Roads affect wildlife in a variety of negative ways. Road ecology studies have mostly concentrated on areas in the northern hemisphere despite the potentially greater impact of roads on biodiversity in tropical habitats. Here, we examine 4 years (January 2016–December 2019) of opportunistic observations of mammalian roadkill along a road intersecting Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park, Unguja, Zanzibar. In particular, we assess the impact of collisions on the population of an endemic primate, the Endangered Zanzibar red colobus Piliocolobus kirkii. Primates accounted for the majority of roadkill in this dataset. Monthly rainfall was not associated with roadkill frequency for mammals generally, nor for the Zanzibar red colobus. No single age–sex class of colobus was found dead more often than expected given their occurrence in the local population. The overall effect of roadkill on colobus populations in habitats fragmented by roads is unknown given the lack of accurate, long-term life history data for this species. Our findings suggest that mortality from collisions with vehicles in some groups of colobus is within the range of mortality rates other primates experience under natural predation. Unlike natural predators, however, vehicles do not kill selectively, so their impact on populations may differ. Although a comparison with historical accounts suggests that the installation of speedbumps along the road near the Park's entrance has led to a significant decrease in colobus roadkill, further actions to mitigate the impact of the road could bring substantial conservation benefits.


  • Colobus, Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park, mortality, Piliocolobus kirkii, primate conservation, roadkill, wildlife–vehicle collisions, Zanzibar
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-276
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Early online date16 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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