One of the rarest African primates protected … by speeds

Credit: Tim RB Davenport

A new study has found that a drastic reduction in the mortality of one of Africa’s rarest primates, the Zanzibar red colobus (Piliocolobus kirkii), followed the setting of four speeds on the part of the road the species often crossed.

The Zanzibar Red Colobus is found only in the Zanzibar archipelago and is classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List. Relying on the forests of the island of Unguja for its survival, about half of the species population is located in the Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park.

In a study published in Oryx – International Conservation Journal, primatologists from Bangor University, in collaboration with Zanzibar National Park Managers and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), have assessed vehicle crash mortality – a growing threat faced by primates living in increasingly fragmented habitats intersected by roads.

They found that historical data from the road crossing the national park shows that one colobus was killed on average every 2-3 weeks in traffic. After installing the quick albums, this was reduced to one every six weeks.

Although great progress has been made, this mortality rate remains a significant threat to the species – especially as natural predation tends to target weaker individuals, but roadmaps are indiscriminate, killing reproductively active adults as well as very young and old.

Bangor Primatologist and Project Director Zanzibar Red Colobus, Ph.D. Alexander Georgiev, a senior author of the study, said: “Cars are not selective in animals that kill. This means that although natural predators may target very young and older it is often likely that cars will kill reproductively active young adults, who would most contributed to population growth. And that can be a problem. “

Harry Olgun, now a PhD student at the University School of Natural Sciences, led this study as part of his master’s research on the ecology of red colobus roads in Zanzibar. Olgun said: “After the road was taken to Jozani, but before the quick cushions were set up, the colobus was reported to have been killed every two to three weeks, resulting in an annual death toll of about 12-17 per cent, according to one estimate. that speed booms have made a big change in the safety of the colobus. Adding more speed booms would help further reduce the risk. “

Dr. Tim Davenport, director of conservation and science of species in Africa at WCS, who ran the first red colobus list in Zanzibar a few years ago and co-authored the study, said: “As tourism grows in Zanzibar and habitats continue to shrink, using the science of quantifying and solving conservation problems has never been so important. Understanding the impact of vehicles on wildlife within the park and implementing practical solutions is exactly what we as conservators should be doing. ”

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More information:
Harry Olgun et al., Implications of vehicle collisions on the endangered endemic Zanzibar red colobus Piliocolobus kirkii, Oryx (2021). DOI: 10.1017 / S0030605320000605

Journal information:

Provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society

Citation: One of the rarest African primates protected by … speedbumps (2021, April 8) retrieved April 8, 2021 from

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