Foremost we would like to kindly thank you for the warm welcoming we have received from all of you. We (Tom and Rona) are off to a busy start and have many things planned for the Colobus Trust, but one step at a time;
We had an interesting week here at the veterinary clinic many cases came in, some ending happily and some sad. Our positive story happened on Tuesday when our field assistant Peter found a young Sykes monkey on the ground exhibiting neurological symptoms (tremors and convulsions). After admitting and examining it we suspected he had been poisoned by a likely Organophosphate or Pyrethroid substance.
We managed to administer the proper Antidote and treat him, and by the next morning he had been well and ready for release. Poisoning such as this can happen when uncontrolled insecticide treatment is being given to crops and fields. It may also be a deliberate action against monkeys perceived as pests. We must remember they have a right to exist here just as we do (even slightly more) and we must keep that in mind when tending to our own activities. That night we also received a Bushbaby, which was sadly attacked by dogs and dead on arrival. We buried him in our compound. Another issue of human-wildlife conflict is the domestic animals we introduce to this habitat. Although Bushbabies are largely arboreal they do sometimes descend to the ground to forage and this noise may attract dogs to the area, as they are quite slow on the ground and are not so well equipped for self defense these cases may happen. The next morning we sent out a team to one of the hotels in Diani which informed us there was a sick Sykes monkey about their premises with a swelling of the lower jaw. After capturing and diagnosing him, we sadly reached the conclusion that he suffered from a malignant (cancerous) growth of the mandible (lower jaw). Despite his condition he seemed to eat and drink and was not neglected by his fellow troop members. It appeared he has had this condition since he was an infant, an estimate of about one or two years. We gave him some local treatment and then we were left to make an ethical decision; Would we release him back to the wild, as there was nothing medical that could be done for him (practically and financially) or would we euthanize him? We had so much respect for this little guy surviving this long that we didn’t feel it was our decision as to when and how he should pass. So after making sure that he was indeed eating and was not in any pain, we decided to get him back to his troop and let him die naturally as his condition would not pose a threat to any other monkeys or humans. We wish him well.
Another thing we are trying to do is get our veterinary clinic better equipped as we are missing some vital medical supplies and drugs. As the only first response center for wildlife in the coastal area it is vital that we do not lose any of our patients due to lack of resources, so any donations on your behalf would be very much appreciated and would get the clinic up and running. We mostly need very basic supplies and even small donations would help us greatly. With your help and our efforts we can really make a difference and do our best to protect Diani’s habitat and wildlife population.
Rona and Tom
17:15 Monday 12th January 2009: Gwili’s land rover skids to a halt at the entrance to Colobus Cottage, he jumps out and shouts that he needs help. Gwili had just found an adult female Sykes monkey lying in the middle of the road on his way home. It lay there on the passenger seat, breathing shallowly and unable to move. This was clearly another road traffic accident (RTA); probably someone rushing home from work, ignoring the 50kph speed limit, hitting the monkey then driving off – a regular occurrence here in Diani.
We shifted her to the clinic and called the local vet to take a look. The vet treated her for shock, gave her a variety of booster injections and hooked her up to a drip. Though there were no visible external injuries or signs of fracture, the monkey was clearly in a bad way. There was little response in any limb, her eyes were open but stared blankly into space and her heartbeat was weak and erratic. We feared internal injuries and a possible blood clot in the brain. We made her as comfortable as possible and hoped for improvement in the morning.
We kept treating her and she hung on for 48hrs before finally passing away during the night of 14th Jan. One tough little monkey. We buried her in the garden the next day. Tracey and I have been working at the Colobus trust for a mere two weeks. Already we have seen 2 baboons (1 RTA, 1 electrocution), 4 Colobus (3 electrocutions, 1 unknown) and 3 Sykes monkeys (RTAs) die in Diani. I’ll let you do the maths on annual statistics. It seems there’s a war going on here: Man vs. Monkey; Development vs. Conservation; Money vs. Environmental Care.
08:00 Thursday 15th January 2009: On her way to work, Mary had seen a car hit another monkey and phoned the Colobus Trust for assistance. Again, it was a young female Sykes monkey which was lying unconscious in the road. We rushed to the scene but in the 5 minutes it took us to arrive, the monkey had regained consciousness and climbed up a tree. Her legs looked damaged and she couldn’t climb properly. Under close surveillance by the rest of her troop, who were very distressed and calling loudly, Peter climbed up the tree after the monkey and caught it. We brought her back to the centre and called a vet who treated her. She was kept under observation overnight.
Fortunately her condition improved immediately after treatment. Even another troop of Sykes (local to the Colobus Trust) heard her and broke into the quarantine cages to investigate! Perhaps they were planning a rescue operation. The next morning we drove back to find her original troop and successfully released her back into the wild. Clearly she had made a 100% recovery from the speed she shot out of the cage. I just hope that we don’t see her in the vet centre again.
These are just two typical stories that occur every week here at the Colobus Trust. Though not all animals make it, it is our duty to help every animal that comes in. All animals are treated with the available resources, even if the outlook doesn’t look good. Medication and vet bills cost a lot of money and any contribution will really help our cause.
The other way you can help is to become a volunteer: even if you only have a week or two to spare you would be helping with a number of on-going projects and making a real difference to the Trust.
Tim Jukes, Colobologist