Tag Archives: Human-Primate Conflict

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,

Cara

Snares trap again…

A few weeks ago, we got a call from Camp Kenya about an injured male Sykes that was limping on its right front hand. When we arrived on the scene and after assessing the situation, John set about darting the monkey in order to treat its injuries. This particular Sykes monkey was very intelligent and managed to dodge the dart several times, but we finally managed to capture him. It was at this point that we discovered the reason for its obvious discomfort was because it had a snare embedded its flesh. We quickly took him back to the Trust clinic in order to take out the snare and wash the wound, and then to treat the lesion on his mouth that had arisen from trying to get the snare off. We successfully removed the snare that had fixed itself deeply into the monkey’s flesh, cleaned the abrasion and gave him some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine to deal with the infection.

The lesion on the Sykes' mouth and snare around its hand

The lesion on the Sykes' mouth and snare around its hand

We kept the monkey in the cage for 3 days for observation and when we saw that the healing process had begun to take place, we took him back to where he was captured and released him back to the wild. The release was successful.

The snare removed and the wound cleaned

The snare removed and the wound cleaned

Snares are a big problem here in Diani, simply because the locals set the snares to trap the small Suni antelope for bushmeat. Unfortunately, monkeys fall victim to the traps as well which either results in their death or leaves them with deformities. We have therefore put measures in place to mitigate the snare menace. Firstly, we try to educate the locals on the dangers and disadvantages of putting up the snares, especially with our education program with local schools. Secondly, we have a desnaring program where staff and volunteers go into the forest in Diani and physically remove the snares and traps that have been set. Desnaring saves the lives of forest creatures and promotes sustainability of fauna in Diani.

Mavinya

Volunteer

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

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.

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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.

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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. 

Thanks,

The Colobus Team.

Road traffic strikes again…

Last Tuesday we responded to a series of reports about a Sykes monkey that had been involved in a traffic accident near Leopard Beach Resort. We had been told that it was a mother and an infant that had been hit. When we reached the site we discovered that the mother was very badly injured and only able to drag herself on her fore-legs. The infant was alive but unconscious when we got to her. We transferred the mother to the cage and Rob took the infant in his hands and we rushed back to the trust. The infant did not show any obvious external injuries and seemed to be breathing ok. About half way back to the trust the infant started gasping and, unfortunately, she had died by the time we had made it back. The mother was taken up to the vet clinic, where it was decided that she had broken her back and we were forced to put her down.

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Above: The mother and infant.

It is often the case that these deaths are accidental. It is known, however, that some people take matters into their own hands and speed up when they see a monkey in front of their car. It’s important that we work with the local community to make this minority of people understand the work that we do here at the trust, and how they can help us to help them for the future! Conserving the wildlife here will ultimately provide for them and their families through tourism.

These cases are sad enough to report but even more so for us as volunteers, as the infant was only slightly bigger than Erica (our orphaned Sykes) is now. The trust has already put up more signposts encouraging the adherence to the 50kmph speed limit as well as putting in speed bumps in problem areas. Let’s hope we can bring the number of road traffic incidents down even further than we already have.

Rob and Cara

Shocking!

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.

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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.

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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.

Polly

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

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

Please help stop frying monkeys

Re: Electrocution of Colobus Monkeys on your property

We are writing to ask for your personal support in our ongoing fight to protect the endangered Angolan Pied Colobus in Diani from extinction.

In the last 4 years The Colobus Trust has recorded over 60 confirmed deaths where the power lines that pass through the forest and your private property have killed arboreal primates instantly. Shockingly 46 of these cases were of the now highly endangered Angolan Colobus Monkeys. Our statistics confirm that electrocution from un-insulted power lines claims more Colobus monkey lives than any other threat, natural or man-made. The power lines also wound and severely maim many more primates when they come into contact with them, the results being flesh cooked and burnt to the bone, loss of limbs and more frequently infection, which leads to an agonising and slow death.


The data collected by The Colobus Trust has so far identified 17 “hotspots” where electrocutions most frequently occur. The total length of un-insulated power lines on the south coast runs into may hundreds of kilometres, however 4,888 meters of live cable have been identified as the most harmful. Working with Camps International and the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) the Colobus Trust has recently completed a pilot project at the hotspot surrounding Diani Marine and the Ali Barbour’s properties; after identifying and installing a unique and highly cost effective insulation system, all the previously un-insulated cables in this area have now been made 100% primate safe. This is a very significant result for the Colobus population in this area who can now live peacefully without the risk of a traumatic death.

Initial finances to jump-start this program were contributed by the Camps International Trust, with the work being completed by volunteers and KPLC engineers under the supervision of the Colobus Trust.

The electric cables on your property have been identified as one of these leading electrocution ‘hot spots’ and an area where recorded Colobus deaths through electrocution have happened. We are now requesting you as a responsible landowner to contribute to the cost of insulating these power lines to save these magnificent animals for generations to come. The alternative to not acting is possibly the end of the wild Colobus monkey on Kenya’s South Coast forever.

We believe that the material costs (Average Ksh 7,500 per plot) are minimal, in return for the absolute privilege of being able to view these rare and beautiful primate, living at peace and without threat of electrocution in your garden. There is also a unique satisfaction in knowing that your personal contribution will have a significant and immediate effect in conserving these beautiful Colobus monkeys. Your contribution will be used entirely for the materials to insulate your power lines, which will be 100% effective after a very quick installation.

There is indeed a strong argument from many quarters that this project should be funded by KPLC, however after many years of appealing NOTHING has happened, with the result being continued deaths by electrocution and a steady decline in the Colobus population. It is for this reason that we are now acting directly to effect change. Other than your contribution the provision of materials there will be no further charges, as The Colobus Trust, Camps International and KPLC will provide the workforce, tools and expertise to place the insulating conduits.

Your voluntary contribution to fund this highly effective project will be recognised through a joint program grading landowners & local stakeholders on their efforts in conservation. The Camps International Trust will also provide indigenous hard wood tree saplings FREE OF CHARGE that can be planted on your property to reduce habitat loss & increase the local forest cover. Your contribution and support for this very important program will be recognized online, through e-newsletters and throughout the international conservation community.

We believe that the only way forward to conserve the now highly endangered Angolan Colobus Monkey is to work together with responsible conservation-minded landowners; in this regard we are appealing for your much needed and valuable support. Representatives of the Colobus Trust, KPLC & Camps International will be contacting you shortly to arrange for a survey and to provide an accurate cost for the required insulation work to be completed.

Many thanks in advance for your cooperation,

Kindest regards,

From caring Diani residents…

We Have New Wheels! Thank You Camps International

Two and a half weeks ago we put out an appeal. The tyres on our sole vehicle were extremely worn down and we could not afford to buy new ones.

Thankfully a saviour came in the form of Camps International who donated four heavy duty tires from their office in Diani. We are extremely gratefully for this generous donation.

We have worked together for a number of years now and have recent made some serious progress on our joint insulation project. For more information on this please visit this blog. There are also many upcoming projects that we are doing in conjunction with Camps International so watch this space!

THANK YOU CAMPS INTERNATIONAL!