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Habituation, capture and relocation of Sykes monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis albotorquatus) on the coast of Kenya

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Abstract:

The objective of this project was to collect scientific data to assist in the development of guidelines for the humane relocation of threatened and endangered arboreal non-human primate species. A troop of 31 Lowland Sykes monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis albotorquatus) was habituated to fruit bait for capture in a village and relocation to a previously selected suitable site in a protected forest reserve approximately 30 km away. Sixty-five percent (n = 20) of the animals were captured and relocated. This subgroup comprised one adult male, eight adult females, two subadult females, three juvenile males, four juvenile females and two infant males. Although the relocated group originated from one single group, post-translocation telemetry signals demonstrated that it split into two groups, which established themselves approximately 2–4 km apart in their new territory; the adult male eventually became solitary. The factors of importance for the successful capture and relocation of forest primates were found to include: proper understanding of troop home-range utilisation and of social bond organisation within the troop, method and period of habituation, method of release, suitability of the new habitat with respect to the ecological niche requirements of the species in question, and the period of post-relocation monitoring.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; CERCOPITHECUS MITIS ALBOTORQUATUS; CONSERVATION; RELEASE; RELOCATION; SYKES MONKEYS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-08-01

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