7 pages/≈1925 words
Primate Conservation (Research Paper Sample)
This paper analysis an example of endangered primate in any part of the world. It focuses on the endangered Tana River red colobus monkey in Kenyasource..
Institutional Affiliation Tana River red colobus monkey in Kenya
The world today faces unprecedented set of problems related to environmental conservation. Environmental experts and scientists have proved that destruction and loss of biodiversity is the most critical issue faced in the world today. Exploration of world population has created pressure on the existing scarce resources. Destruction of environment affects other living organisms in the ecosystem due to their intricate relations. According to scientists, many species of animals have gone extinct due to the changing natural resources, environmental degradation, and competition for scarce resources. There are also high chances of extinction for the last surviving species.
Primate species are some of the species facing a higher risk of extinction. One of the major primate species under threat is Tana River red colobus monkey in Kenya. The Committee of Endangered Wildlife in Kenya (COEWIK) has identified Tana River red colobus monkey as a threatened primate species. In this case, it has also been considered in the list of National Species at Risk Act (NSARA). Under NSARA, the species has been provided with an additional protection through enactment of recovery strategies. This research focuses on the threats faced by Tana River red colobus monkey in Kenya and ways of combating them. It also addresses the shortcomings of initiatives used in combating these threats.
The biology of Tana River red colobus monkey
Tana River red colobus monkey is in the family of Procolobus rufomitratus. It mainly inhibits gallery forests that are dominated by Barringtonia and Pachystela. It is not seen during the day patching between habitats. It mainly moves at night and the movement appears to enhance its continued survival. Tana River red colobus monkey is a medium sized primate with an extensive semi-prehensile tail. It also has a yellow brown coat on the head’s crown and a long, black fur on its body. The species has silvery eyelid that contrast with its black color. Its dental morphology is well specialized for feeding in fruits, seeds, and nuts. Besides these feeds, it also eats leaves from various species of trees. Tana River red colobus monkey has no interest on human foods since it is a leaf specialist. It has a large stomach that is divided into three chambers carrying various bacterium used to digest the leaves. It has a capacity of eating approximately three to four kilograms of food in a day. In this case, they spend most of their time looking for food and spend the remainder in a rest in order to aid digestion.
Tana River red colobus monkey moves in groups of about 10-30 individuals. In some situations, the groups merge to form an aggregate of 50-60 individuals (Butynski & Mwangi, 2000). The groups comprises of males and females. Males in these groups provide terrestrial display and spatial vocalization in order to maintain their territories. They also provide protection through combating outside invaders. On the other hand, female have the role of giving birth to off-springs at a gestation period of about six months.
The ecology of Tana River red colobus monkey
Tana River red colobus monkeys are mainly found in the lower part of River Tana in Kenya. This gallery forest stretches from East Africa to Central Africa. The forest is found the cost region of Kenya. This forest provides a good biodiversity of valuable environment for the rare Tana River red colobus primate species (Marsh, 2005). These species occupies the forest on a 60-kilometer stretch. They are thus restricted in a gallery forest in areas of Mnazini East, Guru South, Sifa East, and Hewani South. In this case, the species heavily relies on this forest and are accountable for most primate biomass. The species spend most of their time on tall trees that are 25-40m. To reduce the risk of predation, it relies on heavy canopies that cover 25-60 percent.
Estimated population of Tana River red colobus monkey
The distribution of Tana River red colobus monkeys in Kenya is at a threat of extinction. The census that was conducted in 2009 on 73 forests indicates that there are about 790 individuals remaining (Butynski & Mwangi, 2000). They existed in 82 groups in southern part of Kenya. Approximately 46 percent of the total population is found in the Tana River Primate National Reserves (TRPNR). This data suggested that the number of Tana River red colobus monkeys is declining at the rate of 5 percent per year. It is, therefore, clear that Tana River red colobus monkeys are in danger of getting extinct in few years.
