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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Primate Community

One of the surveys the forest team undertake on a weekly basis is Primate community. We are collecting information on; species presence and distribution, population density, any seasonal variation, how they use the habitat, demographic data, as well contributing data on Angolan Black & White Colobus in Kenya. We carry out these surveys by walking down straight line transects recording any primates that we spot. But just who are we looking for?... 
Sykes Monkeys (Cercopithecus (nictitans) mitis)

Sykes monkeys are folivores eating ripe fruits, insects, eggs and always seem to hang around the house more when a new delivery of bananas is brought to base. The most playful of the bunch, highly vocal making deep booms by males amplified by air sacs, and a loud resounding ‘pyow’ as alarm call (or when we are trying to get our bananas back). Likely to see on a primate community survey.

Yellow Baboon (Papio cynocephalus)

The Yellow Baboon eats just about anything and has even been known to predate young antelope and small mammals. They are listed as vermin in Kenya which isn't entirely unjustified considering they can reach troops of  up to 80 and are known to destroy crops (as well as the fact the Baboon above just stole that Papaya from the neighbours house).  Unlikely to see on a primate community survey and more likely to see around our compost pit. 

Vervet Monkey Cercopithecus (aethiops) pygerythrus

Vervets are small monkeys and rarely seen in our forest from being out competed by other monkey. They are abundant in Kenya and are often seen away from home. Males are most recognisable for their bright blue scrotum. 

Angolan black and white Colobus (Colobus angolensis palliatus) 

Angolan Black and White Colobus are the forest teams focus species, little studies have been done on these majestic animals. They are from the family Colobidea – which derives from Greek ‘Kolob’ meaning ‘mutilated’ due to residual thumb. Their lack of thumb combined with long arched fingers provides a‘hook’ for swinging through the branches. They live in small groups with an average of 5 per troop. Its likely you will see these Colobus on a primate community survey sunning themselves high in the canopy.

Greater galago (Galago senegalensis) 

With two species of Galago in the forest the other being the Dwarf galago (Otolemur garnettii). Galago's are a types of Bush Baby which are considered the closest living representatives of the earliest primates. They have long slender fingers with widened, flattened tips for insectivory. Galagos lack the ability to move their fingers separately like other primates. Extremely unlikely to see during a Primate Community survey taking in to account they are nocturnal, however plenty are seen during our night surveys 

Mother and baby Sykes monkey.