Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shimoni East Colobus Census 2009

This will be the first of a two part update on some exciting research going on in Shimoni forest. We are aiming to build on work previously done by Julie Anderson and repeated by GVI in 2007... a colobus census of Shimoni East forest.

Marta is one of our expedition volunteers, working towards her masters degree in Environmental Modelling, Monitoring and Reconstruction! She is using her time with GVI in Kenya to do the field work for her thesis, focusing on the colobus, so we were more than happy to adapt our schedule to work with her.

We timed the census for when we had the largest group of volunteers here in Shimoni, and managed to get a huge forest group of 15 fired up and ready to take on the forest. The census requires a primate survey along all of our transects which are spaced 200m apart, plus groups going in between them, following compass bearings through the bush, so we effectively survey at 100m intervals to avoid missing any groups.

In an ideal world we would have enough people to cover the whole forest in one morning, but Shimoni forest is no stroll in the park, so we had to split it over 2 days. For the groups going 'off-road' between our established transects, it was rough going; plenty of crawling through thickets and fighting off thorns. However the sense of adventure won through and it was with smiling faces that they headed back to base.

On day 1, five groups of colobus were sighted, ten groups of sykes monkeys and one of yellow baboons. Special guest appearances included a pair of Zanj elephant shrews, hornbills, African fish eagles and an abundance of red bellied coastal squirrels!