03/09/2019

Conservationist spearheads campaign to save threatened monkeys

Our Head of Field Conservation & Science is helping to spearhead an international action plan to save some of the most threatened monkeys in the world.

Dr Grainne McCabe is working with Dr David Fernandez from the University of the West of England and colleagues from Ghana, America, and the UK to help secure the future of mangadrills.

Mangadrills include mangabeys, mandrills and drill monkeys. In total, there are nine species of these monkeys that are amongst the least studied and the most threatened.

They are listed as either Endangered or Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

A report written by Dr McCabe and her colleagues says there is urgent need for efforts to protect both mangadrills and their habitats.

They have called for action in the areas where these animals are found which range from forests in Senegal to Kenya’s Tana River Delta.

They state: “Given the limited knowledge and threatened conservation status of most of these species, there is urgent need for a collaborative, regional-wide approach.”

The report follows a three-day symposium to consider the plight of these Old World primates.

Dr McCabe, Head of Field Conservation and Science at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “These animals are large-bodied, so they are targeted by hunters across most of their range. And they prefer to live in large patches of old growth forest, which is being threatened by logging and illegal mining in many parts of Central and West Africa, in particular.”

The report calls for action on a number of fronts including:

  • Developing conservation work in countries where mangadrills are found
  • Promoting sustainable livelihoods for communities living alongside mangadrill habitat
  • Carry out surveys to confirm the size of mangadrill populations and where they live

The report concludes: “Without these actions, we will likely see the extinction of some of these species within our lifetime”

Dr McCabe and her colleagues are planning to launch the Mangadrill Conservation Action Plan in the summer of 2020 at the International Primatological Society Congress in Ecuador.

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