International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 637–655 | Cite as

Effects of Forest Fragmentation on the Abundance of Colobus angolensis palliatus in Kenya’s Coastal Forests

  • J. AndersonEmail author
  • G. Cowlishaw
  • J.M. Rowcliffe
Special Issue: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation of Colobine Monkeys


We documented the occurrence and abundance patterns of Angola black-and-white colobus (Colobus angolensis palliatus) in 46 coastal forest fragments ranging from 1 ha to >1400 ha in the Kwale District, Kenya. In field surveys conducted in 2001, we also recorded forest spatial, structural, resource, and disturbance characteristics to determine the effects of habitat quality and fragmentation and the factors most critical to the continued survival of the little-known species. We tested 13 hypotheses to explain variation in patch occupancy and abundance patterns of Colobus angolensis palliatus in relation to habitat attributes. Minimal adequate models indicated that the occurrence of colobus in forest fragments is positively associated with fragment area and canopy cover, whereas the density of colobus in occupied fragments is attributable to forest area, the proportion of forest change over the previous 12 yr, and the basal area of 14 major food trees. Large-scale illegal extraction of major colobus food trees in the District for human resource use, in both protected and unprotected forests, together with ongoing forest clearance and modification, are the major threats to Colobus angolensis palliatus in Kenya.


abundance Colobus angolensis forest fragmentation habitat quality 



We thank the Government of Kenya for permitting this research (permit MOEST 13/001/31C 58) and the following institutions, organizations, and individuals who made the work possible: The Natural Environment Research Council, Humane Society of the United States, Born Free Foundation, and Alistair Voller Travel Fund for financial support; Wakuluzu, Friends of the Colobus Trust, Diani Beach Kenya, for logistics, research support, data collaboration, local primate/botanical field researchers, volunteers, and their help in the early conception of this research project; the Coastal Forest Conservation Unit (CFCU), National Museums of Kenya and Kenyatta University for botanical survey teams; Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forestry Department, CFCU and local Kaya elders for permission to conduct research and for logistical and field-staff support. We give special thanks to Quentin Luke, Hamisi Pakia, and Bakari Garise for additional botanical assistance.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of ZoologyZoological Society of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.WakuluzuFriends of the Colobus TrustDiani BeachKenya

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