Studying the Udzungwa Red Colobus monkey in Tanzania

5 TBA alumni Groups were awarded the TBA small grant to undertake research projects in 2013. Below are updates from the Tanzania TBA Alumni Association as they started data collection for their project: “The Udzungwa Red Colobus (Procolobus badius gordonorum) adaptability to major habitat destruction in Kalunga Forest Reserve, Morogoro, Tanzania”.

Udzungwa red colobus
Udzungwa red colobus

Our project team scheduled the first field work for the dry season (July to October) last year. As our study aims to find out the survival strategies of the Udzungwa Red Colobus monkey (Procolobus badius gordonorum) in both dry and wet seasons, the dry season was targeted first before the onset of the short rains season in December.

 Observing the red colobus group in the Kalunga rubber plantation
Observing the red colobus group in the Kalunga rubber plantation

Thus following logistic preparations, we arrived in the field on 5th October 2013 and were ready to start collecting our first data. While we were greeted by occasional light rain showers during our fieldwork, we are optimistic that the information collected is still relevant for the dry season. During our survey in the Kalunga rubber plantation, one troop of Red colobus monkeys was encountered and all individuals counted.

We then followed the group for behavioral studies and additional observations on the group structure. We also recorded habitat characteristics while encountering other primate species such as the Velvet monkey, Black and white colobus and Sykes monkey. A similar work was repeated in Magombera forest reserve, approximately 10 Kilometers North East of Kalunga rubber plantation. Three Red colobus Monkey groups and one Black and white colobus group were encountered in Magombera forest reserve. Also Sykes monkeys were heard vocalizing.

unnamed (2)Our study ultimately aims at contributing more knowledge and information important for the conservation of this endangered and endemic primate species.

We’ll keep you updated on our progress as we plan our next field visit during the wet season in March/April 2014.

Samuel Mtoka (2005 TBA STP Workshop)

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