The Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey is a herbivorous tree monkey. They have a flexible bone structure that allows them to jump between trees. They also have a long tail that they only use for balance. Red Colobus Monkeys can be found in three forests across the Zanzibar archipelago, as well as coastal thickets and agricultural areas.
Once covering the entire main island in a rich tapestry of swamp forest, evergreen thicket, and mangrove, all that remains is Jozani Forest. Despite this, Jozani has a varied bio-diversity, with many strange and wonderful animals living in and beneath the canopy of old giants. The Forest is located approximately 35 kilometres southeast of Zanzibar Town and boasts more or less 100 tree species from 43 families, and of course, the Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey is one of the most famous residents of Jozani. They can be seen calmly lazing around or playing in the branches—their red coats a reminder of British colonial rule.
Although cute, approximately 1,600 to 2,000 individuals remain, and 50 per cent of the monkeys found on the islands now live outside of protected zones. The largest and most important area of protection and habitat for the monkey is in Jozani National Park, which covers about 6,000 acres. It is located on the main island, and the populations here have been extensively researched in terms of both ecology and behaviour. Nonetheless, many groups have been discovered in shambas, which is Swahili for “farmland.” These shambas are located near the park, and higher densities of the Zanzibar red colobus monkey have been seen living there in more cohesive groups than inside the park reserve.
The Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park is a 50-square-kilometre Tanzanian national park located on the paradise island of Zanzibar. It is the most well-known island national park in the world. It is home to diverse flora and fauna, including the main attraction, the Zanzibar red colobus monkey, as well as sykes monkeys, bushbabies, more than 50 species of butterfly and 50 species of birds, and the nocturnal Zanzibar tree hyrax, which has four ‘toes’ on its front feet and three on its back. Chwaka Bay’s seagrass beds, which are surrounded by mangrove forests, are important breeding grounds for marine organisms, including open fish species. Birds use the mangroves as a breeding ground.