Tag Archives: sustainable

SafariLink press release. Colobus Trusts new corporate sponsor

The following article is the press release from Safarilink the new corporate sponsor of Colobus Trust. We at the trust would like to thank Safarilink for all there support and look forward to an amazing relationship. It is always inspiring when a company of this magnitude cares enough about the local environment and organizations dedicated to protecting it.

SafariLink Helps Protect Diani’s Primates

Nairobi, Kenya xx August 2009 – As part of its ongoing corporate social responsibility programme, SafariLink, Kenya’s premier safari airline, has announced that it will donate $2 to the Diani Beach based Colobus Trust for each passenger it flies into or out of the Diani airstrip.  In addition it has sponsored the purchase of a ‘tuk-tuk’ which will be used by the Trust to collect tourists from their hotels and take them to their headquarters where they will be able to learn about the Coast ecosystem and the work of the Trust. The airline, which commenced daily flights to Diani on the 1st July 2009, has taken the decision to assist the Trust which runs the primate conservation and rescue centre on the south coast of Kenya.

The Colobus Trust was founded in Diani in 1997, initially to come up with a way to prevent the high number of monkey ‘road kills’ on Diani Road.  Today, the Trust has expanded to become a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre, focusing on primates, with both Kenyan staff and international volunteers. The Colobus Trust also helps to educate local schoolchildren, gives guided eco-tours and provides a rehabilitation programme for monkeys that have been kept illegally as pets.

“The rapid growth in tourism infrastructure and growing human population in the area has had a significant negative impact on the remnants of a once large and rich coastal forest ecosystem and hence a decline in the primate population,’ said John Buckley, Managing Director, SafariLink Aviation.  “For more than ten years the Colobus Trust has been dedicated to the conservation and welfare of primates living in the Diani area.  SafariLink, as a socially responsible company, is therefore happy to help the Trust in order to help safeguard the environment for the remaining primates and hopefully thereby stop the decline in their numbers.”

In support of the donation, Raymond Matiba, Chairman of The Colobus Trust said, “75% of the Trusts core revenue comes from tourism.  But sadly the Kenya Coast has suffered a  decline in tourists in recent years and hence our income from visitors to the Trust has decreased.  We are therefore particularly delighted that SafariLink have made this very generous donation to the Trust and their pledge of long term financial support will help us plan for the future.”

“In addition, the introduction of the SafariLink daily flights to Diani is in itself a very positive move which we believe will result in an increase in tourists as well as being beneficial to the residents in the area,” added Matiba.

SafariLink is involved in other socially responsible initiatives that include an indigenous tree planting exercise on the foothills of Mount Kenya National Reserve in conjunction with the Bill Woodley Mount Kenya Trust.  This project aims to compensate for the carbon-dioxide emissions from their aircraft and hence minimize the company’s operational impact on the environment.  Additionally the company has an agreement with the Lewa Conservancy, www.lewa.org, whereby approximately 5% of the cost of each ticket to Lewa is donated to help their conservation research.  In addition, SafariLink assist the Safi Lamu group who are tidying up Lamu and provide flights for the charity Medical & Educational Aid to Kenya, www.meak.org, to help them reach disadvantaged persons in remote areas who need medical attention for heart and eye conditions.


About SafariLink

SafariLink is a Kenyan company established in 2004.  Based in the ALS Building, Wilson Airport, SafariLink offers a network of scheduled services that cover the main ‘safari’ tourist destinations of Amboseli, Tsavo, Chyulus, Naivasha, Nanyuki, Lewa Downs, Samburu, Loisaba, Shaba, Masai Mara, Kiwayu and Lamu in Kenya and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  In addition, SafariLink can provide you with charter flight within Kenya and throughout East Africa.  SafariLink currently operates a fleet of Cessna Caravans, a Let 410 and Dash 8.

About The Colobus Trust

The Colobus Trust is a conservation organization designed to promote the conservation, preservation and protection of primates like the rare Angolan Colobus monkey (Colobus angolensis palliatus) and its coastal forest habitat in southern Kenya. The Trust was established in 1997 in response to an outcry from local residents about the high number of deaths of the Colobus in the Diani area. Now the Trust has numerous projects concerning the wildlife and the citizens of Kenya, including animal welfare, biological/ecological research, community development and education, forest protection and enrichment and eco-tourism awareness programs.

