Tana River red colobus

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Tana River red colobus[1]
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Procolobus
Subgenus: Piliocolobus
Species: P. rufomitratus
Binomial name
Procolobus rufomitratus
(Peters, 1879)
Procolobus ruformitratus distribution.svg
Geographic range in Africa

The Tana River red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus), also called the eastern red colobus, is a highly endangered species of primate in the Cercopithecidae family. It is endemic to a narrow zone of gallery forest near the Tana River in southeastern Kenya. As all red colobuses, it was formerly considered a subspecies of a widespread P. badius.[3]

Conservation status[edit]

The Tana River red colobus has been considered one of The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates.[4][5] It was, together with the equally endangered Tana River mangabey, the main reason for the creation of the Tana River Primate Reserve in 1978,[6] but human encroachment within this reserve continues.[7] Recently, it has been suggested that 20,000 hectares of the Tana River Delta should be transformed into sugarcane plantations, but this has, temporarily at least, been stopped by the High Court of Kenya.[8] Contra Groves,[1] it was not recognized as a species separate from the Ugandan, Central African and Thollon's red colobus in the 2008 IUCN Red List. With these as subspecies, P. rufomitratus is considered to be of least concern in the 2008 IUCN Red List,[9] while P. (r.) rufomitratus is considered endangered.[2]

The Tana River red colobus has been under the watch of the Tana River Primate National Reserve (TRPNR), They put forward numerous amounts of research and studies into the conservation of the Tana River red colobus. They found that only 37% of the red colossuses lived inside the preservation itself which have brought the conservation strategy into question.[10]

Causes of endangerment[edit]

The Tana River red colobus is located only on a very small section of the world. Its current endangerment is caused by the deforestation and the hunting done by humans.[9] Tropical forests are constantly being cut down, causing the destruction of habitat for the red colobus. Cultivation of the land and the creation of levees and dykes have had the most devastating impact. Both human creations involve partial or complete forest clearing resulting in further devastation of forest patches.[11] Both the Tana River red colobus and the Tana River mangabey have been put in a dangerous situation due to deforestation and destruction created by an increasing human population. Forest is vacant primarily for agriculture; in the last 20 years approximately 50% of the unique forest has been lost. [12] A survey conducted in 1987 concluded that since 1975 there has been approximately an 80% decline in the numbers of Tana River Colobus monkeys. Habitat disturbances, changing farming practices, and the altering course of the river were found to be the main reasons for endangerment.[13] Another developing threat to the Tana River Red Colobus is the introduction of parasitic diseases to their habitats. The presence of parasites in the monkeys was noticeably higher than other primates.[14]

Diet[edit]

Colobus monkeys eat mostly leaves from a limited number of tree species. They choose mature leaf species that are high in nitrogen and low in fiber.[15] They supplement this bulky cellulose diet with occasional unripe fruit, moss and seeds. Human food is of no interest to these leaf specialists. Their stomachs are large and have three chambers, and carry a specific bacterium which helps to ferment and digest the leaves. They eat about two to three kilograms of leaves a day. Sometimes they eat soil, clay and charcoal to help digest toxins and toxic leaves. Because of the poor nutritional quality of their food, they must browse intensively for many hours each day looking for food, and spend much of the remainder of the day resting to aid digestion.[citation needed]

Behavior[edit]

Tana River Red Colobus monkeys tend to be sedate and quiet creatures. They live together in small numbers and give out low calls when necessary.ref name=r1/>

Habitat[edit]

The Tana River red colobus monkey gets its name from where it resides, along forests along the floodplain in the lower Tana River in eastern Kenya, the country's longest river. The river is roughly 1,000 km long. When the river in a flood, the floodplain measures from one to six km in width, and about 60 to 100 m in width when not in a flood. Floods occur roughly once a year, with a major flood occurring every three years. Although the floodplain is mostly grassy, there are places where bushland, woodland, and forests reside.

Climate[edit]

The lower Tana River is generally hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 86 °F to 100 °F (30 °C to 38 °C). The hottest months generally occur during January and February while the coldest months are May through July. The average annual rainfall is between 500 and 600 mm, with the wettest months being March and April and the driest being November and December.

