As the rains enter full swing, the staff and volunteers at The Colobus Trust have been working hard to prepare the tree nursery for what is surely one of its busiest seasons. This week, Dougie and John took it upon themselves to start sorting through the various plants and trees which make up the nursery.
Visitors to the Trust are encouraged to purchase a tree which is then nurtured and finally planted in the Diani area as part of the trust’s general conservation work. Unfortunately, as tends to be the case in Kenya, a number of these trees die before they can be planted and it is necessary to continually plant more, in the full knowledge that only a small number of them will survive. Over the past few months, the number of trees in the nursery has fallen dramatically as they struggle to deal with the harsh climate and salted water in Diani.
Despite these problems, all the volunteers have now been involved in this project and the area is looking much better. We all hope that the new nursery will prove to be a hit with visitors and will be more inclined to purchase a tree in the future.
We hope the rains continue year upon year as our trees continue to grow!
Our peaceful Saturday morning was interrupted by a call on our hotline. Diani Sea Resort was calling to report a dead juvenile Colobus monkey. We knew this wouldn’t be an easy call out, but nothing could quite prepare us for what was waiting at the scene. The juvenile was in fact a very young infant, its death a result of fighting between two troops on the premises. Our animal welfare officer John estimated the infant was around one week old, as its fur was still completely white and the remains of its umbilical cord were still present. The Colobus only carry a single offspring at a time (although a set of twins can occur on very rare occasions) and take four to six years to reach sexual maturity. Therefore to lose an infant after a six month gestation period is a big blow to any Colobus troop, but more so in Diani where the population is dangerously low.
We were told by staff at the resort that intense fighting had occurred the previous day, with visible injuries to some of the adults. It is unclear at what stage and how the infant was killed, but it is likely that the mother continued to carry the infant after its death.
Increasingly fragmented habitats result in increased levels of stress in the species which live in them. Territorial disputes between rival Colobus troops are a natural occurrence; however the forest loss in Diani gives rise to a greater number of conflicts between the troops over the territory that remains.
To try and counter this, the Colobus Trust is working to create forest corridors for the Colobus and other native species to have better mobility between forest fragments.
More on this in another post!
Rob and Cara
Hi there, I am one of the new volunteers at the trust and my first week has certainly been busy. Spending only a week here has shown me just how diverse and important the work of The Colobus Trust is.
So far I have been involved in a variety of the many projects that the trust carries out to ensure that the endangered Colobus monkeys have a future. These projects have ranged from climbing trees to mend the damaged Colobridges or being called out to search for an injured colobus or walking through the ever depleting forest to search for native saplings to add to the unique Colobus Corridor – this will hopefully develop corridors of forest in between the forest patches so Colobus have areas to move safely in.
Polly watering the saplings collected
As I am a qualified teacher, I have also become interested in the environmental education work that the Colobus Trust carries out and with the help of Hamisi I hope to begin a new programme after the long school holidays. I will keep you updated on this!
In just a week I have realised the hard work that the Colobus Trust has ahead of it but I do believe with continued hard work from the staff and support from volunteers it is possible.