Colobus Trust’s report on Kaya Muhaka.

Camp Kenya along with Colobus trust completed a preliminary study of Kaya Muhaka (KM) from July 14-16. The following is a brief summary of what was found and recommendation for further research. The three days used with Camp Kenya volunteers and Colobus Trust staff were used as a preliminary study to decide whether or not further research would be necessary and which methods would best suit research in KM.

Two methods were tried during the three days, transects and casual watch. Transect method involves picking a starting point on one end of the forest and walking along a baring, in this case 90 degrees or East. Transects are then repeated every 100m. In the end you have a parallel transects running along the entire length of the forest. In the future distance sampling will be used with the data collected to give an estimated population size of a particular species, in this case the Angolan black and white colobus. Casual watch is done by gridding the entire forest and remaining stationary for an extended period of time. Groups set out into the forest to predetermined position. The groups then separate within the limits of the section, generally 50m sq. and sit quietly recording all observations.


During the three days of field work we completed six transects. Because there was no existing map we arbitrarily picked a point in the forest near the tree nursery. Without a GPS it was difficult to determine the exact distance walked but with pacing we estimate the length of transects to be around 1.8k. During these transects we spotted twelve individual Colobus in three troops. The majority of sightings were located on the East side of the forest where the percentage of canopy cover and height is much greater. Other species noted: One bell hinged tortoise, one squirrel species, one viper species and one troop of yellow baboons.

Two periods of casual watch were completed with two groups resulting in 4 hours and 30 minutes of total survey time. During this period nine individuals of Colobus in two troops had been spotted. A number of unidentified bird species had been observed as well as two bush pigs. Droppings from what was believed to be a suni antelope were also found.

On the final day two teams set out in different directions to gain an estimated size of the entire forest. Walking in two directions and counting paces we gauge the perimeter to be about 6-7k around and likely 2k at its widest depth from East to West.  It appears to be slightly rectangle in shape but without a GPS or more time it was not possible to be certain.  On this walk three more individuals Colobus had been spotted alone from a distance. It was not possible to confirm whether they were lone males or if their troops were nearby. In total 24 individuals and 5 troops had been spotted in 3 days.


Kaya Muhaka is a protected forest reserve located near Camp Kenya’s base in Muhaka, Kenya. Camp Kenya is in the process of planting a buffer zone around the Kaya in order to reduce the reliance on the natural resources from the forest and to increase protection.  In order to help gain support in conservation efforts it is necessary to know the importance if this forest to the wildlife and surrounding communities. KM is a very unique forest in that the forest bed is almost entirely sand measuring 0.5m or more in many places. This creates a number of interesting micro-habitats which could be of conservation value.

It is the Colobus Trusts opinion that more research is needed to fully understand the importance of this forest. From the impressive number of sighting we obtained in the three survey days we can assume that a large population of Colobus still lives in KM and that this is still an important habitat for this species. A full census should be completed to compare against the previous one done in 2005. It would also be useful to have a look at bird species. The spotted ground thrush is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. If it was found to nest or migrate through KM, as it does in other forest nearby, this would add significant value to KM. The Zanji elephant shrew is not listed due to deficient data. It is unclear if KM is an appropriate habitat for this animal because of its sandy floor. Knowing this would add helpful information to understanding the habitats of this little understood species.

In order to complete a full survey of this forest we recommend using the transect method. It is much less time consuming and generally more accurate. Full maps will first need to be built to have a clear view of the area to be covered and to decide number of transects needed. While on transects all species sightings should be recorded. Time should also be allocated for bird surveys.

These are basic recommendations for the next steps in KM. Further research will be of both conservation and socio-economical value. It is up to Camp Kenya to decide where they would like to go from here. Colobus Trust was hired as research consultants and would be happy to continue this relationship. For any further quires please contact the Colobus Trust.


Support our Good Wood Carvers!

My last blog at the Colobus Trust!

This is Heidi, eco volunteer and I have spent the most amazing last three weeks at the Colobus Trust.  I have helped to plant indigenous tree seedlings, cared for the tree nursery, helped with a re-release of a Sykes monkey, observed and photographed the Colobus, Sykes, Vervets and Yellow Baboons, help teach some of the local kids in the Education program and most importantly revamped the lovely Gift Shop!

