Colobus conservation along Diani’s beaches – more important than ever

DIANI’S COLOBUS CONSERVATION DECRIES THE LOSS OF MORE OF THE PRIZED PRIMATES

(Posted 25th October 2014)

The Diani based ‘Colobus Conservation’ is a privately run 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. Colobus Conservation 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 in traffic accidents and through electrocution on new powerlines. Today 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.

The NGO recently carried out an extensive survey of Colobus and several monkey species found along the Diani Beach and the results show, as far as the Colobus are concerned, further setbacks in population numbers.

Wrote the organisation yesterday when releasing the 2014 census figures:

The results of the 2014 colobus census are in and we are sad to say their numbers have reduced dramatically for the third year running. This year we counted 353 colobus in 53 troops from Southern Palms Hotel to Pinewood.
2014 – 353 individuals in 53 troops
2013 – 399 individuals in 56 troops
2012 – 418 individuals in 55 troops
2011 – 460 individuals in 65 troops
2010 – 404 individuals in 58 troops

Following the shocking increase in the Diani Sykes population during the census count in 2013 this year’s census has revealed their numbers have returned to a more stable population level. This year we counted 742 Sykes monkeys in 72 troops from Southern Palms Hotel to 4.20 South.

2014 – 742 individuals in 72 troops
2013 – 1110 individuals in 87 troops
2012 – 765 individuals in 72 troops
2011 – 735 individuals in 72 troops
2010 – 691 individuals in 57 troops

The 2014 Vervet census has shown a dramatic decrease in the Diani population of Vervet monkeys. This year Colobus Conservation counted [only] 146 Vervet monkeys in 18 troops from Southern Palms Hotel to 4.20 South.

2014 – 146 individuals in 18 troops
2013 – 282 individuals in 21 troops
2012 – 191 individuals in 15 troops
2011 – 220 individuals in 18 troops
2010 – 159 individuals in 12 troops

Last year’s figures were in fact a large peak in numbers so it is more realistic to compare 2014 to 2012 figures. There is still a reduction in numbers but not so dramatic. A full analysis has not yet been done and habitat mapping is taking place next month to feed in to this analysis but a possible reason to account for this decline is the reduction in the tourist industry in Diani since May this year and therefore a reduction in artificial food resources for the Vervets.

In the case of colobus monkeys I would feel that the decline is due to habitat loss for development in the area and an increase in powerlines and traffic on the road. But as with the vervet data the habitat mapping that will take place next month will provide a better indication’.

The monkey population and in particular the Colobus population was always and continues to be a major feature for tourist visitors as they can be found across many of the resorts, in particular those which have painstakingly preserved patches of the ancient forest like the Leopard Beach Resort & Spa, where the primates can still find a suitable habitat, while other resorts, where in the past woodlots had to give way for expansion before a greater sense of conservation began to set in when Colobus Conservation was established today look with envy on those neighbours which have preserved patches of the erstwhile tropical forests which lined the white beaches of Kenya’s south coast..

Colobus Conservation is supported, among others by Safarilink which flies daily from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to the Ukunda airfield at Kenya’s south coast area.
Learn more about Colobus Conservation by clicking on www.colobusconservation.org

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