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, October 21, 2010

Canopy Acrobatics!

Over the last couple of weeks we have regularly seen many groups of Angolan black and white Colobus in the coastal forests around Shimoni village. The Colobus display many behavioural traits common to all primates, however it has been recorded that the Colobus in particular are willing to take enormous risks when moving through the canopy. Research reports individuals attempting drops of up to 15m from the upper canopy which they commonly inhabit into the undergrowth below, a distance that is potentially fatal.

-Angolan Black and White Colobus Monkey-

A possible explanation for this phenomenon is that constant predation are putting the Colobus on high alert and therefore warranting the observed high levels of risk taking. The aim is to devise an accurate method of measuring the distance an individual Colobus jumps through the canopy. As well as this we intend to measure a range of other variables which may influence the level of risk taken by an individual. These include the weather conditions, time of day, group size, sex of individuals, distance from and number of observers and, if possible, the source of disturbance or reason for movement.

In collecting this data we hope to see patterns emerging between these variables and the distance jumped by an individual Colobus. Such patterns could go some way toward explaining or at least contributing to knowledge of these phenomena. We’ll keep you posted on our progress over the coming weeks!