The last of their kind?

Although this was primarily a bird trip, we had other notable encounters.

The Western Red Colobus Monkey, Piliocolobus badius, is very, very, shy, and we were lucky to see it, but at a great distance. We circled around to try and get closer and with a better light, but they immediately dived for cover, and that was that.

I’m showing them to you anyway because they are officially classified as Endangered by the ICUN. There are no reliable population estimates, but their population is known to be decreasing. This subspecies, Temminck’s Red Colobus, may be especially endangered. Best estimates are a total of 2500 individuals, one of the largest populations being roughly where we were, in the Abuko Nature Reserve (Starin 2017).

There was a group of maybe four or five. This shot shows four, but I think there was one more.

At the top right was a charming family of three:

As you can see, the father is very aware of us, not surprisingly as we were creeping around loudly in the brush. The mother is more attentive to the baby, and of course seeing a baby is a very positive sign:

My photos don’t show it, but they have glorious long tails like this black-and-white colobus I saw in Uganda in 2014:

My final shot, of the solicitous parent restraining the baby, who is trying to explore its twiggy world:

PS The IUCN says: “.. red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus spp.) are the most threatened group of African monkeys. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2020, every form of red colobus monkey is threatened with extinction, and 14 of the 18 taxa (>75%) are listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered. ” I feel privileged to have seen them, and saddened by their fragility.

2 thoughts on “The last of their kind?”

  1. Moira, it is so wonderful to see them. How much like us they are only on a smaller scale. I feel so lucky to see your photos.


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