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Translocation and introduction of the Zanzibar red colobus monkey: success and failure with an endangered island endemic

  • Thomas T. Struhsaker (a1) and Kirstin S. Siex (a1)

Abstract

The Zanzibar red colobus Procolobus kirkii is one of Africa's most endangered primates, with only c. 1500–2000 individuals remaining in the wild. The authors made preliminary surveys of three areas where this monkey was translocated or introduced in the 1970s and 1980s. It appears that only one of these releases was successful. A total of 67 animals were caught and translocated or introduced (including four that died during the process). Thirteen to 20 years later, 62–70 red colobus were located at the three sites; i. e. there had been no net gain in colobus numbers as a result of the translocations and introduction. One attempt apparently failed because of insufficient habitat, and another perhaps because of insufficient numbers ofcolobus or an imbalance in the age and sex composition of animals released. The one successful translocation involved moving a fairly large number of monkeys (36) into a forest with a relatively high diversity of tree species. In light of these findings, the authors recommend that far more attention be given to protecting the monkeys and their habitat where they currently exist, rather than spend time and money on translocations that are as likely to fail as to succeed.

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Copyright

References

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Siex, K.S. 1995. The Zanzibar red colobus monkey (Procolobus kirkii): ecology, demography and use of Cocos nucifera. MSc thesis, University of Florida.
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Struhsaker, T.T., Cooney, D.O. and Siex, K.S. 1997. Charcoal consumption by Zanzibar red colobus monkeys: its ecological and demographic consequences. International Journal of Primatology, 18 (1), 6172.
Struhsaker, T.T. and Siex, K.S. 1997. The Zanzibar red colobus monkey: conservation status of an endangered island endemic. African Primates, Newsletter of the African Section of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. 2 (2).
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