THE COLOBUS MONKEYS
A road accident at Diani of the South Coast to Mombasa
It was the low tide during the breakfast time so we decided to get after some other chores before the tide comes back. We would go down to the beach to relax in our reserved long-chairs under a parasol of palm leaves later. With the incoming tide we be would able to wade into the sea close our favorite secluded cove. It was decided that Ljiljana should go shopping to the nearby bazaar some 300m outside of Resort’s gate. When she left the restaurant I went to our room to prepare everything for our usual daytime routine at the Diani beach. It stretches all along the Leisure Lodge Resort compound that is our favorite place for many years now. We were spending our winter holidays mostly in January like this time in 2005 too.
Some hours passed for me waiting in the room so I got concerned about my wife too long absence. I went to meet my wife at the hotel lobby as she might have been delayed for some reason at shopping mall. The way to the lobby is not a short one though and it takes more time due to the increasing heat and humidity. I have worried about Ljiljana as she had a knee replacement surgery some months ago so she could not stroll in her usual vigorous way yet. At last I met her almost out of breath at the concierge’s desk talking on phone to somebody. Few moments later she told about what has happened on the main road outside the compound and why she looks so troubled now.
had to pass by wood carver’s stalls on her way back from the bazaar. As
talking to few carvers she knows well for years out she heard
startlingly a thump
as if a car hit something soft. An animal whimper followed it instantly
when turning she saw two Colobus monkeys rushing into the nearby bush.
smaller monkey the second larger animal limped and swayed obviously
stricken one. Ljiljana run as fast she could after the car shouting
driver to stop his car. At last the car stopped so she caught up with
exhausted and perspiring profusely. Nonetheless she was still strong
shout at the driver who got out of his car somehow amazed why a white
so excited. He was an Englishman on holiday and obviously had not
did not care for that he run over a Colobus monkey. The Colobus monkeys
endangered species in southern Kenyan coastal forest regions.
local Primate’s Conservation is known under
the name WAKULUZU: FRIENDS OF THE COLOBUS TRUST. The WAKALUZU is a native name for the Colobus
given by the local Digo people who leave in Diani region. For one
says MKULUZU whereas many of are called WAKALUZU. Nowadays one calls
Colobus monkey MBEGA in the local colloquial. For those
interested the address of the COLOBUS TRUST is stated at the end of
A young Colobus (Toto Mbega) sits on steps
in the Hotel and a mother feeds its still white offspring (at right) .
Two days later Ljiljana has found a young Colobus (a small animal is colloquially called TOTO) that sat shaking below a staircase. Alarmed Ljiljana run to the concierge to call Wakaluzu’s Office and truthfully two young people appeared within some 20 minutes. In the meantime somebody brought a cartoon box with few holes cut in for air to place in the monkey. One of the conservationist put small animal gently in the box explaining that the tiny creature was rather dehydrated and undernourished too. He thought that this was the child of the female Colobus that died soon after it was taken away. The prospects for survival for the young one were extremely low too.
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What we should know about the
ANGOLAN BLACK AND WHITE COLOBUS (Colobus angolensis angolensis)
monkeys (Family Cercopithecidae; Subfamily colobinae)
are found in
More than 400 Angolan Colobus monkeys have been
identified at the Diani region of the South Coast of Mombasa – the
concentration of this species. Overall some 2000 species are estimated
ICUN (World Conservation Union) red data
list so the Angolan Colobus is considered as the largely endangered in
The Angolan Colobus monkeys are diurnal, have flattened nails and pads on their buttocks, and their hind legs are longer than their fore limbs as a typical characteristics of old world monkeys. However, the specific features of “Colobines” are due to their unique dietary adaptations. Colobus eat mostly leaves (and some fruits and flowers), have no cheek pouches, are arboreal and rarely come down to the ground. They have a light-weight bone structure and elongated limbs and have no thumbs though they retain an opposable big toe. The reduction of the thumb is an adaptation to arboreal living as the fingers have become aligned into a single, narrow curved arc that allows the hand to act as a flexible hook. In fact the Colobus acquired its name from the Greek word "kolobos" meaning maimed or mutilated.
diet of a Colobus consists of young and
mature leaves of mainly 5 available sorts. Due to the poor nutritional
the monkeys have to browse in intensively for many hours per day. They
to 3kg of leaves per day (one third of their full body weight), and
seeds, unripe fruits and flowers. In Diani region the Colobus are
rarely a pest
to the tourists since they do not eat human food and hang around in the
canopy. Also the Colobus are a true "flagship" species upon which one
can determine the overall health of the forest.
THE ENVIRONMENT OF DIANI
survey carried out by the Colobus Trust in 18 local
hotels and cottages in October 2002.
the hotels having erected “Do not feed the monkeys” signs, approx. one fifth of
still offering them food. The
this vary: some tourists did
because they had the misconception that the monkeys were
others did it for sheer amusement. Feeding monkeys, directly or
makes them bold and often aggressive. Also hotels complain that the
monkeyskeys are causing losses
through destruction of
property and stealing of food.
Mature Colobus monkey aka Mkaluzu (colloq. Mbega) eat fresh young leaves in hotels garden.
If you have been to Diani, you surely would have seen “Colobridges” - the ladders that span the
Non-insulated power lines are numerous in Diani. As tree branches often come into contact with the power lines, primates, and particularly the Angolan Colobus who are almost exclusively arboreal, use the power lines as an easy way of crossing from one area to another. All the main lines in Diani of 22,000 volts are non-insulated and many primates are killed instantly when crossing between lines. Even the domestic lines of 240 volts often injure an animal through loss of limb leading to a high number of secondary fatalities caused by infection. In fact a small proportion of these lines are insulatedlated.
The collaboration between Colobus Trust and KPLC (Kenya Power Lines Co.) resulted in weekly tree-trimming around power lines. Despite the successful reduction of the overall number of deaths and injuries in 2003 the electrocutions still accounted for 1/3 of all recorded primate fatalities in Diani. Since March 2004 one began the tree trimming with a more tartargeted approach by identifying electrocution hot spots. One concentrated with the tree trimming in these areas. In year 2004 there were only fifteen electrocutions in total, eight less then the previous year. Fourteen of these though, have been Colobus monkeys. With only 1800 Angolan black and white Colobus monkeys remaining in
Literature: DIANI’S MONKEYS by R. Eley and P. Kahumbu,
© Robert Eley and Paula
Address: WAKULUZU: FRIENDS OF THE COLOBUS TRUST,
Tel/Fax: + 254 (0) 40 320 3519
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite: http://www.colobustrust.org
Email Zvonko Springer at : email@example.com