Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Identifying the 'Angola' Troop

Hello again from the GVI team in Kenya

Today I’m going to write the first of what I hope will be an ongoing story about a particular troop of Colobus that inhabit Shimoni Forest (east) here on the south coast of Kenya. It’s a troop that we at GVI are beginning to know quite well, and are becoming rather fond of.

One member of the Angola troop

There is an area of forest, where our north / south spine runs through our third transect. The area is made up mainly of a fairly large clearing, which is surrounded on two sides by tall, mature forest. To the west of the clearing (the negative sections of our transect) the forest becomes dense with lots of thickets and low canopy, whereas to the east the clearing continues for a fair distance.

We’d always noticed there were a high number of Colobus sightings in and around that area, but because of the distances between the sightings (often several hundred metres) it was assumed they were different troops. But recently, we have been attempting to conduct behaviour surveys in the late afternoon and early evening (the times in which our data set is falling behind in).

What we’ve noticed is that all the smaller groups we’d been seeing scattered around during the day, are actually subgroups of a much larger troop that come together in the early evening, and presumably sleep together as a large group. Colobus troops are known to do this; sleep together in larger groups, and then separate during the day to feed in smaller subgroups.

We’ve named the troop the ‘Angola’ troop. So far, we have conducted 4 hours and 10 minutes worth of behaviour surveys on different individuals in the Angola troop, but still haven’t got a complete set of demographics. The largest count we have is 14 individuals, with 3 males, 2 females, 1 sub-adult and 1 infant.

We have no doubt there are others hiding away in the canopy that we haven’t seen, and that our total count isn’t spot on yet, but we intend on making it a goal in the coming weeks to try and identify every individual in the troop and successfully age and sex all of them.

This troop are becoming special to us, firstly because of the hours we’ve spent quietly observing them in the canopy , and secondly because the spot they inhabit is a man-made clearing, and illegal logging and charcoal burning continues to plague the entire area. All it would take would be for a few of the larger, key trees to be felled, and that entire troop would be displaced.

We will continue to keep you all updated on the Angola troop, and we will hopefully have a much more detailed picture of the entire troop for you all soon.

Take care, and we shall be back soon




Emilio said...

Good Blog!!


see you.