the threats posed to the future of Diani Forest.

Students prepare piping at the Colobus Trust

The remaining part of the week was spent working on practical conservation activities. Many of which would not have been possible for us without the increased number of workers we had. Days were spent desnaring, undertaking beach cleanups, caring for and feeding our ex-pet Vervet monkeys, preparing insulation material (above) and much more. Many of our volunteers joined in to help with this.

The extra hands provided by the students allowed us to prepare the insulation material in record time and both programs facilitated the insulation of a hotspot and we covered over a kilometer of cable! Below is a picture of the insulation material being put into place on the Zawama hotspot.

Insulating the powerlines

It is thanks to organisations like Camps International, who work alongside and support us, as well as providing core funding, that we are able to carry on much of our work. We look forward to working together again in the future!

The Colobus Team

A Bad Start to a New Month

As mentioned in the earlier blog we, sadly, had a record breaking month at the Trust in January and were all hoping that February would have a much lower incident rate.  Unfortunately, despite a quiet first few days, it now looks like this month may see no significant reduction in the number of primate deaths in Diani unless something changes- fast.

On Monday 2nd the Animal Welfare Team responded to a call about an adult Sykes which was suspected of being poisoned.  There were no obvious signs of injury but it seemed to be slightly paralyzed down its left side.  The vet treated him and over the next few days we regularly gave him Dextrose to keep him hydrated.  Unfortunately, although he looked like he was getting stronger; he died on Wednesday of Tetanus and was cremated in the afternoon.

On Thursday we had three new cases, the first one was a female Vervet which had a superficial injury on its right side, possibly from ‘in troop’ fighting.  The worrying thing was that although it certainly seemed more alert than the Sykes, it too was displaying paralysis in its left side and dragged its left leg.  Regrettably, she too died within 48 hours of being brought in to the Trust, another victim of Tetanus.

The second case, on the face of it, looks hopeful.  Just as the staff were finishing for the day a local resident pulled up with a small cardboard box with holes punched in the sides and there were some very strange noises coming from inside.

Call of Baby Vervet

When we opened the box a small Vervet face was looking up at us, an infant who had been brought all the way back from Tsavo (approximately 200km from Diani)!  It seems that the resident had been visiting and seen some children playing with the baby, its mother nowhere in sight, so had brought him to us for the correct care and attention. After a quick check up to ensure there were no obvious problems he was handed over to us, the volunteers, for feeding every 3 hours.  He’d had a long journey from home, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is one which will have a happy ending.

Tim, one of the volunteers, feeding the Vervet

Almost immediately after we had given him a feed and got him settled with a hot water bottle for a surrogate Mum; another Sykes monkey was brought in.  Disappointingly this was another victim of a road traffic accident.  We haven’t taken any photos as the whole face had been torn open with a large gash from forehead to mouth and the prognosis didn’t look hopeful.  Just the shock of what was obviously such a high speed impact would have been enough to prove fatal.  We called the vet to treat her and followed his direction for after care but unfortunately when we checked in the morning she had died.

Three-hourly feeding of the baby Vervet continued and late in the afternoon of Friday a juvenile Sykes was brought in, a further RTA victim.   This guy looked in bad shape and after a visiting vet had looked him over the diagnosis was possible internal bleeding with regular check ups required through the night.  Unfortunately this was much too traumatic for the small Sykes and he died the next day.  After such an investment of time and emotions it can be hard to accept.

Anna (Volunteer) with the Juvenile Sykes

On Monday two more dead monkeys were found.  One, on the road not far from the Trust, had obviously been killed on impact by a hit and run driver.  Thankfully a resident had called to let us know what had happened.  The other, a victim of electrocution that will be investigated further.

Despite all these sad stories the baby Vervet continues to go from strength to strength (if his bite is anything to go by).  And although he does require a lot of care and attention, as all babies do in the early months, we have to think that he will have a long future ahead of him.  To dwell too much on the trauma of him being taken from his mother, or indeed what her fate might have been, does not help remedy the situation and we are doing what we can to find him a suitable home where he can play and learn with other monkeys.

