The Samango Monkey is also known as the Sykes’ monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis), or the white-throated monkey. It is an Old World monkey found between Ethiopia and South Africa, including the south-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is named after English naturalist Colonel William Henry Sykes (1790-1872), and has been considered conspecific with the blue monkey (which includes the golden and silver monkey), but has a large white patch on the throat and upper chest, and a grizzled (not blackish) cap
Why is the Samango monkey endangered?
In South Africa, Samango monkeys are threatened due to ongoing habitat loss of indigenous forest habitats and a decline in habitat quality because of commercial forestry plantations. They are found in the Mariepskop Nature Reserve high up in the northern Drakensberg mountains. This reserve is a protected area near Hoedspruit in Limpopo Province South Africa.
Where are Samango monkeys found in South Africa?
Samango monkeys have a restricted distribution in South Africa due to their close affiliation with evergreen forests. They are the country’s only exclusively forest-dwelling guenon. Distributed from Limpopo Province to Mpumalanga into KwaZulu Natal and down to the Eastern Cape. The monkeys prefer to live in rainforests, which make up only 0.4% of South Africa’s surface area. Samango monkeys are specifically found in the forests at Mariepskop Nature Reserve near Hoedspruit.
What does the Samango monkey eat?
The diet of the Samango Monkey includes fruits, flowers, leaves, and insects. Samango male consumes more fruit than the female.
Is a Samango monkey an omnivore?
Samango monkeys are omnivorous but tend to prefer sweet, juicy fruits.
Differences between Samango and vervet monkeys
Vervet and samango monkeys look similar, however, if one takes a closer look, there are many differences. Samango monkeys have a grey face, black arms, grey, shaggy fur on the body, a yellow wash on the back, and a defined pale grey to white collar line. In contrast, vervet monkeys have a black face, grey arms, and legs, a slight green shine to the fur and the males have a visible blue scrotum.
Samango monkeys are also larger in body size; males average 6.4 kg and females average 4.3 kg while vervet monkeys average 4.8 kg and females average 3.2 kg.
There is a clear sexual dimorphism between male and female Samango monkeys, with males being larger in body size, having longer canines, and more pronounced colour contrasts between the arms and body.
Samango monkeys are seasonal breeders. Females give birth during the onset of the warm, rainy season. A single young is born after a gestation period of 140 days. Young are carried by their mothers for 2 to 3 months and are finally weaned at the age of 9 months. Males compete for the attention of oestrus females. In Samango troops, oestrus is unsynchronised.
Samango Monkeys have a harem social structure, that is, a single dominant male lives with his females and their infants and subadults. The social core is formed by related females, who will also defend their territory.
This is a very special monkey, but not easy to see in the forests on the upper reaches of the Mariepskop mountain, however, a half-day tour to the top of Mariepskop is well worth it. The 4 km drive through the thick indigenous rainforest where the concrete road gradient goes up to 35 degrees in places is awe-inspiring. Views from near the old radar station look down over the Kruger National Park and beyond on a clear day. At the Radio Mast Tower, you look down at Kampersrus and Blyde River Canyon.
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