It has been a while since we have sent you an update on the going’s on at Colobus Conservation. We have been incredibly busy and have many things to report. We wanted to give you an overview of some of the things we have been up to.
On the 28th June 2016, Diani residents witnessed a horrific fire, that started at Neptune’s hotel and spread quickly across the road and up towards Ukunda. On the night of the fire Diani residents rallied around and helped in any way they could. Many people had to leave their homes uncertain to what they would be returning too. The day after it came to light that 15 families lost their homes and businesses. To help, Colobus Conservation began a collection of clothes, mosquito nets, buckets, shoes and whatever people could spare to be distributed among the families who had lost everything. The donations came flying in, truly showing us the kindness of the residents in Diani. Our offices became a maze of clothing, shoes, buckets drawers and even toys. We quickly began sorting through making sure that everyone got a fair share of the items donated. On Monday 11th July, Team Colobus along with the Kwale County went out to distribute the donated items. Despite the circumstances it was an incredibly enjoyable day, the Colobus team got to meet many residents in the area, showing that we are not only here for the monkeys.
We were incredibly happy to return another animal back to the wild the other day. Bolt, a male galago, was finally released back into his natural habitat. Bolt came to us after being electrocuted on exposed cables. His injuries were so severe, we had to amputate part of his leg. His recovery was long, as he had to adjust to only having 3 full limbs. He was under 24 monitoring initially, but eventually moved into a larger enclosure so he could practice moving around. After 10 weeks he was ready and one evening he was taken to where he was originally found and released. We are very happy to know he is back where he belongs!
We continue to work within the communities, we held our third annual tree sale in April, selling over 60 trees to Diani residents. This was a great way for local roadside tree sellers to engage with residents and to help encourage the growing and selling of indigenous trees. In addition, we continue providing free workshops to communities, highlighting the vital role wildlife has for people and why conserving their natural habitat is important for both people and animals. We have also been experimenting with potential mitigation methods for local farmers in the area. We will be testing these new methods on farms around the area, all in hope to reduce monkey crop raiding.
We said goodbye to Keith Thompson this month. Keith has been with Colobus Conservation for nearly 6 years. Both he and Andrea Donaldson, the previous Conservation Manager, have contributed immensely to Colobus Conservation. They will be incredibly missed by all of the Colobus team and the wider community.
We are currently preparing for another release of Sykes monkeys. A lot of preparation has to be done before we can release any of the moneys. We have spent the last couple of weeks giving pre-release training to the captive Sykes troop. This involves testing their reactions to potential dangers they may come across once released. This includes snakes, dogs and exposed electricity cables. We also test their reactions to humans. We look at their foraging and feeding habits, observing how much they eat of the wild food we provide. Once released our work does not stop, we will then have a team of researchers following them, collecting data on their progress and when needed, intervening if they are injured.
We are quickly approaching our 20 year anniversary, in celebration we are looking to make a short documentary on Colobus Conservation, highlighting the achievements over the last 20 years. We are currently raising the funding to cover the costs of the filming, you can help by donating. Not only will it be a great way to raise awareness but will be used for our educational workshops.
Finally we are continuously fundraising so we can continue the work we do. Funding is a continuous challenge. This can sometimes restrict the work we do but we do our best. We recently held the Dianimal fundraiser, where people came dressed in various animal onesies from Kigu. All in support of Colobus Conservation. We are always looking for people to help, if you are interested there are several ways you can help, you can volunteer, or you may have some new and fun ways to raise money, or you can simply donate.
Thank you for taking the time to read and we wish you a fun filled weekend!
ATCNews : Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome is the publisher of ATCNews, Eastern Africa’s leading aviation, tourism and conservation news blog of its kind. Wolfgang has over 45 years of experience in the tourism, aviation and conservation fields in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, covering all aspects of safari operations, hotel operations and air operations. Since 1992 he resides in Uganda, previously living for 17 years in Kenya.