About Me - Vervet Monkeys and their Conservation

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About Me

About me

My name is Aoife Healy and love of vervets comes from a sanctuary background. I got to know these charismatic and clever monkeys  when I spent some time as a voluntary carer and rehabilitator at the Vervet Monkey Foundation in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The VMF has cared for injured, orphaned and ex-pet vervets since 1989 when the founders took in their first orphaned monkey, Regis. At the Foundation I learned about the intelligence and flexibility of these monkeys, the threats they face, and the reputation they have earned as a result of their adaptable nature.

Seven month old male vervet (Chlorocebus pygerythrus pygerythrus) orphan at the Vervet Monkey Foundation, South Africa

My interest in conservation developed from here. I spent time as a volunteer at the Limbe  Wildlife Centre in Cameroon before going to the UK to study a Primate Conservation MSc at Oxford Brookes University. Here I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to study primate conservation. I wrote my dissertation on the need  to re-evaluate the threat status of the Chlorocebus genus, highlighting the imbalance in representation of each of the six species in the literature, the need for up-to-date survey data and clarification  of range limits.

Currently in development
- Distribution maps

Following a brief period of field work, observing Chlorocebus pygerythrus in the Samara Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, I began my PhD research, under the supervision of Dr. Vincent Nijman and Prof. Anna Nekaris. The core of my research is the comprehensive meta-analysis of the available Chlorocebus data.

The ultimate aim of my research is the development and upkeep of updated distribution maps for each species of vervet, highlighting areas of potentially significant anthropogenic risk, regions in need of population monitoring and those areas where range limits are in need of clarification.

I am a trustee of an environmental education charity called MASC (Monkeys Acting in Schools for Conservation). MASC teaches about conservation, with a particular focus on environmental responsibility, using the medium of theatre.


I recently contributed 13 primate species accounts to the Lynx publication Handbook of Mammals of the World - Volume 3.

I am currently contributing to the Cambridge University Press publication Primates in Flooded Habitats.

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