© Lindsey Ellington
Vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) are a species of Old-World monkey found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of the most prolific monkey species in Africa with baboons, having adapted to a diverse range of habitats, to the point of becoming a familiar inhabitant alongside humans, raising the urgency of attention to human-wildlife conflicts. They are semi-arboreal, spending a significant portion of their day on the ground (Cheney & Seyfarth, 1990). Groups occupy home ranges and move around these ranges throughout the day to forage (Isbell et al, 1990). They are multi-males, multi-females' groups, with males dispersing at sexual maturity whilst females remain in their natal groups throughout their lives (Cheney & Seyfarth, 1983). Females first reproduce at around four years of age, and at most sites exhibit yearly reproduction cycles, with the birth season lasting roughly from September to December in South Africa. Vervet monkeys are opportunistic and omnivores, eating a variety of plant species and parts, as well as invertebrates and some vertebrate preys (Struhsaker, 1967; Whitten, 1988).
Monkeys at UVP
Simbithi is home to multiple groups of vervet monkeys, and we currently follow 2 habituated groups of vervet monkeys: Acacia & Savanna. They are monitored on a daily basis and detailed data is being collected on their demography, life history, and ranging behaviours. Through detailed focal follows we are increasingly capturing details on the monkeys’ foraging behaviours, social relationships, vocalisations, and many more interesting activities! The groups have overlapping territories primarily located along the Acacia drive. There are at least 4 other known groups previously studied mainly by Harriet Thatcher (Ballito, Heron, Goodies, Farmyard) and 3 suspected ones (Ironwood, Long Island & Beverley). Some of them sometimes interact with our groups but not all of them are habituated to be followed by human researchers. In our habituated groups, all vervet monkeys are individually identified thanks to the description files (here below) and this allows us to monitor the composition of the group on a daily basis, and all social interactions between the individuals.
Acacia - N=21
Savanna - N=24
© Stephanie Mercier & Lindsey Ellington