The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Population assessment of Demidoff’s dwarf galago (Galagoides demidovii) in a Ghanaian forest fragment mosaic


Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary

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Demidoff’s dwarf galago (Galagoides demidovii) is a widespread resident of Central and West African forest understory and edge habitats. We surveyed for G. demidovii between July 2008 and June 2009 in Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary (BFMS), Ghana. This 192-ha forest fragment is mostly surrounded by farmland and consists of primary and disturbed forest, closed woodland, and derived savanna. Although a centuries-old hunting taboo in BFMS has successfully conserved two monkeys species, G. demidovii was not afforded any protection from hunting until recently. We aimed to assess the current population of G. demidovii at BFMS and to examine the galagos’ differential use of habitats. Pairs of observers walked line transect routes totaling 28.2-km that were distributed among all forest types. We searched for galagos by their eye shine reflected from headlamps. For each detected animal (n=41), we recorded microhabitat characteristics and the perpendicular animal-to-transect distance. A sharp reduction in detections beyond 10-m indicated that the effective transect width was 20-m. Galago density was 0.41 animals per hectare, suggesting a total population of approximately 78 animals. We observed galagos in all habitat types, but they were disproportionately common along road/forest edges with a dense, liana-rich understory and uncommon in tall primary forest with a sparse, open understory. The mean height above the ground of detected animals was 4.2-m. Our surveys indicate that despite the isolation and history of heavy human impact at BFMS, a sizeable population of G. demidovii persists at a population density that is comparable to those in continuously-forested, undisturbed areas.

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