It has been a couple of months now that we have been mobilizing around a common course, that of improving range-wide conservation of mainland Africa’s most threatened group of primates, the red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus spp.). Our network, a coordinated conservation community of volunteer individuals and institutions working collectively to achieve its vision is today comprised of 137 members. We are organised around important operational bodies, “the Red colobus working group”, “Taskforces” and other supporting members that are keeping the RCCN alive, mobilizing persons from all dimensions and preparing a solid foundation that will support and ensure success in the implementation of the red colobus conservation action plan (ReCAP, Official publication is in progress).
The Red Colobus Working Group is comprised of the Chair of the Primate Specialist Group of the IUCN SSC/PSG, Chair of the African Primatological Society, RCCN Coordinator, West Africa, East Africa, Gulf of Guinea and Central Africa representatives, Red Colobus Experts and Conservation Experts. This group is in charge of promoting, managing, monitoring and fundraising for the implementation of the Red Colobus Conservation Action Plan, monitoring the functioning of the RCCN, and identifying priority projects. To date, three meetings have been held by the members of this group wherein a monitoring and evaluation system for the RCCN and ReCAP was elaborated, it was agreed that Zoo foundations will be targeted for fundraising and that, three task forces will be created for a start.
In this regard, if any RCCN member can help in any way with the zoo fundraising, we are very happy to have his/her contribution.
Moreover, as we are expecting the publication of ReCAP, the first three task forces have been created to start mobilizing RCCN members to know each other, enhance cohesion and trust among members, and engaging them around activities that keep the RCCN strong and set for implementing ReCAP.
The three task forces are Education and Awareness Task Force (EATF), Political Will task force (PWTF) and Red Colobus Survey Taskforce (RSTF). Here presented is a synthesis of what is done within these task forces:
1. The EATF is made up of 11 members from different countries and affiliations (Partners for Red Colobus, Federal University of Agriculture, Nigeria; Kumming Institute of Zoology, China; Bangor University, UK; University of Bamenda, Cameroon; Center for research and Conservation Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Belgium; University of Georgia…). The range-wide conservation priority action in ReCAP that is going to be achieved by the activities of the EATF is "Raise local, national, and global awareness of red colobus monkeys and their habitats, and of the benefits and value of wildlife conservation, in general". To date, the task force has held two meetings and have created a WhatsApp group to facilitate communication among the members. They are working on conceiving a task force related project for potential funding and are designing awareness materials for the red colobus.
2. The PWTF has 13 members from the Bangor University, UK; Global Wildlife Conservation, US; Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Tanzania; Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development and Ministry of Forest and Wildlife, Cameroon; Makerere University, Uganda; George Washington University; Marine Protection and Conservation, Nigeria; Korup Rainforest Conservation Society; Cameroon; and Presbyterian University college; Ghana). The priority action in ReCAP that is going to be achieved by the activities of the task force is "Strengthen protection by increasing local institutional/government investment in and the human capacity for conservation activities, engaging with local human communities and integrating them into red colobus conservation initiatives, and improving and establishing formal government-managed and community-based conservation areas". The PWTF members recently held their first introductory meeting during which a Coordinator and a secretary were designated. They will be meeting again to reflect on operational activities that will be required to facilitate the implementation of political will actions across the species range countries.
3. The RSTF has 22 members from the University of Cumbria, WCS DR Congo; Eastern Africa Primate Diversity and Conservation Program, Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme, Kenya, University of Dschang, Cameroon; Ministry of Forest and Wildlife, Cameroon; The Ohio State University, US; the University of West of England, UK; Georg-August University Germany; Makerere University, Uganda, etc.). The priority action in ReCAP that is going to be achieved by the activities of this task force is "Determine taxon-specific distribution, abundance, and population size and structure, resolve taxonomic uncertainties, and infer protected area connectivity to inform conservation activities". The first meeting is still to be organised.
Given that at the RCCN we are striving at the diversity of membership and opinions, we are happy to invite members willing to join one or more of the task force(s) to contact directly the RCCN coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the same email if you are not yet a member and interested in joining the RCCN.
For any concern, RCCN is reachable at www.redcolobusnetwork.org, and updates can be followed on Twitter: @RedColobusCN https://twitter.com/RedColobusCN, and Facebook: Red Colobus Conservation Network Red Colobus Conservation Network).