Hope for Endangered Primates at the Coast

 
 Tana mangeby in Ndera Conservancy

Tana mangeby in Ndera Conservancy

NRT will be working closely with Ndera Community Conservancy on forest management planning this year to support the conservation of two endangered species endemic to the area. Ndera sits on the banks of the Tana River, close to its convergence with the Indian Ocean, and is home to two of the most endangered primate species in the world; the Tana River Red Colobus and Tana River Mangabey.

“We recently spent some time walking through the forests with Ndera Conservancy rangers to look for these primates” said Juliet King, technical advisor to NRT. “They are in relatively high numbers in Ndera but ongoing forest loss continues to threaten their survival.”

 Ndera Conservancy rangers on patrol on the Tana River 

Ndera Conservancy rangers on patrol on the Tana River 

Both the Tana River Red Colobus and Tana River Mangabey are only found in the lower Tana River area, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that between one to two thousand individuals of each species remain in the wild.

 Forest destruction for agriculture, Ndera Conservancy

Forest destruction for agriculture, Ndera Conservancy

Timber logging and the clearing of land for agriculture have lead to widespread loss of their forest homes. “Effective, community-led forest management are now critical to their survival” says Dr. King, who will work with a team from Ndera and international experts to conduct a survey of primate numbers in 2018. This work will be supported through a grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.

 Tana River Red Colobus, Ndera Conservancy

Tana River Red Colobus, Ndera Conservancy

If successful, Ndera could join their neighbouring community conservancy of Ishaqbini in being one of the most inspirational community-led conservation stories in Kenya. The population of critically endangered hirola antelope in the Ishaqbini Hirola Sanctuary has increased 140% since it was established by the community in 2012. 

 
Sophie Harrison