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OUT&ABOUT: On a mission to protect the colobus monkey

Wednesday July 26 2017

Halima Shilingi, a staff member at Colobus

Halima Shilingi, a staff member at Colobus Conservation in Diani, takes care of a monkey that was rescued. PHOTO| FADHILI FREDRICK 

By FADHILI FREDRICK
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It’s no secret that the colobus monkey is a highly endangered species and that is why Colobus Conservation in Diani exists: they aim to conserve the habitat and protect the animals.

Conservation manager Kelly Martin says Diani forest is part of the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa Global Biodiversity Hotspot.

This hotspot covers Africa’s eastern edge, starting from southern Somalia’s Jubba and Shabelle rivers and ending at the Limpopo River in Mozambique.

For this reason Colobus Conservation, in partnership with other organisations, is working to protect other monkey species found in the area, including vervets, sykes as well baboons and bush babies.

Ms Martin says preserving primates’ well-being in Diani is ensured through the animal welfare programme that involves animal rescue, treatment, rehabilitation and, above all, education programmes for school children.

Colobus Conservation manager Kelly Martin on

Colobus Conservation manager Kelly Martin on July 22, 2017.PHOTO| FADHILI FREDRICK

Animal rescue and veterinary rehabilitation is conducted by the trained staff of the Colobus Conservation monkey sanctuary.

FIRST HAND-REARED MONKEY IN THE WORLD

Esther Msagha, a tour guide, says in 2011, the centre welcomed an Angolan black and white colobus monkey named Betsy, the first hand-reared (fed and cared for until fully grown) monkey in the world.

“Previously no one had been able to hand-rear Angolan colobus due to their incredibly complex diet and sensitive temperament,” she said, adding that Betsy helps in hand-rearing other orphan colobus monkeys before they are released into the wild.

Colobus monkeys at the Conservation playing in

Colobus monkeys at the Conservation playing in their cage on July 22, 2017.PHOTO| FADHILI FREDRICK

The team works to educate the local community on conservation issues and local wildlife through weekly workshops for Primary and Secondary schoolchildren.