THE ZANZIBAR RED COLOBUS MONKEY

Mrs F.A. Mturi, a lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Marine Biology at the University of Dar es Salaam was in London recently and described the work she is doing (towards a Phd at Cambridge University) on the feeding behaviour and ecology of the Zanzibar red colobus monkey. This is a sub-species which is endemic in Zanzibar and nowhere else. The monkey is a highly selective feeder on certain fruits, leaves and stems found in the forest. But as the forest is being encroached upon by farmers the monkey is in danger of dying out. There are only some 600 left.

The Forest Department is trying to preserve them by moving some of them to the forest reserves (Jendele, Kichwele and Masingini) and some have been moved to Pemba. With the destruction of other habitats the monkeys are often driven to raiding crops. Although they are protected farmers are often forced to kill them. Mrs Mturi feels that the Josani forest should be turned into a National Park and that other forests should be surrounded by a buffer zone in which harvesting of forest products could be controlled. – Editor

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