Diani Coral Rag Forest is recognised as one of the top 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world with various plants and animal species found in this ecosystem. Of the various animal species found here, primates form a key part of them. Primate species found within this habitat include the Colobus monkey, Sykes, Vervets, Baboons and Bush-babies.
Recent human based activities such as the development of infrastructure such as roads and hotel buildings in addition to increasing human population in the area have had a vastly negative impact on the habitat as well as the species that reside in this forest. A major contributor to the degradation of this unique ecosystem is a lack of government gazettement of the land where this forest is occupied. All land is privately owned and has been fragmented into several plots that house hotels, cottages and resorts. This expansion of infrastructure has resulted in the placement of electric cable lines that are in close proximity to tree branches where most primates are found. Such proximity predisposes the primates to electrocution with most them not being able to survive the shock.
Increase in traffic along the South Coast Diani Road has led to an increase in primates involved in Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) resulting to high mortality rate caused by high speeding vehicles. Another saddening outcome is the countless number of primates that are orphaned when their parents fall victim to these devastating incidences.
A more familiar case is that of Mali, an infant female vervet that was orphaned when her parents went missing due to unknown circumstances. The monkey was picked up at Mvumoni village, Kwale County where children were playing with it. The heroic efforts of ANAW Veterinarian, Dr Janerose Mutura stationed at Colobus Conservation in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service ensured the immediate rescue of the primate.
Currently, the infant is under the orphan care program within the Colobus Conservation facility receiving critical and tender care to ensure its survival. Once older, the individual will be integrated with other similar primates of the same species to encourage group cohesion as it obtains critical survival skills before being reintroduced back into the wild.