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Colobus Trust

The Colobus Trust is a 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.

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The Trust 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, from road kills and electrocution. Now 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 Colobus Trust’s Mission statement is:

To promote, in close co-operation with other organizations and local communities, the conservation, preservation and protection of primates, in particular the Angolan Colobus monkey (Colobus angolensis palliatus) and its associated coastal forest habitat in Kenya.

Human – Wildlife Conflict / Pest Management
Since the Trust began its work with the colobus, it has become increasingly aware of more general human-primate conflicts in the area. In the past 20 years, deforestation in Diani has been rapid, and some primates have adapted to their new environment by stealing food from tourists, hotel kitchens, and waste sites. The baboons in Diani reproduce almost three times faster than the same species in nearby Shimba Hills as a direct result of this easier access to food. This has caused the animal density to exceed the capacity of the natural habitat, which in turn has made them dependent on these supplemental food sources.

The Trust believes that co-existence between local residents, hoteliers, tourists and the environment is possible and is developing acceptable alternatives to the current methods used to deter primates. Volunteers can take part in active management in the area to ensure that Diani remains both a major tourist attraction and an area of rich biodiversity.

The mission and questions asked by the Research Team

The research teams questions were refined as we went along, combining the priorities of the Great Primate Handshake and the Colobus Trust.

Alasdair, Web Development Director, suggested some general overall questions for the whole trip. He wanted to know if digital media was actually helping to conserve primates, what is the best content to deliver and what can we do differently.

Ellodie Yard, the Consultant Manager, suggested we concentrate the research teams efforts on colobus checks, how affective is the Colobus Trust’s educational element, plus visits to the community. The latter included visits to the youth group and the kayas (sacred forests).

The local population mainly consisted of the Digo tribe, one of a group of nine tribes in the area. The large amount of hotels in Diani Beach also meant there was a sizable population of people from all over Kenya.

We tried to gauge people’s views towards primates and conservation in general. Also what methods of communication were available, affordable and effective. We attempted to ascertain where people had picked up their views about conservation and why they held them.

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