The Communities for Red Colobus (C4RC): Racing to protect Gambia’s wildlife

In just a month, a group of rangers from the Central River Region will run the race of their lives to protect one of the rarest primates in Africa.

They work for the Communities for Red Colobus (C4RC) project which aims to protect endangered Temminck’s red colobus monkeys through education and sensitisation programmes and by developing alternative sources of income such as primate-based ecotourism to reduce local dependence on charcoal.

On the 18th of September our team of 4 rangers will be competing with over 150 other teams from 20 African countries in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge. They will join their brothers and sisters to run 21kms with one goal to raise funds to support their livelihoods and the lives of the wildlife they protect.
Many of the rangers are from organisations which work with the most charismatic animals such as rhinos, elephants and lions, but primate initiatives are also represented. A team from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) in Uganda protect half the world population of endangered mountain gorillas and in Côte d’Ivoire wildlife rangers safegaurd chimpanzees in the Taï National Park.
Many people are unaware that The Gambia also has a number of fascinating primate species and by protecting red colobus in the Central River Region, the C4RC ranger team is also securing a future for green monkeys, patas monkeys, guinea baboons and nocturnal bushbabies which share these spectacular forests.
The Wildlife Ranger Challenge was developed to address a crisis within our community of rangers created by the impacts of Covid-19. As the virus swept across the continent in early 2020, the price of goods and services increased rapidly, and the eco-tourism sector collapsed. With no tourist income many rangers lost their jobs leaving protected areas such as national parks vulnerable to poaching and pushing wildlife closer to extinction.
In 2020, the Wildlife Ranger Challenge provided a vital lifeline to the C4RC team and the local communities during the Covid-19 crisis. Two additional salaried rangers and 9 trainee rangers were recruited to increase forest patrols, prevent poaching and intercept illegal activity. Motorcycles were purchased to enable rapid access to red colobus forest sites and digital radios and GPS units ensured the personal safety of the ranger team.
Unfortunately in 2021 the challenges from Covid-19 are still very real so please consider donating to our Wildlife Ranger Challenge appeal through this JustGiving page. Even if you can only afford a small amount, it will be greatly appreciated, and all your donation will go directly to the rangers to ensure that their primate conservation efforts can go on.
Finally, why not run with the rangers and race for wildlife today. Join friends or work colleagues to run 5, 10 or 21kms to raise funds for the C4RC project and register your team on the Wildlife Ranger Challenge website.
On behalf of the C4RC team, thank you for your help!
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