Vervet Monkeys - Vervet Monkeys and their Conservation

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Vervet Monkeys

A general introduction to vervet monkeys


Some of the very first pioneering field studies of wild primates were of vervet monkeys in what was then the Amboseli  Game Reserve, Kenya. Tom Struhsaker, a leader in the study of primate ecology and conservation in Africa for over forty years, studied the behaviour and ecology of  vervet monkeys in the early 1960's, thereby laying down the groundwork for future studies in the field of primatology.

Vervets are a group of generalist monkeys. They can occupy an immensely wide variety of environments. Their distribution seems only to be limited by  the availability of water and good trees to sleep in. They occupy a vast array of habitats including savannah, open woodland, forest-grassland mosaic, even mangroves. They adapt relatively well to human disturbance and can exploit agricultural land, raiding crops in rural areas, and in more urban areas they will raid rubbish bins and opportunistically enter houses to find food. In tourist areas they will readily accept food hand-outs from people.

Vervets have been studied for decades and there are lots of interesting facts  about this group of monkeys.

There are six species of vervet monkey. These are the:

Green Monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus)

Tantalus Monkey (Chlorocebus tantalus)

Grivet Monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops )

Bale Mountains Vervet or Djam-Djam Monkey (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis )

Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)

and the Malbrouck Monkey (Chlorocebus cynosuros).

Vervet taxonomy has been a matter of uncetainty for some time, with various authors over time recognising from one to six species, and from two to 22 subspecies. Here I will follow Groves' (2001) taxonomy in recognising vervet monkeys to be of the genus Chlorocebus and comprising of six species.

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