Tantalus Monkey - Vervet Monkeys and their Conservation

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Tantalus Monkey

Tantalus Monkey Chlorocebus tantalus

Where are Tantalus Monkeys found?

This species is found in sub-Saharan West Africa from the volta River in Ghana to the White Nile in Sudan. They are present in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic,  Sudan, South Sudan, DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.

Tantalus monkeys are present in a variety of habitats including savannah, open woodland, and forest-grassland mosaics, montane, riverine and gallery forests. They are reported to show a preference for woodland over grassland, especially gallery forest. As per the genus, they are restricted by proximity to water and the availability of sleeping trees. A  study in northern Cameroon reported tantalus to establish home ranges along rivers where the water was never completely depleted, even during the dry season. Demonstrating the flexibility of the genus, they inhabit cultivated rural land, degraded habitat and forest edges, as well as suburban human-dominated landscapes.

Tantalus monkeys live in large male-dominant hierarchical groups of several males and several females. Groups can pften be as large as 70 individuals.  As with the rest of the egenus, females tend to stay within  the groups they were born (natal group) and males migrate to neighbouring groups when they reach sexual maturity (approx. 5 to 6 years). Though it is not reported, breeding can be assumbed to be as per genus.

Home ranges vary in size according to group size and dispersal and availability of food. Home range of a large group can be 90 hectares. Home ranges vary from 43 ha to 90 ha.

Tantlaus monkeys are diurnal and semi-terrestrial. Their diets are variable, as per genus. They feed on leaves, fruit, seeds, flowers, gums. They also eat animal prey. The tantalus monkey diet will vary according to site with some groups consuming mostly fruits and in other areas groups eating much more animal prey. They will readily raid crops. Their tendency to inhabit forest edge and grassland habitats, along with their terrestrial nature make them important seed dispersers.

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