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Africa's rarest primates are being protected ... with speed bumps

Tuesday, April 13th 2021, 11:35 am - Researchers are looking at installing additional speed bumps based on the success of the experiment.

The Zanzibar red colobus is one of Africa's rarest primates, currently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Now, a new study has found a cheap, efficient, and effective way to keep them safer:

Speed bumps.

And not fancy ones -- just regular, old-fashioned speed bumps.

Researchers found that installing four of them along a stretch of road the primates frequently crossed drastically reduced the death rate.

Before the bumps, one colobus was killed every 2-3 weeks in traffic collisions, researchers say, representing in an annual mortality rate of between 12 and 17 per cent of the total population. After, the rate was reduced to one fatality every six weeks.

Wikipedia - Zanzibar red colobus File photo of a Zanzibar red colobus mother and and her infant. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

Officials are looking into adding even more speed bumps to further reduce the risk and to potentially protect other animals in the area.

"As tourism grows in Zanzibar and habitat continues to shrink, using science to quantify and solve conservation problems has never been so important," Dr. Tim Davenport, Director of Species Conservation & Science in Africa at the Wildlife Conservation Society and a coauthor in the study, said in a statement.

"Understanding the impact of vehicles on wildlife within a park, and implementing practical solutions is exactly what we as conservationists should be doing."

This isn't the first place to use speed bumps to reduce the risk of animal-car collisions. They have also been employed in Queensland, Australia in an area where cassowaries frequently cross the road.

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