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Colobus Project Success

Settling in…

The translocation of an endangered sub-species of Colobus Monkeys successfully came to a close in March 2016 with the release of the last batch of seven black-and-whites in the Sigiria side of Karura Forest, including one babe-in-arms.

As of March 2017, 16 new Colobus monkeys have arrived in Karura: not imports, but babies conceived in the forest since their parents were translocated from degraded habitats on the fringes of the Aberdares as part of the Colobus Reintroduction Project. The births are testimony that Karura is good Colobus habitat and that the re-introduction is working.

The project is part of FKF’s continuing effort to return Karura to its original state to provide ecosystem services for all.

The Karura Colobus monkey project is one of the most successful translocation ever undertaken for arboreal primates with a success rate of 94%!

Peter Fundi and his team from the Institute for Primate Research (IPR) have continued to brave steep slopes and colobus-unfriendly farmers on the edge of the Aberdares to capture and release into Sigiria 29 monkeys. The forth and last batch of monkeys was held at the new acclimatisation cage not far from Junction 69 for two days and released to freedom on Friday, 4 March.

The target of 120 monkeys in the Main Forest and 30 in Sigiria — calculated on the basis of estimated availability of food plants for the monkeys — was nearly reached just as the capture permit from the Kenya Wildlife Service expired. The total in Karura is now 150, a great start for a health population.

The black-and-whites are settling in and beginning to spread out. Andrew Kuria, the IPR-FKF Colobus Field Assistant reports that the Sigiria newcomers all are doing well and a few have penetrated as far as Junction 63. And in the main forest,  they are regularly spotted along the Family Trail between Junctions 2 and 3, and now, with the holding cage moved closer to the Karura River, along the Mau-Mau Trail and near Junction 23.

The re-ntroduction of Colobus Monkeys (Colobus guereza kikuyuensis) began in early 2014. Under the careful and experienced protocols of IPR (http://www.primateresearch.org/), FKF, along with KFS and KWS, and with more generous support from AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) has brought this iconic highlands primate sub-species back to Karura Forest from remnant, endangered populations on the fringes of the Aberdares in the region of Kiribati and Wanjohi.

Free at last!

The releasees cannot believe their eyes: look at all the food!!

The isolated animals were gently encouraged to seek food in humane trap cages. The monkeys were first released in a large holding-acclimatisation cage in a hidden location in the heart of Karura, as you can see in the video. Colobus can now be spotted them in the forest canopy as you walk through the indigenous parts of the forest. Look for the conspicuous bushy white tail. And see more images on the FKF Facebook page by clicking here.