At least 26 endangered Colobus monkeys have died in Kenya's South Coast this year alone, conservationists said on Sunday.
Colobus Trust trustee Luciana Parazzi said 15 of the rare monkeys died from road accidents along the Ukunda-Diani road while 11 others were electrocuted by power lines.
Ms Parazzi said other factors threatening the monkeys scientifically known as Angolan black and white colobus (Colobus angolensis) include massive destruction of the Diani forest and poaching.
The remaining coastal coral rag forest inhabited by the primates is also faced with extinction owing to unplanned tourism development and construction of private homes by individuals, she said.
The population of monkeys in Diani has plummeted from 482 to 276 in the last 12 years. Ms Parazzi said the number of the rare monkeys, which are only found in Diani and Shimba Hills, used to be 2,000.
“In the past six month alone 26 of these precious monkeys died from road accidents and electrocution. Poachers are also wreaking havoc as we have recovered 600 snares in the forest,” she said.
“Unless the clearing of the endangered coastal forest is stopped urgently these important ecological, economic and cultural animals will be lost forever.”
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