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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Colobus Rescue Mission!

So, it’s about eight on a Saturday morning, most are up and rooting for breakfast, a couple still stirring and three of us sat out back enjoying the coolness of the morning.

To our great surprise along the side of the Shimoni House strolls our friend Colobus angolensis angolensis, a large mail Angolan Black and White Colobus. He stopped, we three looked at him he looked back at us, it stayed that way for a minute and then as he shot off into the forest behind the house the remainder of the troop charged across the roof and through the trees at the side of house, those who were roused by the racket inside the house (tin roof) came charging out to see what was going on. The charge continued with four of the troop jumping from the house roof to the sparse tree in the little back yard and one of them onto the outhouse roof where he slid to the ground and off into the Forest. Most of the troop, which we later numbered at 12, were now in the huge tree about 20 feet from the back of the house, however three young sub-adults were left behind in the tree in the yard.

We watched them for a while the older of three a little more nervous which he showed by leaving many parcels and a couple of us with an early shower. The other two seemed much more relaxed though all were snapping the ends from the branches seemingly to chew and then dropping them.

-- Adult Colobus looks nervously on --

During this time 4 large adults had moved from the huge tree to a smaller one to the right, it seems from here they had a better view of us. So they watched us and we watched them and at Tim’s suggestion he and Zeno carried out a behavioural study on those we could see on both trees. There was fair amount of grunting going on between the three trees and between the volunteers all rapt at the back of the house.

-- One sub-adult Colobus safely returned to mum --

Time was moving on and a couple of hours passed, we worried that we were affecting the Colobus in the tree above us but were also very keen to see the dynamics of the group and what may happen. Then IT DID!! The older of the three in the tree, made a return jump onto the house, the other two did not follow so he jumped back into the tree, a couple of minutes passed then the four adults in the right moved to the ground, up the side of the house and up the trees onto the roof, at this point I charged across the to goat banda to get a better view. The ‘rescue team’ as we now call them, came across the roof, coaxed the youngsters out of the tree and back onto the roof (one of them stopping to jump to a nearby tree for a quick snack of leaf). They took the youngsters along to the far end of the house then after each checked below, made a jump to next door where they shot along their roof and into the trees and into the forest. It was utterly amazing to watch and though only in my first week was done it has made the whole ten weeks worthwhile.