Zanzibar City (April 7, 2021) – A drastic reduction in mortality of one of Africa’s rarest primates, the red Zanzibar colobus (Piliocolobus kirkii), has followed the installation of four quick bumps along a stretch of road where the species abounds. Crossed.
Red colobus is found in Zanzibar only in the Zanzibar Archipelago and has been classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List. Depending on the forests of Unguja Island for their survival, about half of the species are found in Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park.
In the study published in The Oryx – International Journal of ConservationPrimate scientists from Bangor University, in collaboration with national park directors from Zanzibar and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), have assessed deaths from vehicle collisions – a growing threat faced by primates that live in increasingly fragmented habitats interspersed with roads.
They found that historical data from the National Park Transit showed that one colobus was killed on average every two to three weeks by traffic. After installing the speed bumps, this was reduced to one every six weeks.
Despite significant advances, this mortality rate remains a significant threat to the species – particularly given that natural predation tends to target weaker individuals, yet road kills are indiscriminate, and it kills reproductive active adults as well as young and old.
This means that while natural predators may target young and old often, cars are not selective in the animals that kill them, ”said proto-zoologist in Bangor and director of the Red Colobus Project in Zanzibar, Dr. Alexander Georgiev, and the lead author of this study. Cars are likely to kill young reproductive activists who will contribute the most to population growth. That could be a problem. ”
Harry Olgun, now a PhD student in the university’s School of Natural Sciences, led the study as part of his Master’s research on the road environment in the Zanzibar red colobus. Olgon said: “After the road appeared in Jozani but before the rapid pumps were installed, Colobus was reported killed every two to three weeks, resulting in about 12-17 percent deaths annually, according to one estimate. Recent data shows that fast bumps have made a difference. Significant to Colobus safety. Adding more speed bumps will help reduce the risk further.
“As tourism in Zanzibar grows and habitats continue to shrink, so does the use of science to identify conservation problems,” said Dr Tim Davenport, Director of Species Conservation and Science in Africa at WCS, who led the first nationwide population census of the Zanzibar red colobus a few years ago and is a co-author of the study. “And their solution has never been so important. Understanding the impact of vehicles on wildlife within the park, and implementing practical solutions is exactly what we as environmentalists must do.”
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)
Mission: WCS is saving wildlife and wild places around the world through science, conservation measures, education and inspiring people to appreciate nature. To fulfill our mission, WCS, headquartered in the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of the global conservation program in nearly 60 countries and in all of the world’s oceans and New York City’s five wildlife parks, which are visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its industry expertise, zoos, and aquariums to fulfill its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.
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