2 Nov 2023
Promoting the Conservation of Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey (Piliocolobus kirkii) through Conservation Education and Public Awareness in Vundwe Island in Zanzibar
The Zanzibar red colobus monkey (Piliocolobus kirkii) is the species of red colobus monkey endemic to Zanzibar archipelago, Tanzania. It is a flagship species playing an important role as one of the major attractions for tourists in the island. Unfortunately, the monkey is classified as an endangered species by the IUCN and the population continue to decline mainly due to habitat loss caused by agricultural activities, extraction of building poles, commercial firewood collection, wildfire and charcoal making. These activities have reduced the food sources and exposed the endangered monkey species to killings by farmers as retribution to crops damage. Current studies and conservation projects in Zanzibar have reported a high rate of habitat degradation caused by tree clearing and thus exposing the entire population under threat of extinction.
This project therefore aims at restoring the damaged habitat through replanting of indigenous plant species so as to increase and maintain the remained subpopulation of P. kirkii. Also, the project will initiate participation of the local community in the management and conservation of the restored and remained forest patches through citizen-based conservation education. This will include training community members on appropriate techniques (local and modern) to be used in the protection of the forests while promoting sustainable use of the natural resources without degrading them. Additionally, several signposts with conservation messages, rules and regulations will be installed in the forests of Vundwe and Uzi islands to remind the visitors. At the end of this project, it is expected that good number of trees will be planted in process to restore the damaged habitat, and public awareness on forest protection and sustainable use of the resources will be enhanced to help saving the endangered population of P. kirkii and their potential habitat.