Population sizes and distribution of primates in the lower Tana River forests, Kenya
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We studied the population size and distribution of diurnal primates in the lower Tana River forests, Kenya. They are the only remaining habitats for 2 threatened primates: the Tana River red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus) and the Tana River crested mangabey (Cercocebus galeritus galeritus). We conducted censuses in 73 forest patches from January through March 2001. We estimate population size of the red colobus to be 788 individuals in 82 groups and that of the crested mangabeys to be 2,070 individuals in 59 groups. The data suggest that over a 7-year period (1994-2001), there was an 18% increase in the crested mangabey population and a 5% decline in red colobus numbers. Further, the red colobus range has expanded both north and south, whereas that of crested mangabeys has only expanded south. Fifty-six percent of crested mangabeys and 46% of red colobus groups were inside the Tana River Primate National Reserve (TRPNR). Other primates encountered included 170 groups of Sykes' monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis), 70 groups of yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) and 4 groups of grivets [Chlorocebus (Cercopithecus) aethiops]. Mean group densities of the 2 endangered primates and of baboons were higher inside than outside the TRPNR, reinforcing the importance of TRPNR for their conservation. An intervention program is required to stem further decline in the red colobus population and to protect small isolated groups in forest patches outside TRPNR.