Samango Monkey Project - Midlands, KZN

The spatial and behavioural ecology of Samango Monkey –ToPS species - populations in the Midlands

(Dargle Valley, uMngeni and Karkloof), KZN.

It has been identified that further research into the genetics, distribution and behavioural ecology of Samango Monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis - sub-species; Cercopithecus albogulariserythrarchus, C. a. labiatus, and Cercopithecus albogularis schwarzi) is needed.

The samango monkey is South Africa’s only exclusively forest dwelling primate. South African forests are characterised by a highly fragmented distribution and are the countries smallest - comprising about 0.1 % of the area (1 062 km2) - most fragmented and most vulnerable biome. Thus, the samango, being a forest restricted species, and a seed dispersing species, is listed as vulnerable in the Red Data Book of the Mammals of South Africa (2004).

We will conduct our research into the samango populations in Dargle Valley, and Karkloof Valley, KZN (Kwazulu Natal) - an area which has been rated amongst the highest in KZN in terms of irreplaceable biodiversity.

Further research will enable us to help the conservation and management of this species and help us to understand better the status of those habitats in which they survive.


Determine the population size, location, genetics, and diet of samango monkeys in the Midlands, KZN.

Determine the manner in which human intervention has impacted on these areas.

Observe Samango monkey behaviour, troop structure and their behavioural relationship to other primate species.

Feed into other Samango Research projects in South Africa in order to get a broader perspective.

Educate the public on how to co-exist harmoniously with wild primates/all wildlife as well as the importance of a healthy biodiversity; our relationship to all wildlife and the environment on which we all depend.

Working With Us

We welcome all residents in the study areas - Karkloof, Dargle and surrounding areas - who are willing to contribute and participate in this study.

You can help by collecting important data on samango populations.
Records of sightings with date and time, photographs, recordings of vocalisations and GPS co-ordinates (if possible) will offer important information for the study.

Information can be forwarded to:


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ADL Online Courses

We are honoured and grateful to be supported by The Academy for Distance Learning. The Academy for Distance Learning offers a number of wildlife courses including:

Vertebrate Zoology
Wildlife Conservation
Wildlife Management

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Web of Life - Biodiversity

Irreplaceable Afromontane forests – where the threatened subspecies - Cercopithecus mitis labiatus resides, are found on moist southern slopes from the Cape to Limpopo. The forests are fragmented and vulnerable due to increased demands for forest resources, invaders and degradation. An important aspect of our ToPS species, samango monkey research is to gain more understanding of the relationship between the forest and samango monkey populations. 

Those of us in Africa are familiar with an old principle we call Ubuntu. The essence of this principle reminds us that we’re all interconnected 

Simply put, Ubuntu means: I am because you are

I was recently reminded of the web of life when coming across the copious amount of forest spider webs while the elusive samango monkeys called in the distance. 

If one strand is broken, the whole web is broken.  

I thought how principle needs to be extended to include the environment as it doesn’t apply solely to human society but is integral to the health of our planet we all rely on.  Everything that humans rely on for survival is taken from the earth. We exist as dependents on our planet, making the health of that environment crucial to our long term healthy survival.

Biodiversity is considered to be a measure of the health of all biological systems. It is the variation of taxonomic life forms that defines the health of the environment. Every species plays a role in contributing to a healthy environment – the web of life, including humans.
Over time, the variation has been dangerously reduced by one species – humans. Most of the species extinctions from 1000 AD to 2000 AD are due to human activities, in particular, plant and animal habitats. 

Factors contributing to loss of biodiversity are overpopulation, deforestation, pollution and global warming. 

How biodiversity directly affects us:

Enough biodiversity is needed to support the chains that humans rely on:
  • Food:  the variety of natural and organic plants found around the world feed animals and humans alike.

  • Beverages: the diversity of natural materials provide an abundance of ingredients for beverages.

  • Medicine. Most medicines are derived from natural ingredients, most specifically plants. Many antibiotics are also derived from living micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi.

  • Building materials. Rubber, oil, certain types of fibres, dyes and adhesives all come from natural origins.

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