We now have some ethically sourced and fair trade items for sale in our gift shop as well as having developed some positive relationships with local carvers and artists to promote conservation in particular working with “good woods.”  I am very sad to be leaving Diani Beach but hope to come back next year for a much longer stint to work at the Colobus Trust (fingers crossed!)  The Colobus Trust is a very worthy conservation project that is actively doing so many things in the community of Diani and beyond.  I hope I made an impact with the carvers as I showed some of them around and spoke to them in depth about conservation, deforestation and using sustainable materials for future generations.  Even if I only made some headway with a handful of local artists, I am very happy to have had the experience in meeting and working with some locals in the community (and practice some of my Swahili!).




Pics from top: Daniel, Daniel and me, Stephen

Late this afternoon I had to pick up the remaining Colobus key rings I ordered from one of our new “good wood” carvers, Peter James.  I met Peter about two weeks ago when I went around viewing all the different sorts of carvings and curios available in Diani.  Peter carves many animals out of all kinds of woods and he is very good at carving key rings with people’s names in them.  I noticed he used ebony (a hard indigenous wood) so I asked him if he ever considered making key rings in mango or neem instead.  He said he would try making some in mango wood as the material was readily available but no one had ever asked him for key rings from mango tree.  Now the second time I checked on Peter about a week ago I happened to meet his wife and two new little babies (twins named Esther and Mangi).  I could see his babies didn’t look well and they were crying their little heads off.  Peter was in a hurry and told me he couldn’t finish the order of key rings as he had to take his babies to hospital but could I please give him a large deposit for the key rings even though the work wasn’t finished.  I normally didn’t give the carvers any hefty deposits before the work was finished but on this occasion my heart sank as I looked at how ill his babies were and I gave him half of the money towards the 10 key rings.  I knew he would spend it all at the hospital or on medication for his babies.

The next day I saw Peter and asked about his babies and checked on the outstanding order for the key rings.  He said he was still working on them as his babies were in hospital and he hadn’t had time to work on them but could I give him another order for key rings and another deposit!  I was a bit reluctant but he pestered me to give him a chance to make a new style key ring with the sample Colobus Trust logo I had given him.  He promised he would make some good key rings and deliver key rings on time next week.  I kept checking up every day this week and some days Peter wasn’t there at his shop but his fellow shop keepers told me he was at the hospital with his sick babies.


It really is Pole Pole sometimes in Kenya (slowly slowly!) but today I picked up the last of the key rings for the shop.  I was very happy to have seen one of the twins, in Peter’s shop lying on the ground all bundled up in her blankets.  She still didn’t look that well but she was out of hospital.  I ended up babysitting Esther while Peter was still working manning his shop and finishing the remaining 9 key rings.  I really didn’t mind waiting and keeping Esther entertained by picking up Maasai carvings and talking to her in my best Swahili (I don’t think she was that impressed with my Swahili though).  I must have entertained her for about 30-40 minutes or until I ran out of all the different types of animal carvings and Maasai people that I had talking to her.

Unfortunately Peter’s little boy, Mangi is still in hospital but now able to get some much needed medication because the Colobus Trust ordered quite a few key rings for the new Gift Shop this past week. The Colobus “Good Wood” key rings which are made out of mango tree are all hand carved and painted by Peter.   They are very simple but I am hoping that some volunteers and other visitors to the Colobus Trust will pick up one or two as a souvenir and not only support the Colobus Trust but help support Peter and his family.  All the new items we have sourced are fair trade and ethically sourced (no middle men making a commission).  I really wanted to make a difference in some small way and I believe by helping the local people in Diani we will continue to build relationships towards positive thinking for our future.  It is up to Peter’s children Esther and Mangi to carry the hope of conservation so I am happy that we were able to support them this week.


Peter and his little girl Esther

You can help support Peter and his family by donating online now to the Colobus Trust and purchasing “Good Wood” items from our Gift Shop.  We will soon have an online shop where we hope that many people will support Diani local “good wood” carvers and artists through fair trade.


Thanks to everyone at the Colobus Trust for making my three weeks so memorable and special.

I will miss you all and look forward to coming back next year as a long term volunteer!


Heidi, Eco-Volunteer