Only with your continued help, support and donations can the Trust continue to provide care for injured monkeys and monkeys in need of rehabilitation.  If you are planning a holiday why not plan the experience of a lifetime and come to volunteer at the trust.  You will be helping to prolong the life of the primates in Diani.

Baby Vervet after trying some banana

Tracey Stenson, Colobologist

January – A Dangerous Time To Be A Monkey

The month of January has sadly been a record breaker in terms of primate fatalities.

16 monkeys (Vervet: 2, Sykes: 7, Colobus: 6, Baboons: 1) have been lost in the 26 days January has so far seen. Not only is this a 533% increase on the 3 lost in the whole of December, but it is also a considerable proportion of Diani’s ever-dwindling primate populations. If this rate continues we will be looking at a complete population collapse within primates, over the next decade or less.

The majority of deaths occurred under the wheels of speeding vehicles, with 10 monkeys (Vervet: 2, Sykes: 7, Colobus: 1) being claimed by the road that cuts their habitat in half. A further 6 monkeys (Colobus: 5, Baboons: 1) have been electrocuted to death on the insinuated power lines and transformers that occur through Diani Forest. These two elements of habitat disturbance are unsurprisingly, the biggest threat to Diani’s primates.

Below is a picture of a Colobus we cared for after he was hit by a speeding car, as you can see his jaw was broken meaning he could only eat Bougainvillea porridge.

Chuma in his cage

This notable increase in fatalities, when compared to last month’s figures, is sadly an explainable trend and mankind is irrefutably guilty. Although it has not been statistically proven, it is hypothesised to occur because of two factors. Firstly, the increased human traffic that occurs during this peak of the tourist season. This leads to an increase in not just road traffic, but the pedestrian traffic also makes monkeys more unlikely of coming to the ground. Thus leading them to come into contact with power lines more frequently. The second factor is caused by the current climate. We are in the middle of the “dry season” and therefore monkeys are moving further in search of food and water. These lead monkeys to pass more frequently through areas of conflict. Therefore explaining why our electrocution and road traffic accident hotspots claim even more lives at this time of year. People argue that man is not to blame for this, but reckless drivers and a failure to insulate power lines proves to the contrary.

This knowledge should serve as a brutal reminder to us all. We are facing a very real and imminent future where irresponsible tourism and development will cause the demise of this once glorious forest. Rest assured, the reality is bleak, but The Colobus Trust and its allies will continue the fight to save Diani’s monkeys from the future they currently face, but we need your help and support. Some of our readers will remember the days when Diani was a pioneering beach resort buried deep in the coastal rainforest. Now all that is left of this forest is confined to privately owned patches within hotels and peoples gardens. It is these vulnerable forests that make Diani such a popular tourist destination and something that only takes a little compromise to protect. Something that we should all recognise as our duty. If you need any advice on how to act responsibly please ask our advice. But for a start, simple things such as providing water dishes will make a difference.

Let us hope that, as in previous years, the death toll falls. However the many horrible sites witnessed by members of the Colobus Trust Animal Rescue Unit will stay with us for a long time. Those of you who have stopped for a dead monkey lying on the side of the road will know what we mean and feel our pain.

CK in the Forest

The Colobus Trust will continue its work with core projects such as Colobridge maintenance and Animal Rescue Unit as well as continuing with novel ideas. One of these will to push forward with our primate electrocution hotspot insulation project. This week we are hosting 9 Camp Kenya students, pictured above learning about the forest and undertaking a population check of Kaya Kinondo Forest. This will add to the team as we prepare the insulation material. On Thursday the 29th of January we will be insulating our second hotspot by Zawama. We will then move on to insulate more hotspots. We aim to complete one every two weeks!

Best wishes,

The Colobus Team