Tag Archives: road traffic accidents

Monitor lizard at the Colobus Trust

Did he stop the war? I wouldn’t know. The hotline rang in the last 5 minutes of the movie.

It was reported that a monitor lizard had been hit by car. ANIMAL WELFARE EMERGENCY was announced. We took the net, gloves, cage and everything else we needed and got on the road. We found the lizard hiding in the bushes next to the road where it had been hit. Catching it was quite a challenge. We managed to make the impressive creature move out of the scrub where we were able to throw a net over it. After a quick look we could tell immediately that it had a really severe injury under its right arm. We took it to the travel cage and drove our way back to the clinic at the Trust.

The monitor lizard in the travel cage

The monitor lizard in the travel cage

A local vet, Dr Peter, came quickly to help. After series of shots of anesthesia the lizard finally fell asleep and the vet could take a closer look. He cleaned and studied the wound. There were no other injuries that he could tell so he stitched up the injury and we let the rather large lizard get some rest and time to recover. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the lizard died the following day probably from internal bleeding from the accident.

Myself, Dr Peter and Cara with the patient

(l-r) Myself, Dr Peter and Cara with the patient

It is a sad experience but we will keep trying to help and save the animals that need our help.

Thanks for reading,

Elad

Eco-volunteer from Israel

Mavinya and Cara showing the size of the lizard

Mavinya and Cara showing the size of the lizard

Hannah’s Diary…

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,

Hannah

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