Golden monkeys are an endangered species in Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda. The golden monkeys are among the most exciting primates along side Chimpanzees, baboons, colobus monkeys, mountain gorillas among others. The golden monkeys are subspecies of blue monkey found only in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Volcanoes found in Central Africa.
In Rwanda, there are two groups of golden monkeys are habituated for tourism and one group is habituated in volcanoes national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park respectively.
While golden monkeys live in groups, many lone males are observed and sometimes they leave the park to look for food.
On the January 27, Elisabeth Nyirakaragire, Volcanoes National Park’s Veterinary Warden, alerted MGVP about the presence of an adult stray male golden monkey at the Rushubi Primary School near Kinigi, Rwanda. Doctor Jan and Elisabeth decided to attempt an intervention and bring the golden monkey back to the forest.
When they arrived, they tried to herd the golden monkey back to the forest but the excited school children chased him in the wrong direction. The golden monkey was stressed and went to hide in an unfinished house. Dr. Jan called, asking me to come to the scene and bring the immobilization equipment. After asking to the local people around the house to move away with the help of the community workers, I was able to dart the monkey, who was hiding in the rafters.
The anesthesia was successfully injected in his left thigh. He removed the dart and gave me a hard look. Within 10 minutes, the golden monkey was mostly anesthetized. Dr. Jan and I held a tarp underneath him to catch him. Community workers and Elisabeth brought our intervention bags and a dog crate into the house so we could collect samples.
The golden monkey was stable throughout the procedure. Blood samples were collected from the right and left femoral vein and we also took nasal, mouth, anal and throat bacterial swabs. The golden monkey had a small superficial scar on his left eyelid.
He was missing his two upper canines and his left lower canine was broken. He had a cut on his left ear probably due to a fight. He was in good weight and body condition and his stomach was half full. After 30 minutes he began to wake up and we put him in the crate.
Dr. Jan went to the MGVP laboratory to process the samples and Elisabeth, the community workers, and I walked to the forest with the monkey to reintroduce him to the park. After a 30-minute hike we entered the park and walked the monkey 300 meters inside. We opened the door to the crate and the monkey disappeared into the bamboo. It was a successful intervention for the monkey and for us.
The author is a Rwandan Field Wildlife Veterinarian and Gorilla doctor who is a specialized in Field Epidemiology at the School of Public Health. As well-known that, golden monkeys are exciting to see, many tourists move to Rwanda to see these great apes and so they are highly preserved and protected from any danger hence promoting Rwanda tourism.
Below is the proposed 3 Days Golden monkeys and Gorilla safari in volcanoes National park
3 Days Rwanda Tour – Golden Monkeys & Gorilla safari
DAY1: Arrival in Kigali & Transfer to the home of Golden monkeys.
You will be welcomed by our safari guide who will drive north of Rwanda to Volcanoes National Park viewing spectacular scenery of the Virunga Mountains en route. Dinner and overnight at Kinigi Guest House / Hotel La Palme / Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.
DAY 2: Golden monkey tracking
After breakfast, you will go to track the golden monkeys in the bamboo forest. Return to the lodge for lunch and transfer to visit the beautiful twin lakes of Burera and Buhondo for scenic viewing and photography. Return to your Lodge for dinner and overnight as on Day 1.
DAY 3: The memorable Gorilla tracking
Breakfast and head to the park headquarters with packed lunch & water for the briefing about the dos and don’ts while with the gorillas, and then proceed to track the gorillas. Time taken searching for these Gentle giants ranges between 2-6hours depending on the movement of gorillas. Return to the Lodge for lunch; proceed with journey back to Kigali for dinner and overnight at Serena Hotel, Manor Hotel or Chez Lando Hotel.
End of the safari
Feel free to book an escorted or self drive safari in Rwanda to experience Rwanda and Volcanoes National Park fully through credible tour companies like African Jungle Adventures ltd. These not only offer gorilla and golden monkey tracking but also hotel reservations, air ticketing, birding trips, community tours, 4×4 car hire for self drive in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya or Tanzania.