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One of Africa’s rarest primates protected by… speedbumps

A brand new examine revealed {that a} drastic discount of deaths of one in every of Africa’s rarest primates, the Zanzibar purple colobus (Piliocolobus kirkii), adopted the set up of 4 speedbumps alongside a stretch of highway the place the species regularly crossed.

Zanzibar purple colobus are discovered solely within the Zanzibar archipelago and labeled as Endangered by the IUCN Pink Record. Reliant on Unguja Island’s forests for his or her survival, round half of the species inhabitants is present in Jozani-Chwaka Bay Nationwide Park.

Within the examine, printed in Oryx — The Worldwide Journal of Conservation, primatologists from Bangor College, in collaboration with nationwide park managers from Zanzibar and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), assessed mortality from automobile collisions — a rising risk confronted by primates residing in more and more fragmented habitats crisscrossed by roads.

They discovered that historic knowledge from the highway traversing the nationwide park confirmed that one colobus was killed on common each 2-Three weeks by visitors. After speedbumps had been put in, this was decreased to 1 each six weeks.

Whereas nice progress, this mortality charge remains to be a major risk to the species — particularly provided that pure predation tends to focus on weaker people, but roadkill is indiscriminate, killing reproductively lively adults in addition to the very younger and previous.

Bangor primatologist and Director of the Zanzibar Pink Colobus Undertaking, Dr. Alexander Georgiev, and senior creator of this examine, stated: “Vehicles will not be selective within the animals they kill. Which means that whereas pure predators might goal the very younger and previous extra typically, vehicles are equally prone to kill reproductively lively younger adults, who would contribute essentially the most to inhabitants development. And this can be an issue.”

Harry Olgun, now a PhD scholar on the College’s College of Pure Sciences, led this examine as a part of his Masters analysis on the highway ecology of the Zanzibar purple colobus. Olgun stated: “After the highway at Jozani was surfaced however earlier than the speedbumps had been put in, a colobus was reported to have been killed each two to 3 weeks, leading to maybe about 12-17 p.c annual mortality, in line with one estimate. The latest knowledge present that speedbumps have made an enormous distinction for the security of the colobus. Including extra speedbumps would assist scale back the danger additional.”

Dr. Tim Davenport, Director of Species Conservation & Science in Africa at WCS, who led the primary countrywide census of the Zanzibar purple colobus just a few years in the past and is a coauthor of the examine, stated: “As tourism grows in Zanzibar and habitat continues to shrink, utilizing science to quantify and remedy conservation issues has by no means been so necessary. Understanding the impression of automobiles on wildlife inside a park, and implementing sensible options is precisely what we as conservationists ought to be doing.”

Story Supply:

Materials offered by Wildlife Conservation Society. Be aware: Content material could also be edited for model and size.

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