Threats facing Tana River red colobus monkeys
The Tana River red colobus monkeys are seriously threatened by forest destruction and loss that has been instigated by increased human population. Forests in most part of Kenya have been cleared for agriculture. Over the last 10 years, about 50 percent of the forest has been turned into agricultural land. In this case, the natural habitat for Tana River red colobus monkeys has been destroyed leading to lack of food and exposure in parasitism. Various species of trees where Tana River red colobus monkeys get their food have been cleared. This has led to lack of food and other resources for the primate thus endangering it to extinction. On the other hand, large canopies have been cleared exposing Tana River red colobus monkeys to its predators. Lack of tall trees has exposed this primate to Snakes, crocodile, and other predators thus leading to their decrease in number (Marsh, 2005).
Another major threat facing Tana River red colobus monkeys in Kenya is Fires eroding rampart forests. Forest habitats have been fragmented and degraded by forest fires in Kenya. Most people in Kenya engage in cutting trees in order to get charcoal and firewood. In the process of preparing charcoal, they end up setting forests on fire. Fires have destroyed vast forest areas leading to destruction of ecosystem. This has contributed to lack of food and other resources for the Tana River red colobus monkeys. The fires have also led to the replacement of Tana River red colobus monkeys from their original habitats. This poses a great problem to the primate due to lack of proper adaptation with the new environment. They are denied their surviving chance in a place where they naturally live. Lack of suitable pace where they get shelter, food, good living space, and water poses the primate to dangers of extinction (Mbora & Meikle, 2004).
Habitat change due to human activities such as pollution has also affected Tana River red colobus monkeys in Kenya. Increase in industrial activities in Kenya has led to increase in emission of poisonous gases into the atmosphere causing air pollution. These gases form ozone layer thus increasing temperatures in the country. High temperatures have led to change in weather patterns that have made Kenya experience dry seasons. In this case, forests especially in the southern parts of Kenya have dried up leading to lack of food for the primates. This has contributed to high reduction in their number.
Increased water pollution in Kenya has also affected Tana River red colobus monkeys in Kenya. Draining of chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides in rivers and other water sources has affected the ecosystem of the country. This contaminated water has breached most forests in Kenya leading to destruction of habitat for Tana River red colobus monkeys (Mbora & Meikle, 2004). High number of these primates has also died due to consumption of contaminated water.
Tana River red colobus monkeys have also been threatened by hunting. Many people around the coastal region and along River Tana in Kenya have engaged in hunting of Tana River red colobus monkeys. Some cultures in this country hunt this primate for food while others use it for medicinal purposes. In addition, their skin is used to make ornaments in Kenya. This indicates that many Tana River red colobus monkeys have been hunted in Kenya for various purposes leading to decrease in their number. Continued cases of hunting for Tana River red colobus monkeys threaten them to dangers of extinction.
Initiatives proposed to combat these threats
The continues threat of endangered Tana River red colobus monkeys lead to establishment of strategies to safeguard forests along River Tana. In 2008, the high court of Kenya ruled that the Tana River National Reserve (TRPNR) in which 13 kilometer square of forest were protected was not found in treaty with the law. This would ensure all the endangered primates including Tana River red colobus monkeys were lawfully guarded. This initiative would ensure major forests are safeguarded from human interference. The law would prevent people from invading forests for agricultural purposes. As provided in the high courts of Kenya, the law would also prohibit people from cutting trees in reserved forests. This would play a great role in preserving habitat for the primates.
Another initiative that has been set in Kenya to combat threats faced by endangered primates is establishment of zoos. Zoo would play a great role in breeding the endangered primates in order to prevent their extinction. Tana River Primate National Reserves (TRPNR) was established in order to provide favourable habitat for the Tana River red colobus monkeys. Few primates were collected from the forests and preserved in this zoo for the breeding. Zoo provides breeding zone for the threatened species until a higher population is established...
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