The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Grébouo 1 forest grove in southwestern Côte d’Ivoire is the final refuge for Colobus vellerosus in the Sassandra - Bandama inter-fluvial region


1Laboratoire de Génétique, Université de Cocody-Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 2Département Biodibersité et Sécurité Alimentaire, Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, 3Laboratoire de Zoologie et Biologie Animale, Université de Cocody-Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 4Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

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Two species of black-and-white colobus occur in West Africa: Colobus vellerosus is found east of the Bandama River and ranges discontinuously as far as western Nigeria while C. polykomos has a disjunct distribution beginning at the Sassandra River and extending west to Guinea-Bissau. A possible third black-and-white colobus occupies portions of the Bandama-Sassandra inter-fluvial region and has a disputed taxonomy: some claim it represents a remnant population of C. p. dollmanii (Schwarz 1927), while others argue for polykomos-vellerosus hybrid status. In order to clarify the monkey’s distribution between the Sassandra and Bandama rivers and provide additional descriptive information on the taxon, we conducted surveys within all forest fragments capable of supporting monkeys. During 2011 and 2012, we carried out foot surveys in nine forest blocks in south central Côte d’Ivoire. We spent an average of 7.4 days in each forest walking line transects averaging 105 km in length. Based on these surveys, the only locality containing black-and-white colobus is a forest grove near the village of Grébouo I in the southwestern portion of the country. The Grébouo I grove is highly degraded, but contains two monkey groups of 8 and 6 individuals, respectively. Adult pelage is similar to that of Colobus vellerosus (Oates & McGraw 2009) and we are now collecting vocal and genetic data to confirm the population’s taxonomic affinities. We conclude the colobus between the Sassandra and Bandama Rivers is C. vellerosus and that unless immediate conservation measures are implemented, this small population will be extirpated.

Supported by Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund award grant number 10251554 and Conservatoire pour la Protection des Primates.

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