The Preuss’s red colobus (Procolobus preussi) is a critically endangered primate endemic to the Cross-Sanaga lowland rainforests of the Gulf of Guinea. For a long time it was thought that it was present only within Korup NP where our project is operating (but thankfully additional populations have been detected in Ebo forest and the broader Korup region). We still lack a good ecological understanding of the species, but we do know that it is under pressure from illegal hunting for the bushmeat trade even within protected areas.
Our project is currently developing a detection algorithm (software code) that will help us scan the vast acoustic data from our Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs; the acoustic sensors) so as to be able to use it a) to monitor the specie’s distribution in the park, and b) to survey more effectively forest fragments where additional populations may exist.
A challenge of developing such detectors to scan the data is that one needs good sample vocalizations to train the computer to detect the calls… This is a challenge as there are very few people who have actually seen the Press’s red colobus and even fewer who had calls. Our field team collected some calls as well. The experience of local people in helping identify calls for the development of the detector is invaluable, and every project should ensure that local knowledge is tapped into in similar projects.