The Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii) is a species of red colobus monkey. It is an endangered species found in Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, off the coast of Tanzania.
It is also known as Kirk's red colobus. This name was conferred after Sir John Kirk. The first population census of the Zanzibar red colobus monkey has been conducted by a team of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The census revealed that there are more than three times as many Zanzibar red colobus monkeys (more than 5,800 individual animals) than was estimated earlier. On the contrary, the survivorship of young animals is extremely low because forest habitats on which these species depend are being destroyed for agricultural and tourism purposes. In conducting this census, the WCS team spent two years. They searched, observed, and examined these species both within and outside the protected areas on the main Zanzibar island of Unguja. The scientists made use of sweep census technique. They put to use GPS devices to gather data on group sizes, structures, demographics, location. On one hand the census depicted that Zanzibar's protected areas are working. At the same time, the assessment reflected the urgent need of employing conservation strategies, especially for more than 30% of the monkey population that lives outside the protected areas. The major risks to the Zanzibar red colobus monkeys include deforestation, hunting of monkeys for food and retaliation for crop raiding. The team has suggested measures such as creating a new protected area to conserve the Zanzibar red colobus monkey, increasing primate and forest tourism operations and declaring the primate as the official national animal of Zanzibar. In order to preserve the primates and the archipelago's remaining forests, the WCS will work along with the government of Zanzibar to start a flagship species program.
By: Anuja Arora