Samburu Primates Research And Conservation

About Samburu Primates
Research And Conservation Background

Colobus Monkey
Colobus Monkey

Although northern part of Kenya is predominated by arid and semi-arid areas, there are six tropical forests found on the regions with higher elevations. Of these forests, four are found in Samburu. These four, namely Mathews Range and Leroghi, Ndoto and Mt Nyiro forests, are rich in biodiversity and receive a substantial amount of rain. These forests have, however, received marginal attention due to the remoteness of this area, insecurity and poor infrastructure, and the knowledge of their biodiversity has remained scanty.

Several endemic species of plants and animals are found here including Mt Uarges guereza (Colobus guereza percivali), the only endangered subspecies of the Colobus guereza. It is endemic to Samburu and classified as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List on account of its limited Extent of Occurrence. Another important primate species is the newly discovered population of the de Brazza’s monkey (Cercopithecus neglectus). Although this species had been believed to be restricted to the western part of the country, it was also found in Samburu, east of the Great Rift Valley, through our field studies in 2007.

Prior to this pioneering study on the de Brazza’s monkey, there were no long term primates’ conservation activities in Samburu. This was partly to blame for the late discoveries and the poaching to near extinction of the Endangered Mt Uarges guereza. In light of this, the idea of a Samburu Primates Research and Conservation Program was conceived to address the plight of these primates.

Subsequently, the focus on more rare primates in the wider Samburu was initiated to bridge the information gap and provide baseline information needed to guide the initiation and implementation of in situ conservation activities and mainstreaming of primate conservation in ongoing biodiversity conservation efforts.

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