Saving Bijilo Monkey Park and the Western Red Colobus Monkey

Updated on Nov 25, 2022 by Kathryn Burrington

Blog > Saving Bijilo Monkey Park and the Western Red Colobus Monkey

Bijilo Forest Park, or Monkey Park as it's commonly called, is well known to visitors to The Gambia but it's under threat and needs your help to survive.

The Bijilo Forest Park & Nature Trail was established in 1951 and is commonly known as Monkey Park. Located at the southern end of Senegambia Beach. It's a popular tourist attraction and educational aid. This alone makes it worthwhile, but there's another more pressing reason to save the park. As the name Monkey Park suggests, there are two species of monkeys who live there, the ever curious and friendly Green Vervet Monkeys, and the shyer Western Red Colobus Monkey, an endangered species (pictured below).

 

Western Red Colobus Monkey, an endangered species in The Gambia

 

In 2018 a portion of the park was destroyed in order to construct a conference centre. The whole park came under threat when the entire area lost its status as a reserve. It looked like the bulldozers were going to move in again, but thanks to the protest of many dedicated people, including the environmentalists Green Up Gambia, and the thousands of people who signed a petition, this decision was overturned, and the park's reserve status reinstated.

 

 

Sadly, the story doesn’t end there. The small pool that the park’s monkeys relied on for water, as well as fruit trees that provided an important food source, were all destroyed when the conference centre site was cleared.

Since then, the monkey park has gone from strength to strength and fundraising was successful to provide a bore hole that will continue to water the trees that have been planted. The monkey park is home to many species of trees and since 2018, 112 Mahogany Trees, 15 Baobabs, 10 Silk Cotton Trees, 10 Palm Trees, 40 Kaba plants and 2 Locust Bean Trees have been planted! This is a fantastic step towards helping the monkeys as many used to leave the park to go scavenging in residential areas, due to the lack of trees, resulting in them getting hit by cars when crossing the highway.

Bijilo Monkey Park, The Gambia

A fence Is planned to protect the park and its inhabitants and to stop illegal logging, rubbish dumping and domestic animals and grazing cattle from entering the park. Other plans for the future include bird watching towers, photo hides and the rehabilitation of nature trails.

The group have set up a Go Fund Me page for donations and The Gambia Experience donated £500 to the cause. You can find Green Up Gambia on Facebook.

 

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