Vegetation[edit]

The main vegetation that appears along the lower Tana River includes grassland, wooded grassland, bushland, deciduous woodland and lowland evergreen forest. Due to human disturbances as well as floods, patchy distributions of forests have resulted.[16] There was also a study in 1988 to determine what was causing the drastic decline of the Crested Mangabey and the Tana River Red Colobus. The forest was found to be regenerating and causing a new kind of vegetation to appeal to newer species. This could have been a cause in their drop of numbers.[17]

Reproduction[edit]

The Tana River red colobus has a polygynous mating system especially when only one male is present. The dominance hierarchy typically determines which individuals are allowed to mate. Little is known about the reproductive cycle in the wild due to this species constant migration. The dominant male usually mates with females within the same social group. Females initiate mating through courtship displays and copulation calls. Red colobus monkeys breed throughout the year, and have a gestation period of about 4.5 to 5.5 months.

Infants cling to their mother’s underbelly. Up until about 3.5 months in age infants travel only one meter away from the mother. By 3.5 to 5.5 they usually play with other monkeys. Females leave the group around 18 months of age and continue to move from group to group. Males may leave the group during adolescence but have a harder time being accepted into other social groups due to hierarchy.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 170. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ a b Butynski, T.M., Struhsaker, T. & De Jong, Y. (2008). Procolobus rufomitratus ssp. rufomitratus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
  3. ^ Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press Limited, London. ISBN 0-12-408355-2
  4. ^ Butynski, T. M. 2005. Tana River Red Colobus, Procolobus rufomitratus (Peters, 1879). In: Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates 2004–2006, R. A. Mittermeier, C. Valladares-Pádua, A. B. Rylands, A. A. Eudey, T. M. Butynski, J. U. Ganzhorn, R. Kormos, J. M. Aguiar and S. Walker (eds.), p.17. Report to IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group (PSG), International Primatological Society (IPS) and Conservation International (CI), Washington, DC.
  5. ^ Mittermeier, R.A.; Wallis, J.; Rylands, A.B.; Ganzhorn, J.U.; Oates, J.F.; Williamson, E.A.; Palacios, E.; Heymann, E.W.; Kierulff, M.C.M.; Long Yongcheng; Supriatna, J.; Roos, C.; Walker, S.; Cortés-Ortiz, L.; Schwitzer, C., eds. (2009). "Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates 2008–2010" (PDF). Illustrated by S.D. Nash. Arlington, VA.: IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group (PSG), International Primatological Society (IPS), and Conservation International (CI). pp. 1–92. ISBN 978-1-934151-34-1. 
  6. ^ "Kenya Wildlife Service – Tana River Primate Reserve". www.kws.org. Retrieved 2009-12-30. [dead link]
  7. ^ Kenya’s rare monkey species threatened with extinction . African Conservation Foundation. Accessed 2008-07-20
  8. ^ Tana gets temporary reprieve. BirdLife International. Accessed 2008-07-20
  9. ^ a b Oates, J.F., Struhsaker, T., Butynski, T.M. & De Jong, Y. (2008). Procolobus rufomitratus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  10. ^ Mbora, D. N. M.; Meikle, D. B. (2004). "The value of unprotected habitat in conserving the critically endangered Tana River red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus)". Biological Conservation 120: 91. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2004.02.012.  edit
  11. ^ Moinde-Fockler, N. N.; Oguge, N. O.; Karere, G. M.; Otina, D.; Suleman, M. A. (2006). "Human and natural impacts on forests along lower Tana river, Kenya: Implications towards conservation and management of endemic primate species and their habitat". Biodiversity and Conservation 16 (4): 1161. doi:10.1007/s10531-006-9096-8.  edit
  12. ^ Tana Red River Colobus Monkey. Monkey Knife Fight
  13. ^ Decker, B. S. (1994). "Effects of habitat disturbance on the behavioral ecology and demographics of the Tana river red colobus (Colobus badius rufomitratus)". International Journal of Primatology 15 (5): 703. doi:10.1007/BF02737428.  edit
  14. ^ Mbora, D. N.; McPeek, M. A. (2009). "Host density and human activities mediate increased parasite prevalence and richness in primates threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation". Journal of Animal Ecology 78 (1): 210–8. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01481.x. PMID 19120603.  edit
  15. ^ Mowry, C. B.; Decker, B. S.; Shure, D. J. (1996). "The role of phytochemistry in dietary choices of Tana River red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius rufomitratus)". International Journal of Primatology 17: 63. doi:10.1007/BF02696159.  edit
  16. ^ Butynski, T.M. and Mwangi, G. (1994). "Conservation Status and Distribution of the Tana River Red ColobusS and Crested Mangabey". coastalforests.tfcg.org
  17. ^ Medley, Kimberly E (Summer 1993). "The Tana River forests, Kenya: small, dynamic, and endangered". Focus 43: 15–22. 
  18. ^ Jones, J. (2002). Piliocolobus rufomitratus, Animal Diversity Web.